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Kentucky State Parks

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USA Parks
Great Lakes Region
Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park
Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park © Kurt Bauer
Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park © Kurt Bauer
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20781 Pennyrile Lodge Road
Dawson Springs, Kentucky   42408

Phone: 270-797-3421
Reservations: 270-797-3421
Email: park email button icon
Named for the tiny Pennyroyal plant found in the woodlands surrounding this resort, Pennyrile Forest is the perfect back-to-nature hideaway. Relax in the rustic wood and stone lodge or in one of the charming cottages near the lodge or beside the lake. In either case, the only sounds to wake you may be the gentle splash of a beaver or the melodic song of the wood thrush.

The resort offers a newly expanded 18-hole par-72 golf course, set in a oak-pine forest. Other recreational pursuits include tennis, hiking, canoeing, fishing and swimming at the pool or beach. Enjoy mountain biking on trails in the adjoining Pennyrile State Forest.

The rustic wood and stone Pennyrile Lodge, with 24 rooms, sits serenely on a high cliff overlooking Pennyrile Lake. Open year-round. A limited number of lodge rooms will be available for pets.
History of the Area
Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park located near Dawson Springs has some of the most beautiful forested land in the commonwealth. The 15,331-acre Pennyrile Forest is a showcase for Kentuckys magnificent hardwood trees. On July 9, 1954 Pennyrile State Resort Park originally called Pennyrile Forest State Park, became a part of the Kentucky State Parks System. The area had been under the supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture and other governmental agencies since the 1920s. The government wanted to restore the forests and the exhausted lands in the area. In the 1930s the National Parks Service and the Works Progress Administration WPA developed a 300-acre tract for recreational purposes. The WPA continued its work in the area until 1937 when the Kentucky Division of State Parks took responsibility for the land on an annual agreement basis. The state constructed a rustic lodge for visitors and made a number of improvements to the site. This continued until 1954 when the Kentucky Parks System took final oversight of the Pennyrile site.

The area that contains Pennyrile State Resort Park had two state parks in the 1930s and 1940s, Pennyrile State Park and Dawson Springs State Park. The Dawson Springs facility had 457 acres located near the Outwood Veterans Hospital. The University of Kentucky obtained a deed to this property in the 1950s and made it a 4-H Club Camp. Between 1948 and 1955, work continued on the Pennyrile property to establish a state resort park.

Pennyrile now has 863 acres with a 56-acre lake. The state had a new lodge constructed and with the completion of Lake Beshear in 1962, gave the area a 712-acre lake located in both Caldwell and Christian Counties.
 Hiking Trailyes
 Swimming Beachyes
 Bike Trailsyes
BoatingLaunch Rampsyes
 Water/Electric Sitesyes
 Full Hookup Sitesyes
AccommodationsGolf Courseyes
The park has 12 cottages located in the wooded lodge area and on the shores of Pennyrile Lake. The one and two-bedroom cottages have unique features, offering wooded or lake views, and such amenities as private boat and fishing docks, fireplaces, or screened-in porches. Tableware, cooking utensils, and linens are provided, with fresh linens available daily.

Open year-round. Cottages available by late afternoon. Check-out by 11:00 AM, Central time.
Enjoy the beauty of the Pennyrile Forest in the 68-site campground. The campground features utility hook ups, a dump station, and one central service building with showers, rest rooms, and a laundry.

