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Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area

On May 15, the governor announced camping at Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area will reopen June 11. Campers must have self-contained campers or RVs with bathrooms. Please continue checking this page​ and the Kentucky Healthy at Work page for the latest information.

Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area  

Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area Brochure

The campground is Open, but advanced reservations are required  and no walk in will be permitted.​

​Gun range temporally closed for the installation of a pistol pit


Hours of Operation

Open Wednesday - Sunday from dawn to dusk. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays except on Memorial Day, Labor Day and Fourth of July. 

The area is closed on the state holidays of:

  • November 28 and 29 for Thanksgiving
  • December 24 and 25 for Christmas
  • December 31 and January 1 for New years

Office Hours: Wednesday - Sunday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Contact Info

Office Telephone Number: 502-942-9171
Campground Info and Reservations: 502-492-9854

Trail Status Hotline: 502-942-5052 - Trail closure information, water conditions on Otter Creek and other info pertinent to fishing.


Admission Fees:

  • Children under 12 admitted free
  • $3 per person for daily entry permit, available at the gate. (Due to COVID-19, daily permits are now available online .)
  • $30 per person for annual entry permit, available online

Special Activity Fees:

  • Additional charge to all visitors, including children under 12, for horse trails, mountain bike trails and shooting ranges
  • $7 per person for daily permit (in addition to $3 entry fee), available at the gate. (Due to COVID-19, daily permits are now available online .)
  • $70 per person for annual special activity permit, available online


2020 OCORA Camping Reservations

Please read all of the information about 2020 reservations as somethings have changed. There are no exceptions to these dates or rules.

  • Only Three sites, per night, per person may be reserved for holiday weekends and the month of October.

  • All Three Buddy sites must be reserved together for holiday weekends and the month of October.

  • All Reservations must be paid in full.

  • No Refunds.
  • >Cancellations with greater than 24 hours in advance notice will be credited back to your account for future OCORA camping stays. 
    >Cancellations with Less than 24 Hours’ notice will be lost.
  • Fridays and Saturdays for Derby weekend, the 4th of July weekend, and the month of October must be booked together. Unless one is part of a consecutive day stay.
  • Friday, Saturday and Sunday must be reserved together for Memorial and Labor day weekends. Unless one is part of a consecutive day stay.
Holiday weekends are as follows:
  1. Derby Weekend - May 2 and 3, 2020
  2. Memorial Day Weekend - May 23, 24 and 25, 2020
  3. 4th of July weekend - July 4, and 5, 2019
  4. Labor Day weekend - September 5, 6 and 7, 2020
  5. Halloween Weekends- October 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, 24-25 and October 31-November 1, 2020

Reservations will Open as follows:
  • March 7, 2020 to: (a.) Campers that want an entire 30 Day Block @ $540 (+tax) and (b.) large groups that want a large block of sites on dates other than above listed Holiday weekends.
  • March 14, 2020 for reservations in the month of October (1-31) and November 1st. No other Dates, No exceptions.
  • March 21, 2020 for all other Dates
  • Reservations will open at 9am at the main office.
  • In person reservations will be taken first with phone reservations taken as soon as we can start on them. We will call back in the order that they are listed on the missed call list. Please don’t leave a message and don’t call more than once.
  • There will be a sign-in sheet to determine the order to make reservations. It will be available when the office door opens at 9 am. This is the only list we will use. Each person may only put one name on the list.

  • If you are interested in volunteering or hosting for the 2020 OCORA camping season (even if you have volunteered in the past) please call the office at (502) 942-9171 and leave a voice message with your name, phone number and the capacity in which you are interested in volunteering.


    Please note: The campground is open with a manned staff from April 1 through October 31 each year. Camping allowed throughout the rest of the year, but all check-ins must be done at the office. Reservations for 2019 will be taken starting March 3, 2019. Like us on Facebook for the most up-to-date information.
    Milk snake at Otter Creek

