Paintsville Lake, Kentucky, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Paintsville Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

Topics we cover in this article:

Looking for Paintsville Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Paintsville Lake

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.

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

Find Places to Stay at Paintsville Lake

If you’re considering a Paintsville Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Paintsville Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Paintsville Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

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

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

Shop Paintsville Lake Gifts

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Captain / First Mate Custom 20 oz Tumbler

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Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

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On Lake Time Custom Coffee Mug – 11oz or 15oz


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