Water sports, golf just a few of the highlights at Louisa#8217;s Yatesville Lake

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 14, 2006

LOUISA, Ky. — Although it may be the newest addition to the Kentucky State Parks system, Yatesville Lake State Park has quickly caught up to its counterparts in popularity.

The park, located just a few miles from U.S. Route 23 in Lawrence County, Kentucky is packed with thousands of visitors year-round who come to camp, boat, hike or enjoy a round of golf at the scenic, rural area.

The centerpiece of the park is the massive 2,300-acre lake that’s touted as the largest in eastern Kentucky and one of the largest in the region.

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Mike Sullivan, park manager, said water sports are by far the lake’s biggest attraction. The lake’s calm, pristine water make the ideal setting for those who are looking to enjoy a day or the weekend in the water.

“Really, we have three seasons for water sports,” Sullivan explained. “In the spring, the fishermen come, in the summer we have those who want to jet ski and boat and then in the fall the fishermen come back.”

Blue gill, crappie and bass are the most abundant fish in the lake and anglers are usually pleased with what they bring back from their expeditions. The lake hosts a number of tournaments throughout the year.

The Yatesville marina was constructed about a decade ago and named the nation’s “Most Outstanding Project” in 1999 by the States Outdoor Boating Association. The marina offers 174 boat slips that are available for rental on either an annual or seasonal basis. Each dock section provides free water and electric service for boat slip customers.

The marina also features a one-stop shop with supplies ranging from gasoline, groceries, live bait, fishing equipment, and souvenir items. A public beach area equipped with playgrounds, restrooms and showers, and a snack bar are also located near the marina.

The park has two boat launch ramps —one at the marina, one at the campgrounds— for easy access to the lake.

Camping is also a popular activity. The campgrounds were named among the best in all of Kentucky and Tennessee by the Menasha Ridge Press.

The park offers 27 full hook-up campsites and 20 primitive campsites, which include 16 “boat in” sites and 4 “hike in” sites.

The “boat in” sites are maintained by a service road and three restroom facilities are spaced alongside. The sites are only accessible via boat, but the seclusion and lakeside access are popular with boaters.The “hike-in” sites are in the regular campground but set back into the woods with no electricity.

The campground also has the state park system’s first double recreational vehicle campsites, where a duo of RVs can park side by side.

The campground also has a playground facility, a miniature golf course, nature trails, laundry room, restrooms and showers, and a dump station.

“It really keeps us busy,” Sullivan said. “We are nearly always at capacity. We have had a great season (this summer) and its has been a very successful year overall.”

Yatesville is home to several challenging and varied trail systems. The Mary Ingles trail, both a Community Millennium Trail and a National Recreation Trail, is located at the marina area and is made up of six separate trail loops. The Pleasant Ridge trail system is made up of five separate trails. The Yatesville Lake multi-use trail is a large, 20-mile trail located near the campground area that is open to hikers, backpackers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders alike. There is also a short, paved nature trail located near the Eagle Ridge Golf Course.

One of the hallmarks of the state park is the 18-hole championship golf course, a par 72, 6,930-yard facility that rambles over mountainous terrain and through grassy areas. Some holes feature changes in elevation of up to 200 feet. Opened in 2003, it has quickly become a popular hotspot for golf enthusiasts from around the region because of its beautiful yet challenging play.

The course at Yatesville recently was named one of the “Best New Affordable Public Courses” by Golf Digest magazine.

Eagle Ridge also houses a fully equipped pro shop to provide for golfers’ needs such as food and drink, souvenir items, rental clubs, and golfing equipment. Golf packages and season passes are offered.

Sullivan said a driving range and a more-extensive pro shop are going to be constructed in the near future.

For those looking to relax or have get-together, the park offers a picnic pavilion that includes two picnic shelters, a playground area, volleyball, grill, water, and a lakeside setting. The large shelter can hold up to 10 picnic tables while the smaller shelter is often used as an entertainment stage.

Overall, Sullivan said, the lake offers a little something for everyone and said he hopes more people will soon discover eastern Kentucky’s newest state park.