Open March 1-October 31. Camping rates are $15 per night for 2 adults. Each additional person over 16 years of age $3 per night. No advance reservations.Check-out by 2:00 PM, Central time. Call 1-800-325-1711 for rates. Pets are allowed if restrained.
The rustic wood and stone Pennyrile Lodge, with 24 rooms, sits serenely on a high cliff overlooking Pennyrile Lake. Open year-round. Rooms available by late afternoon. Lodge room check-out by 1100am, local time. A limited number of lodge rooms will be available for pets.
Meeting Rooms
Pennyrile Forest State Resort has the perfect meeting facility for your group. This contemporary room is adjacent to the lodge and can accommodate 100 people for meetings and banquets. For information on booking an event, phone Sharon at 800-325-1711.
Take the plunge in the lodge pool or sunbath at the public beach. The pool is adjacent to the lodge and is available for lodge and cottage guests. Enjoy sand between your toes and the gentle waves of Pennyrile Lake at the beach, adjacent to the boat dock.
Boat DockFor a fun-filled day on the lake, visit the boat dock. Rental pedal boats, row boats, canoes, and trolling motors are available. Larger motorboats are restricted from Pennyrile Lake.

Lake Beshear, located four miles from the lodge, also offers fishing challenges. Larger motorboats are allowed there.
Canoes can be rented at the park boat dock Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Grab your fishing pole Pennyrile Lake is home to bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, and largemouth bass. Forgot your fishing gear Borrow some from us at the front desk, or boat dock. A Kentucky Fishing License is required.

Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park is located near Hopkinsville, Princeton and Clarksville

Grills are available at all cottages and campsites. Picnic shelters, tables, and playgrounds are located throughout the park. Shelters available for rental up to one year in advance.

Three playgrounds are available for children to burn off excess energy. The newest playground is located by the lodge and is accessible year-round. The campground playground is only available for play when the campground is open. The playground in the beach/boat dock area is accessible by the lake trail Nov 1-March 15.
Lake Trail - 1.8 miles, trailhead near lower parking area, travels around lake, up stone steps to bluff line, remote shelter at intersection of Lake Pennyroyal Trails, wooden bridges and hand hewn steps

Length 1.8 mi
Difficulty Moderate

At the parks restaurant you can request a table by the birdfeeders and watch many common birdfeeder birds while you dine. During spring migration we often get a number of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks here. During the summer if you hike the Clifty Creek trail you can often times see a Louisiana Waterthrush bobbing along streamside. The lake trail is probably your best bet for many birding opportunities year round. Birds commonly observed in the winter include juncos, white-breasted nuthatches, purple finches, and Carolina chickadees. In late winter Cedar Waxwings can be seen devouring what is left of the holly berries throughout the park. The spring brings warbler passing through as well as Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. In the summer Red-eyed Vireos, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Indigo Buntings, Wood Thrushes, Ovenbirds, Pine Warblers, and Scarlet and Summer tanagers are all commonly seen.
Area Attractions
Miniature Golf:

To "par"fect your putting, play a round of miniature golf on an 18-hole course.


Enjoy a day of competition on the tennis courts. Overnight guests may check out tennis equipment.

Planned Recreation:

Enjoy recreation and interpretive programs under the direction of a full-time recreation supervisor. Daily summer recreational activities are conducted by a seasonal recreational staff.

Picnicking & Playground:

Grills are available at all cottages and campsites. Picnic shelters, tables, and playgrounds are located throughout the park. Shelters available for rental up to one year in advance.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
February 16 by June_B
park review stars; one to five
November 18 Best kept secret place to stay in KY ! by The Wises
park review stars; one to five Wonderful, cozy atmosphere. Good food, great service. Employees most helpful. We will go back again soon.
April 20 Great!!!! by Michaela
park review stars; one to five i have been coming here since i was a baby. fishing, swimming, egg hunts and cook outs i have referred this place to every1 i come in contact with!!!!!
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Area Accommodations (over 20 miles away)
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Cottages and Cabins
Enjoy a getaway to nearby Southern Illinois with Shawnee National Forest Cabins. Rustic log cabin rentals with modern comforts such as hot tubs, Wifi and satellite TV located near Garden of the God in the Shawnee National Forest.
52.4 miles from park*
Nearby Hotels

The resort is 20 miles northwest of Hopkinsville, on KY 109 N. From the Western Kentucky Parkway, exit at Dawson Springs and take KY 109 south.

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Kentucky State Parks