Paintsville Lake, Kentucky, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Paintsville Lake.

If you’re considering Paintsville Lake vacation rentals, we’ve made it super easy to explore accommodations and nearby hotels using the interactive map below. Simply click on a listing to compare similar properties, best rates and availability for your dates. Or keep scrolling to read our Paintsville Lake guide!

Paintsville Lake visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - South - Kentucky - Appalachians -

Sharing acreage of both Johnson and Morgan counties in eastern Kentucky, Paintsville Lake has been a recreational staple since its creation in 1983. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers impounded Paint Creek for flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife protection. The 26-mile long scenic lake twists and turns through rocky limestone bluffs and wooded coves. Normal summer pool is 709 feet above sea level. Depths can exceed 100 feet.

At only 1,139 acres, many tend to underestimate Paintsville Lake, but that’s a mistake, as this little lake packs quite a punch. Begin your stay by choosing a campsite at Paintsville Lake State Park: 32 have water, electricity, and sewer hookups for your RV, and another 10 are primitive. Restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities are provided for your convenience; two of the RV campsites are disabled accessible.

Boat launch ramps are located at Rocky Knob Recreation Area, and you’ll frequently find both boating enthusiasts and anglers launching from there. There’s no horsepower limit at Paintsville Lake, so you’re free to open up the engine and go for a real ride, just be sure to practice safety and respect for your fellow boaters.

As you zip around the lake, you’ll find soon find out how important fishing is here. Fishing boats dot the lake’s surface, and you’ll watch as anglers eagerly reel in catches of channel catfish, largemouth bass, rainbow trout, redbreast sunfish, smallmouth bass, and walleye.

If hiking is your pleasure, then head to the Kiwanis Trail, located across from the Mountain Homeplace Welcome Center. The 1.6 mile hiking trail winds through the area’s beautiful scenery, and introduces visitors to the flora and fauna of Paintsville Lake. If you’re looking for a more advanced hike, try out Adena Trail, a 7 mile long hike that meanders around the dam.

History buffs will love visiting the Mountain Homeplace Historical Area. Developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Paintsville Tourism Commission the historical home recreates 19th Century eastern Kentucky farm life. Visitors can explore the old house, crop fields, a one-room schoolhouse, church, blacksmith shop, and so much more. Both fun and informative, this is one activity that everyone in the family will ask for by name.

Visiting Paintsville Lake is truly an introduction into years gone by: quiet nights, days dominated by the outdoors, and even the opportunity to visit a period farmhouse. You will love the natural beauty of the area and appreciate the recreational enhancements that the lake provides, assuring a restful vacation full of fun, sun, and water.

Custom Paintsville Lake house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Paintsville Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park

Fish species found at Paintsville Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Redbreast Sunfish
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Walleye

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Paintsville Lake

The Paintsville Lake map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

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Paintsville Lake photo gallery

New photos coming soon!

Paintsville Lake statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 1,139 acres

Shoreline Length: 57 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 709 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 731 feet

Maximum Depth: 100 feet

Water Volume: 40,700 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1983

Drainage Area: 93 sq. miles

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