Camping, Fishing, Boating, Bird Watching, and More!
Rough River Dam State Resort Park (Falls of Rough, Ky.) is a prime example of something I love to call “Pure Kentucky.” If I had to take someone who’d never been to Kentucky to one spot in the state to show what makes it so special, Rough River Dam State Resort Park would be one of the first places to pop into my mind.
Why? Think about the things we Kentuckians take great pride in.. You know, the things that make it impossible for us to be humble:
- Kentucky lakes
- Thick, lush wooded areas
- Large magnificent trees
- Our beautiful wildlife: Deer, squirrels, possum, skunks, racoons…
- Our spectacular birds: Eagles, cardinals, herons, goldfinches, woodpeckers…
- Great food (fried catfish, Kentucky Hot Browns, buttermilk pancakes, biscuits, fried potatoes…)
- Golf and Miniature Golf (great times with our families)
- Fishing – Kentuckians pride themselves on big bass!
- Boating – From Pontoons, to houseboats, to john boats
- Beautiful rock formations
- Kentucky crafts and foods
Rough River Dam State Resort Park has each of the above and then some. There aren’t many places in Kentucky (or the world, for that matter) where you can go and experience EACH of the above. Rough River Dam State Resort Park in Falls of Rough (near Leitchfield) simply sums up everything that’s right and wonderful about Kentucky. It shows the world what we’re about…. it’s… well, it’s “Pure Kentucky.”
Fishing on Rough River Lake
Rough River Lake is very popular with fishermen (and women!) for a very good reason. The beautiful lake is home to bluegill, several varieties of catfish, crappie, rough fish, largemouth bass, hybrid bass, and Kentucky bass. Bank fishing is permitted off the lakeside trail. The marina is open from May through October with supplies, open and covered slips, launching ramp, and rental pontoon boats.
Around 6:00 am Saturday morning, with coffee in hand, I walked onto our lodge room’s balcony. Like all of the 40 lodge rooms, our balcony overlooked the lake. I saw a boat with a couple of men in it fishing, having the time of their lives. Every now and then I’d peek at them to see their progress, but my eyes were much more interested in the beautiful birds. Songbirds provided the soundtrack to the beautiful morning. There was something so serene and relaxing about the whole scene that I just soaked it in.
A little later, the park’s Naturalist and Recreation Director, Geoff, came by with a birdwatching group. I eavesdropped as he explained the different birds who call Rough River Lake home. Although I was enjoying my morning on the balcony, I do wish I’d joined the bird watching group. As you know, I’m completely obsessed with birds and birdwatching.
Rough River Dam Lodge and Grayson’s Landing Restaurant
Grayson’s Landing offers buffets as well as “off the menu” dining. Having experienced each, I can tell you that you can’t go wrong either way. The restaurant in downstairs in the beautiful lodge and offers a gorgeous view of the lake. I give a detailed review of Grayson’s Landing HERE – including the highest praise any Coconut Cream Pie, Banana Pudding, Pancakes, fried potatoes, coffee, sweet tea, and Salisbury Steak could possibly receive.
Breakfast Hours: Sunday – Saturday 7:00 am – 10:00 am
Lunch Hours: Sunday – Saturday 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Dinner Hours: Sunday – Thursday 4:30 pm – 8:00 pm and Friday – Saturday 4:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Special Buffet Nights at Grayson’s Landing:
Prime Rib Buffet
Every month on the 3rd Saturday / 4:30pm – 8:00pm
First Friday of each month / 4:30pm – 8:00pm
Golf at Rough River Dam State Resort Park
The Kentucky Dam State Park System has closed the golf course at Rough River Dam State Park. If you ever had the opportunity to see this beautiful course, you’ll understand what a real shame this is.
Rough River Dam State Resort Park has a 9 hole Par 3 golf course that offers a whole world of possibilities. As we rode around the beautiful course, I couldn’t help thinking what an IDEAL place this would be to teach a son, daughter, or spouse how to play the game of golf! With each hole being a par 3, you wouldn’t be hampered with distractions or “dang near impossible” holes. Rough River’s Par 3 Golf Course is peaceful, quiet, and laid back – everything someone who’s learning the game needs. Yet it’s also challenging enough for the seasoned pro. When we came home from our mini-vacation, our oldest daughter Emily and I were talking about golf. She said she’d love to start playing again but knew she’d gotten rusty over the years. I told her that Rough River’s Par 3 Golf Course was JUST the place she needed to go to reintroduce herself to the game. Honestly, there is not a better spot in the entire state to learn the game of golf or to fall back in love with it. And what a beautiful place to do so. The hilly terrain, beautiful trees, and occasional views of Rough River Lake make this one beautiful course. This course is also perfect for seniors – with just 9 holes, it doesn’t take as long, but you can still enjoy the fresh air and exercise. On the afternoon we were on the course, we saw a golf car filled with what would qualify as “senior” golfers and they were having a blast. We also saw a couple with their young son. Honestly, if you have children (or as I said before, even a spouse!) you’d like to teach to golf, this is the place to do so. The other golfers we saw were “regular golfers” who were also having a great time. The golf course has a pro shop with an exceptionally friendly staff. There are riding carts, pull carts, and even rental clubs. Right next to the golf course is a wonderful miniature golf course, where members of the family who don’t play traditional golf can entertain themselves. More about the miniature golf course in a minute. Two of the holes on the golf course are lakeside and offer gorgeous views. Rough River Dam State Resort Park’s golf course also has a driving range, which adds to my assertion that this is THE spot to teach someone the game of golf or to re-familiarize yourself (literally) with the ins and outs of the game. Heck, you could even teach or brush up on putting on the miniature golf course!
