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Camping

Established Camping

Nickell Branch Campground

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About

National Forest

Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area

Welcome to Nickell Branch Campground, nestled in the northern part of the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area near Grand Rivers, KY. This spot is perfect if you're looking for a no-frills, back-to-basics camping experience.

Nickell Branch offers a mix of tent and RV camping with 11 designated sites. The campground is self-service, so be prepared to handle things on your own. The access road is gravel, and while it's generally in good shape, watch out for some large potholes. Once you arrive, you'll find a large loop with a big open grassy area and three short offshoots where the campsites are located.

One of the standout features here is the boat ramp, making it easy to launch your boat and enjoy the water. The views of the lake are stunning, and the shade trees provide a nice respite from the sun. There's also a single vault toilet on site, but don't expect any potable water or showers. If you need fresh water or a dump station, the North Welcome Center is just a few miles away.

Visitors have mentioned that the campground is well-maintained and offers a peaceful atmosphere, though you might hear the occasional train at night. The fee is quite reasonable, especially if you have an America the Beautiful pass.

For those who enjoy hiking, the Canal Loop Trail crosses the road just before the pay station and connects to the North-South Trail. It's a great way to explore the area and take in some beautiful views.

Overall, Nickell Branch Campground is a solid choice if you're looking to unplug and enjoy some quiet time in nature. Just remember to bring everything you need, as amenities are minimal. Happy camping!

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Location

Nickell Branch Campground is located in Kentucky

Detail location of campground

Coordinates

36.9883937920421 N
88.19958922008985 W

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Access

  • Drive-In
    Park next to your site
  • Walk-In
    Park in a lot, walk to your site.
  • Hike-In
    Backcountry sites.
  • Boat-In
    Sites accessible by watercraft.

Stay Connected

  • WiFi
    Good
  • Verizon
    Unknown
  • AT&T
    Good
  • T-Mobile
    Unknown

Site Types

  • Tent Sites
  • RV Sites
  • Standard (Tent/RV)
  • Group

Features

For Campers

  • ADA Access
  • Trash
  • Picnic Table
  • Phone Service
  • Toilets
  • Alcohol
  • Pets
  • Fires

Reviews

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10 Reviews

Michael W.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Oct. 20, 2022

Well Worth Money

Stayed 2 days in this northern LBL campground. Well maintained and level spot. 8. Has 3 spots for bigger motor homes. Also tent areas. Will definitely come back to this place. With America beautiful pass only 5 bucks. Only drawback was that a train station was about 1 mile away and could hear them pulling out at night. Not bad though

Site8
Month of VisitNovember
  • Review photo of Nickell Branch Campground by Michael W., October 20, 2022
  • Review photo of Nickell Branch Campground by Michael W., October 20, 2022
  • Review photo of Nickell Branch Campground by Michael W., October 20, 2022
  • (4) View All
Alex M.
Reviewed Jul. 9, 2022

Beautiful primitive camping

The Land Between the Lakes area is packed with campgrounds. This was one of the first I encountered as I headed south, and I didn't feel the need to look further. It is very, very nice. Note that this is a primitive campground, with just a single vault toilet and no potable water available on site. (The lovely town of Grand Rivers is just a few minutes away, though.) The upsides were the very reasonable fee, the lack of crowds, and the beautiful views. There was a slight fishy odor wafting up from the lake, but I'm not very sensitive to this and it didn't bother me. There was also a skunk hanging around the dumpster at dusk. I kept my distance and we didn't bother one another.

Aside from fishing, there isn't much to do here. However, I enjoyed staying here and left feeling refreshed. Quite a different experience from the crowded, civilized campgrounds.

Site??
Month of VisitJuly
  • Review photo of Nickell Branch Campground by Alex M., July 9, 2022
  • Review photo of Nickell Branch Campground by Alex M., July 9, 2022
  • Review photo of Nickell Branch Campground by Alex M., July 9, 2022
  • (5) View All
Timothy G.
Reviewed Jun. 27, 2021

Super Lake View

I camp here often several times a year either bringing my camper or my Tentsile (tree tent). I love the convenience to Grand Rivers, the ability to launch my boat onsite and all the shade trees overs sites along the shore.

Site8
Month of VisitAugust
  • Review photo of Nickell Branch Campground by Timothy G., June 27, 2021
  • Review photo of Nickell Branch Campground by Timothy G., June 27, 2021
  • Review photo of Nickell Branch Campground by Timothy G., June 27, 2021
j
Reviewed Jun. 15, 2021

It’s now a pay site $10 a night

I love camping here but there is constant traffic with boats being put in via the boat ramp if you camp in the first 2 branches. The woods have been picked free of firewood around the sites but it is pretty. There are hiking trails connected there so that is a plus.

