See Your Toes: The Clearest Lake in Kentucky!

If you’re looking for a place to get away from the madness of life and have a tranquil and nature-filled day, then a trip to the Clearest Lake in Kentucky is just the thing for you! In this article, we’ll explore all that the lake has to offer, the history behind its unique clarity, and how to plan your visit.

The Magic Behind the Clearest Lake in Kentucky

Nestled in the heart of eastern Kentucky, this pristine lake amazes visitors with its remarkable water clarity. The lake boasts waters so clear that you could see your toes from the lake’s bottom, which is a whopping 111 feet deep! This level of clarity is a rare occurrence in lakes, and many theories abound as to why the lake is so crystal clear.

A Geological Wonder

Geologists believe that the lake’s clarity is due to the limestone bedrock and the region’s unique geological formation. The Red River Gorge Geological Area is a mile-deep, two-mile-wide canyon system that is part of the Appalachian Mountains. This formation began 345 million years ago, and the geology of the region created the perfect environment for this lake. The lake is a reservior on the back side of a dam constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers.

It’s all about the Watershed

Another popular notion is that the watershed of the lake is unique, and that is the reason for the lake’s finite clarity as compared to other reservoirs in the area. The drainage area above the lake is mainly forested, and visitors are not allowed to camp close to the shoreline to avoid pollution. This helps to minimize run-offs of wastes and the like which keep the lake clear.

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Where to Experience the Clarity!

The lake is pretty secluded, which makes it relatively quiet in terms of human disturbance. The only portion of the lake that is accessible to the general public is the dam side that has been opened up for recreational purposes. The area is primarily used for fishing, hiking, nature trails, and picnicking with facilities for RV parking, and overnight primitive camping.

Fishing and Boating

Beneath this lake, there are several species of fish, including channel catfish, largemouth bass, and bluegill which contributes to its popularity among angling enthusiasts. If you’re looking to experience some watersports at the lake, you can bring your own boats or rent them on-site. There are restrictions on where you can take the boats, and you should be careful not to cross over to the other side where the more significant part of the lake is situated.

Hiking and Nature trails

The CheckPoint trail is a steep but short climb that leads to a stunning overlook of the lake. The trail runs for half a mile through the limestone gorge with cliffs towering over the creek at some points, offering a great opportunity for adventure seekers. An easy walk down to Martins Fork Dam is also a popular hiking trail.


For those looking to have a nice picnic with family or friends, there are numerous designated picnic areas scattered throughout the lake’s surroundings. The picnic tables are safe, sturdy, painted, and adorned with benches, garbage cans, and grills.

Planning Your Visit

It’s worth noting that as the lake is primarily used for recreational purposes, there are opening and closing times. The lake opens at sunrise and closes at sunset 1. Visitors should plan their day trips around these times to optimize their experience of the lake’s scenery.

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There is a ton of fun to be had at the Clearest Lake in Kentucky, but be sure to bring everything you need since there are no convenience stores or gas stations in the area. Bring everything from sunscreen, mosquito repellent, water, food, and all camping equipment. Visitors are also expected to pack out their trash, so be sure to bring plenty of garbage bags.


In conclusion, the Clearest Lake in Kentucky is a fascinating place to visit that promises visitors a unique and unforgettable experience. The lake’s history and geological formation provide for majestic scenery, unparalleled watersports opportunities, and relaxing picnics in the park environment. If you’re planning a day trip or an extended stay, this lake is a must-visit location to add to your bucket list. And who knows, you just might discover for yourself the secret behind the clearest lake in Kentucky.

Table: Species of fish in the Clearest Lake in Kentucky

Fish Species Common Name
Channel catfish Catfish
Largemouth bass Bass
Bluegill Sunfish


Things to Bring to the Clearest Lake in Kentucky

  1. Sunscreen
  2. Insect repellent
  3. A hat and sunglasses
  4. Comfortable hiking shoes
  5. Water bottles
  6. Picnic basket with plenty of food & drinks
  7. Garbage bags
  8. Camping equipment
  9. Fishing gear
  10. Oars and life-vests for boating

Don’t Forget to Bring the Following Etiquettes:

  1. Respect the environment around you.
  2. Follow Park rules and regulations. 
  3. Bring & Use mosquito repellent especially during the warmer months.
  4. Respect the privacy of the community living around the vicinity. 
  5. Pack out your trash.


  1. Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources – Martins Fork Lake, 

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