Kentucky’s General Burnside Island State Park

General Burnside Island State Park, located in Burnside, Kentucky on South Highway 27, is a quiet getaway for golfers and water enthusiasts. The park and the town both are named after Ambrose Burnside, a Union Army general who led his troops through the area during the Civil War.

The feature attraction at Burnside Island is its 18-hole, par 71 golf course. This course was redesigned in 2008 by noted golf course designer Brian Ault, who also designed the nearby courses at Dale Hollow and Hidden Cove. It features a hilly, scenic course with fairways of Zoysia grass and a few blind spots. Along with the regulation course, the park has a pro shop, pull cart and riding cart rentals, and club rentals. In 2011, the course is scheduled to be open year round, but availability in winter months may be limited by weather or maintenance.

General Burnside Island State Park is an island because it is surrounded by Lake Cumberland, a lake currently at a lower level than normal due to repairs being made to Wolf Creek Dam. However, the park’s boat ramp is fully operational, and still sees plenty of fishing enthusiasts, boaters, and skiers during the summer. The ramp is large enough to launch houseboats, or up to three smaller boats at a time. Another place of interest for water lovers is Burnside Marina. While not in the park itself, it is less than a mile away, and features rentals of houseboats, pontoons, ski boats, and jet skis.

Fish in Lake Cumberland include trout, walleye, catfish, and several different bass. The Kentucky Department for Public Health is suggesting that, because of low lake levels and higher than normal mercury levels in the lake that the consumption of black bass be limited to one fish per month, and of crappie and rock bass be limited to one per week. Children and pregnant women may need to eat fewer of these fish.

Burnside Island also has a 94-site campground with both primitive sites and sites with electrical hookups. The campground allows pets on leashes, and most campsites are wheelchair accessible. It is set to reopen April 1. Reservations can be made through the Kentucky State Park’s website ( The park also accepts drive-up visitors on a “first come first serve” basis.

Other feature of General Burnside Island State Park include two picnic shelters, a children’s playground, and plenty of woodland in which to search for many of the state’s birds and wildlife. The park used to operate a swimming pool, but this has been closed for the past few years, mainly because of a large water park which opened in the area. Plans are in the works for a lodge to be built, but there is no final word as to when work will begin.

For more information about General Burnside Island State Park or to make reservations, call 606-561-4104