    Milk snake at Otter Creek

    1. Electrical sites may be reserved by calling 502-492-9854 between the hours of 9am-4pm Wednesday through Sunday. Any electrical sites not reserved will be available on a first come, first serve basis. Water only or primitive sites are available on a first come, first serve basis.
    2. Campers with reservations must check-in by 6:00pm. If not present by that time or they have not contacted the campground manager (502-492-9854) by that time, the sites will be available on a first come, first serve basis
    3. Campers must register at entrance gate to the campground and shall receive a campground car tag by the gate attendant.
    4. If camper is allowed to select a site of their choice, they shall return immediately to the gate and identify their chosen site.
    5. Campers shall be limited to two tent units or one camper and one tent unit per site, with the exception of the Buddy sites where 3 campers and 3 tents maybe present or 6 tents (no campers) if all 3 sites are reserved.
    6. A camper may not change sites, unless permission is given by the campground manager.
    7. Campers may not homestead. Campers can only stay 30 days at one time.
    8. Check out time will be 12:00pm
    9. Quiet hours for the campground will be 10:00pm to 7:00am
    10. Visitors must check in at the campground gate and will receive a visitor pass that must be displayed on their windshield. Visitors must be parked in campsite spaces or overflow area.
    11. If vehicles or tents will be left unattended for more than 24 hours the campground manager must be notified.
    12. The general admission fee ($3.00) is waived for campers, however, the special activity fee ($7.00) for mountain biking, horseback riding, and the shooting ranges must be purchased.
      Andy Mills, Meade County Extension Agent working to put in food and wildflower plots

      Andy Mills, Meade County Extension Agent working to put in food and wildflower plots

    13. No motorized all-terrain or off-highway vehicles will be allowed. Golf carts can be used in the campground, but drivers must be a licensed driver.
    14. Special events on the area, after the area closes at dark, must be approved by the area manager.
    15. Campers shall not hang lanterns on trees or shrubs, drive objects into trees, or trench or dig in the campground.
    16. A camper may be asked to move to facilitate maintenance such as water line repairs.
    17. Fires shall be restricted to fire rings or grills.
    18. Picnic tables may not be moved from site to site.
    19. Dogs must be on leash and campers will be required to clean up after their pets.
    20. All sewage and gray water will be disposed of at the sewage disposal site.
    21. Firewood must be gathered in the campground area only or purchased at check in station. No outside firewood is allowed due to the potential of spreading the Emerald Ash Borer. No trees maybe cut down for firewood.
    22. Front gate code will change every Tuesday morning. Campers are responsible to come to check in station to retrieve the new code.
    23. No bike riding after dark.

    Campground Rates

    Type of site Daily rate Weekly rate Monthly rate
    Electric/water $22 $140 $540
    Pad/water $15 $91 $330
    Tent/community water $12
    Equestrian $15 $91 $330
    ** Ice and LP tank exchange available on-site.

    Available electric/water sites

    View campground map

    • A1-A11
    • B1-B34
    • D1-D8
    • D22-D25
    • D27-D43
    • E1-E7, E27, E29, E31, E34
    • F3, F5, F7, F9, F11, F12 (F11, and F12 are Handicap Sites)
    • Buddy sites A, B, and C
    The other electrical sites had to be abandoned due to safety and code concerns. They will be replaced in the future.


    Note: There is a $30 cash cleaning deposit that will be returned at check out
    4 Electric Cabins - open room with 7 twin-size bunk beds that sleep 14 people, refrigerator, table, chairs, AC & Heat, NO WATER
    • Additional $5 charge per pet, per entire stay
    • Reservation Required, walk-ins welcome on first come, first serve basis
      • Rates
        • $70 per night
    1 Primitive Cabin - open room with 8 twin-size bunk beds that sleep 16 people, table, chairs, NO AC, HEAT or WATER
    • Additional $5 charge per pet, per entire stay
    • Reservation Required, walk-ins welcome of first come, first serve basis.
      • Rates
        • $22 per night


    Pine Grove Pavilion - is available for rent for events (i.e. weddings, business functions, family reunions, etc.). Electric is available for use at the pavilion and 3 portable lavatories will be on the site from April to October 31 each year.

    • Rate
      • $200 per day OR
      • Groups under 70 can have their guests pay the $3 entrance fee with no additional charge for rental of the pavilion.
    Cedar Hill Pavilion - is available for public use only. There is no electric or lavatories provided to this pavilion.


    Current Recreational Activities

    • Fishing
      • Area includes five miles of Otter Creek and frontage along the Ohio River.
      • Trout will be stocked in Otter Creek three times in the spring and a fourth time in October.
      • A seasonal catch-and-release season for trout planned from October through the end of March.
      • Anglers must possess a valid entry permit and have an appropriate fishing license and permit, if applicable.
    • Hunting
      • Spring squirrel hunting available under statewide season.
      • Hunters must possess a valid entry permit and have valid hunting licenses and permits, if applicable.
      • Opportunities planned in fall for small game, furbearer, deer and turkey hunting.
      • Quota firearm hunts planned for deer, in addition to separate archery and crossbow seasons.
      • See the Kentucky Hunting and Trapping Guide (available in July) for more information.
    • Hiking
      • Hiking is allowed on all trails.
    • Horseback Riding
      • Horseback riding is allowed on the Red Cedar Trail (RCT) and the Boone Hollow Trail (BHT).