Rough River Dam State Resort Park’s Miniature Golf Course
Before I was barred from doing so by a husband who grew weary of chasing my balls around the county, I played a lot of miniature golf. I’m not saying I played it well… I just played it a lot. I’m hopeful that I’ll soon have my restraining order lifted and I’ll once again be able to enjoy the wonderful sport. I know the first course I want to play when I’m free to do so again – the miniature golf course at Rough River Dam State Resort Park. Now, if you’re as familiar with miniature golf courses as I am, you know that they’re normally flat as Kansas. When it comes to miniature golf courses, this one’s like Toto and Dorothy… “We aren’t in Kansas anymore…” The hilly terrain of this miniature golf course is amazing. It lies right next to the Par 3 Golf Course and seems to think it’s a baby golf course.
I’m not going to argue with it.
The 18 hole miniature golf course would be outstanding fun for the entire family. A family was there when we were and each member was having a great time. I’m not saying they played strictly by the rules or anything… but they were enjoying themselves immensely! Does anyone really play strictly by the rules on miniature golf courses? Well, besides my husband and oldest daughter – they think miniature golf is serious, serious business.
Camping at Rough River Dam State Resort Park
Unplug your family from technology and games and plug into the sort of fun you had when you were a kid. The 64-site campground sits on Rough River. There are utility hookups, a dump station, picnic tables, and a central service building with showers, rest rooms, and washers and dryers. The beautiful area offers endless places for kids of all ages to explore, learn about nature, and simply enjoy being in the great outdoors – something kids don’t do nearly enough of these days.
The campground area has tennis courts, horseshoe pits, and a large playground. Nothing, however, compares to the playground nature, herself, provides. Think back to your childhood. Remember when a wooded area suddenly became a castle, dragon’s realm, or battlefield?! Kids these days are missing out on the places their imaginations, alone, can take them. Campgrounds, such as the wonderful one at Rough River Dam State Resort Park, can introduce your kids to the magical world you once knew.
What a perfect opportunity to teach them about the outdoors – everything from poison ivy to fishing. It’s also a perfect opportunity for you to fall in love with nature all over again.
Cottages at Rough River Dam State Resort Park
Seventeen secluded and peaceful cottages are located in a wooded area near the lake. Tableware, cooking utensils, and linens are provided, with fresh linens daily. There’s a great little playground by the cottages that’ll provide kids with hours of fun. A trail goes through the wooded area along the lake. The area offers countless opportunities for viewing (and photographing) wildlife and birds.
Rough River Dam State Resort Park Airport
The park has a 3,200 foot paved, lighted airstrip with tie-downs. There’s even an air camp where you can pitch a tent by your plane! There’s a service building with showers and restrooms.
Nature Trails at Rough River Dam State Resort Park
Nature trails at the park include a 1-mile trail along the lake from the lodge to the marina, a 1-mile circular walk behind the lodge, a Nature Trail at the Campground for campers, and a 0.7-mile Folklore Nature Trail. Each trail provides countless opportunities for observing and photographing a wide array of birds, plants, trees, and wildlife. It’s a photographer’s dream come true and, again, a wonderful way to unplug your family from a virtual world and plug them into a real world. There’s no comparison.
In addition to the trails, you can always simply walk around the park. They’ve cleared off a large path leading down to the lake. It’s a beautiful opportunity to see flowers, herons, and other birds. Something my husband and I fell in love with was walking along the rock formations alongside the lake. We even took off our shoes and dangled them in the cool refreshing lake water.
Rough River Dam State Resort Park’s Lodge and Rooms
There are 40 rooms in the park’s lodge with patios and balconies and lake views. The rooms are off of the lodge in separate buildings – lying between the main lodge and the swimming pool, which is available to guests only. The lodge rooms are uncommonly clean and spotless. When you first walk into the room, you instantly notice the fresh beautiful (and oh so clean!) scent. It’s obvious that the staff takes great pains to make each guest feel at home. Something struck me as we were leaving the room, after a wonderful weekend, they do all they can to make you want to come back – as in again and again and again…
I can’t say enough wonderful things about Rough River Dam State Resort Park, it’s lodge, the lodge’s restaurant, or the lodge rooms. Basically, everything is exactly as you’d want it to be and actually more than you could even hope for.
- Rough River Dam State Resort Park – This is the page for Rough River Dam State Resort Park on the Kentucky State Park’s website. Great information, with timely news and updates.