Zilpo Recreation Area

Area Status: Closed

Zilpo Recreation Area is a 355-acre campground on Cave Run Lake on Cumberland District. This area has sites for tent camping and RV hookup.

Basic rental cabins sleep up to 7, with beds, table, porch, accessible ramp entrance and picnic tables. Bathrooms and water are located nearby at the bathhouse.

The campground has bathhouses with hot water showers, hiking and jogging trails, scenic overlooks, a boat ramp and a nearby country store. 

A sandy beach with a roped swimming area offers visitors a spectacular view of the lake.

The Zilpo Store is your one stop shop to purchase food, floats, ice, wood, etc. during your beach and camping stay. Hours:  11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Thursday - Sunday.

Zilpo Mountain Trail #1802 begins across from D loop in Zilpo Campground and loops back around to near the entrance station.

Zilpo Campground Map (pdf)

Cave Run Lake is nestled among the beautiful mountains of eastern Kentucky. Built for flood protection by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, this 8,270 lake provides flood protection to the lower Licking River valley and supplies water to area communities, improves water flow conditions on the Licking River, and offers habitat for many species of fish and wildlife. The lake is known for its excellent muskie fishing.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Closed for the season.
Operational Hours: Only registered campers are allowed at Zilpo after 10 p.m. 
Reservations: The cabins and campsites may be reserved at www.recreation.gov.
Area Amenities: Accessible, Boat ramp, Tent camping, Camping trailer, Picnic tables, Toilets, Drinking water
Fees: Zilpo Beach & Day Use
  • $10/vehicle for visitor day use. Over 6 per vehicle: $2/person.
  • Walk-in/bicycle $2/person.
  • Commercial buses/vans: $2/person.  
  • Vista family annual pass for beach use $40.
  • Interpretive programs $8/vehicle.
  • Firewood $7.
Zilpo Cabins
  • $85/night. Up to 6 persons plus a vehicle.
Zilpo Campground
  • $25/single.
  • $35/prime single.
  • $38/double.
Additional Campground Fees: $10/electric. $8/extra vehicle per night. $8/RV dump station per use.
Open Season: 3rd Friday in March - Last Sunday in October
Water: Drinking water is centrally located.
Restroom: Flush toilets and bathhouse
Information Center: Cumberland Office Contact Information

General Information


From US 60, take KY 211 through Salt Lick. Turn onto Forest Service Road 129. Go 2.5 miles to Forest Service Road 918. Follow 918 approximately 8 miles to the Zilpo Recreation Area.


The bathhouse is accessible for persons with disabilities.


Parking is available at the campsites, cabin, store, beach and bathhouses.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Campground Camping

The campground has three miles of shoreline along Cave Run Lake. Many campsites are within walking distance of the lakeshore. 

Fire Information Campfires are permitted in grills only. Make sure fires are out before retiring at night and when leaving your campsite.

RV Camping

The RV dump station is located at the campground entrance.

Reservation Info Some sites may be reserved, through www.recreation.gov website. Call  877-444-6777 (877-833-6777 for the hearing impaired) or 606-780-7818.
Dump Stations Dump station at camp entrance.

Cabin Rentals

The cabin will sleep up to seven persons. A $50 refundable deposit is due upon arrival.

Reservation Info Reserve through www.recreation.gov website. Call  877-444-6777 (877-833-6777 for the hearing impaired) or 606-780-7818. Reservations must be made at least 4 days in advance. A 2-night minimum is required for weekends and weekdays. A 3-night minimum is required on holidays.
Size Restrictions 7

Visitor Programs

Visitor programs are held during the weekends.

Boating - Motorized

The boat ramp has a parking lot and a dock for easy loading. Boats may be anchored near campsites close to the lake. Boats are allowed outside the beach swimming area.

Launch Ramps Concrete boat ramp
Marina/Mooring Boat moorings


Registered campers can swim free of charge. Non-campers may swim for a fee of $5/vehicle, up to 5 persons. No lifeguards are provided at the swimming beach.

Swimmers should watch for sharp drop-offs and submerged rocks. Children should be supervised by an adult.

Kentucky law prohibits open containers of alcohol and the consumption of alcohol in public places.

Pool Size Cave Run Lake
Current Conditions: Beach is temporarily shut down.


Camping trailer: 30 sites have electric hookups for RVs.
Picnic tables: Tables are available at the campsites and the beach picnic area.
Tent camping: Tent pads with lantern posts occur at each site.
Toilets: Flush toilets and showers are available.
Accessible: The bathhouse is accessible for persons with disabilities.
Boat ramp: The Zilpo Recreation Area has a concrete boat ramp.
Drinking water: Drinking water is centrally located.

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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