        Please note: To participate in horseback riding at Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area, you must provide your own horses.

    • Horseback Riding at Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area
    • Mountain Bike Riding
      • Mountain biking is allowed on the Otter Creek Trail (OCT) and the Valley Overlook Trail (VOT).
    • Archery Range
      • The 3-D archery range is up and running.
    • Rifle Range
      • Tube Range - 100 Yards
    • Disc Golf
      • Disc golf is a disc game in which individual players throw a flying disc into a basket or at a target. According to the Professional Disc Golf Association, "The object of the game is to traverse a course from beginning to end in the fewest number of throws of the disc."
    Please Note:
    • Carry-down launch ramp at Ohio River for canoes, kayaks, and small boats
    • Groups holding events of 30 people or more must apply in advance for an event permit. Call 502-942-9171 to apply for an event permit.
    • Motorized off-roading is not allowed on the area.

    Directions to Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area from:

    Owensboro, KY

    Travel East on US-60 to KY -144, turn left onto KY-144 and travel approximately 30 miles. At the intersection of KY 144 and KY 79 turn left and follow KY 79 for 2.4 miles. At the intersection of KY 79 and KY 1051 turn right on to KY 1051. Follow KY 1051 and then merge to the right onto KY 448. From KY 448 you will travel approximately 2 miles to the intersection of KY 448 and KY 1638. Turn left onto KY 1638 and follow it 5 miles to the entrance of the area on the left.

    Elizabethtown, KY

    Travel North on US 31W to the intersection of US-31W and HWY 1638. Turn left onto HWY 1638 and follow it approximately 4 miles to the entrance of the area on the right.

    Lexington, KY

    Take I-64W to Exit 19A, to KY 841 South, Gene Snyder Freeway. Take the US-31W/US-60 exit, EXIT 1, toward FORT KNOX/LOUISVILLE. Turn LEFT onto DIXIE HWY/US-31W S/US-60 W. Continue to follow US-31W S/US-60 W. Turn RIGHT onto KY-1638 and follow it approximately 4 miles to the entrance of the area on the right.

    Louisville, KY

    Follow DIXIE HWY/US-31W S/US-60 W to the intersection of US-31W S and KY-1638. Turn RIGHT onto KY-1638 and follow it approximately 4 miles to the entrance of the area on the right.


    View Printable Map

    History of Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area

    The National Parks Service selects 3,000 acres of beautiful land in Meade County, Ky., to serve as a recreational area for residents of Louisville and neighboring towns. (Today, the park’s acreage is 2,600, after land swaps with Ft. Knox.)
    Otter Creek Park opens to the public.
    The first camp at Otter Creek Park is built and leased by the YMCA to become Camp Piomingo.
    In recognition of the city's service during World War II, the Federal Government endows Otter Creek Park to the City of Louisville.
    President Ford transfers 197 acres of surplus land from Fort Knox military reservation to the City of Louisville to be added to Otter Creek Park.
    Otter Creek Park builds a disc golf course.
    Otter Creek Park becomes a Division of Louisville Metro Parks.
    A new master plan is adopted for Otter Creek Park. The plan was developed by a task force chaired by former Louisville Mayor Frank Burke.
    Dec. 2008
    The city of Louisville announced that the park, which loses $500,000 annually, would close to the public on December 14, 2008 due to budget cuts. This closing date was amended to January 1.
    June 2010
    Gov. Steve Beshear and Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson announced that Otter Creek Park will be reopened in 2011 as an outdoor recreational area operated by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, an agency of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.
    Winter 2010
    The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources initiated the process of transferring and converting Otter Creek Park into The Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area. Titles, deeds, surveys and boundaries assessments were part of this process.
    Late Winter 2010
    Physical inspections and assessments were initiated as to the condition of all facilities including buildings, signs, electricity, water, gates, roadways, parking areas, trails and access points to Otter Creek and the Ohio River. Since the 2008 closure, there has been minimal maintenance at the facility that also experienced severe damage from the 2009 ice storm.
    Fall 2010
    KDFWR meets with various user groups and conducts the Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area web-based survey. Over 4000 surveys were completed representing over 13,000 household members.
    March 2011
    Area use regulations and fee structures are established. First opening weekend of May 14th determined.
    April 2011
    Annual passes available for purchase and first annual pass sold on KDFWR web site

    The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources receives no money from the state’s general fund. Agency funding is supported by Sportsmen and Sportswomen every time they purchase a hunting or fishing license; buy a firearm, ammunition, or fishing or archery equipment; pay boat registration fee; buy fuel for your boat; donate via the Kentucky state income tax check off to the Nature and Wildlife Fund.

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