Cave Run Lake

If you’re from Morehead, Kentucky, you’ve undoubtedly been visiting Cave Run Lake since you were a little kid; attending birthday parties and family reunions at the Spillway, visiting the Fish Hatchery in grade school, fishing at Ramey Creek or swimming with your high school buddies at Billy Branch. If you’re one of the few people in Morehead who’ve NEVER been to Cave Run, you were apparently born under a rock.

Now if you’re not from my hometown you still might have heard of Cave Run Lake. Known as a hub for musky fishing, it is an 8,270 acre reservoir located in the heart of the Daniel Boone National Forest and was built by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1965 although it wasn’t finished until 1973. There are lots of happenings around Cave Run. People travel for miles and miles to come down here for the Cave Run Storytelling Festival in the Fall but the lake becomes exceptionally popular in the summers, when they can bring their bass boats and party barges and cruise around the lake for a weekend getaway or family vacation. There’s always something happening and, when there’s not, it’s just so dang relaxing and peaceful that it’s a shame to miss out on all it’s beauty.

There is so much to see and do here that I wouldn’t even attempt to write a comprehensive guide to the area. What I do know is that we thoroughly enjoy visiting the area anytime of year and, being that it’s only a few miles away and free to visit, I make it a point to bring the kids to picnic, walk or swim anytime they say “I’m bored”.

Today, the kids woke up to a cooler than normal day and couldn’t seem to find much to entertain themselves. I waited for them to mutter the fateful words and, sure enough, around 10am we packed a picnic lunch, the dogs and Granny and came down for a little midday fun.

Our first stop was the Minor E. Clark Fish Hatchery. This stop is a staple on our trips. It always seems to get the kids hyped and in the right frame of mind for the day. Each time I pull in there, they get really excited about what they might see.

Out in front is a large rock containment pond with specimens of many of the fish found in the Cave Run Lake From Long Nosed Gar to Large Mouth Bass and lots and lots of Carp. The kids lean over the walls to try and touch the fish as they pass by, always too scared of falling in to be able to actually touch one. There’s an old poster under a plexiglass sign that identifies the different species found in the lake and the kids always like to tell their accompanying friends which ones they’ve seen, caught and eaten.

After we left the Hatchery, we moved on to the Spillway Recreation area located at Cave Run Dam. This area has so much to offer that its possible to spend an entire day there and never run out of things to do. There are three playgrounds, two large picnic shelters with grills, boat ramps, fishing areas, walking trails, and ample shade trees overlooking the Spillway.

We spent the rest of the day playing, relaxing and picnicking. Here are a few pics from our little excursion:

The kids found some tadpoles and poked at them with a stick.

Bodhi and Granny enjoyed the sunshine.

Honeysuckle buffet anyone?!


Me time.

Two of the three play areas.

After we left, we made a pit stop and picked up Superman cones at Pop’s BBQ (where I snapped this sign pic) and headed home. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that we had a full day of fun and only spent $10 (on ice cream).

So, if you’re trying to plan some outdoor time with kids, family or your significant other, you should definitely check out Cave Run Lake. It really does have something for everyone and is worth the drive no matter where you are. Kentucky, in general is so spectacular and has so much to offer in the way of its natural beauty. I hope to bring many more of Kentucky’s natural wonders to your inbox very soon! 😉

In the meantime, check out these websites for more info and to plan your trip:


Peace, Love and Cheesecake!!!

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