Sitebetween 1&2 in the grassy area behind the potty
Month of VisitJune
Joel H.
Reviewed Sep. 25, 2020

Great time

Nickell is the northernmost campground in LBL. It is a self-service campground with 11 designated sites. The access road FR-102 is gravel and in pretty good shape aside from some large potholes. There is a large loop with a big open grassy area once you get to the pay station. From there, 3 short offshoots A, B & C - A is the boat ramp area and site #1; B is where the single vault toilet is located and sites #2 & #3; C loop has the remaining sites #4 - #8 which are for small to medium RVs, and sites #9 - #11 are grass tent sites. There are picnic tables and very nice fire rings at each site. Besides the toilet, boat ramp, and a new dumpster, those are the only amenities.

The 11-mile Canal Loop Trail crosses the road just before the pay station for hiking and biking (it connects to the North-South Trail). The campground is near the Barkley Canal that connects the two lakes making for lots of boating and paddling options. The North Welcome Center has fresh water and a dump station just a few miles away.

The cell reception is great - I got download speeds of 18-34 Mbps. Also, several OTA TV channels. These sites are all situated in the woods near the water so none are particularly good for solar. But otherwise, for the price this is pretty sweet dry camping.

  • Review photo of Nickell Branch Campground by Joel H., September 25, 2020
  • Review photo of Nickell Branch Campground by Joel H., September 25, 2020
Aaron S.
Reviewed Jun. 15, 2019

Can be nice

Basic campground. No water or electric. One vault toilet. Probably 15 true sites but several grassy areas that tents and hammocks can use.

Tim D.
Reviewed Aug. 9, 2018

The "go to" campground for the north end of LBL.

Nickel branch is the first campground on the north end of Land between the Lakes. the sites are maintained fairly well. There is a boat ramp, a basic outhouse, and good place to swim or fish. nickel branch offers a place for anyone wanting to tent camp. you can basically throw a tent up where ever you find a spot. I stayed there for a week right next to the water and was pretty well left alone by anyone else in the campground. There are hiking trails, fishing spots and being at the north end; your only about 15 minutes away from the closest store. this area requires a backwoods permit which is available at the north welcome station ( also about 15 minutes away)

Staci R.
Reviewed Sep. 30, 2017

Penny for your thoughts

Nickell branch is a Backcountry area in Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area in Kentucky. This is a very primitive camping that is first come first serve. It requires a Backcountry or dispersed camping permit which is available at any of the visitor centers.

Month of VisitOctober
  • Review photo of Nickell Branch Campground by Staci R., September 30, 2017
  • Review photo of Nickell Branch Campground by Staci R., September 30, 2017
  • Review photo of Nickell Branch Campground by Staci R., September 30, 2017
  • (8) View All
Shelly S.The Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Aug. 26, 2017

Basic Camping

Nickel Branch is an example of a basic campsite. Which you purchase an annual permit for at one of the visitor centers. Realize when you are at a basic campsite there are no frills...thus the name ;)

Nickel Branch ,down a gravel road off The Trace in Land Between The Lakes,Ky is a nice enough area and perfect fit people who want to go all natural in the woods.

There is only one restroom, pit style, not really convenient to any of the camp sites....then again when I'm camping all natural I don't usually walk all the way to a restroom....just sayin.

There is a boat ramp, also not real convenient, though there are a few sites pretty close to it. So hopefully you like one of those or you will be walking a little way to put in. Unless you enjoy bouncing off a drop off and hoping for the best.

There is a trailhead for the Canal Loop at the front of the campground, once again, not convenient to any campsite (are you noticing a theme here). The trail is bike and hiker friendly, be courteous to each other. Will take you along the lake edge and there are some nice views. (Moderate).

There has been a lot of rain this year and some high water levels. When the water goes down trash can be left along the shores as well as a lot of drift. So if you have a minute feel free to pick some up and throw it away. Leave it better then you found it:)

Month of VisitSeptember
  • Review photo of Nickell Branch Campground by Shelly S., August 26, 2017
  • Review photo of Nickell Branch Campground by Shelly S., August 26, 2017
  • Review photo of Nickell Branch Campground by Shelly S., August 26, 2017
  • (9) View All
Daniel  B.
Reviewed Aug. 5, 2017

Much better spots within LBL to set up camp

Nickell Branch was a miss. It has one set of bathrooms, but they’re not centrally located. There are campsites close to the water, but not a lot of flat ground close to it, so you’re camping higher up and away from the shoreline, and even then the ground wasn’t very flat – so not a good place if you want to sleep in a tent. The sites were primitive – a picnic table and a fire pit, but not all sites had both. The nicest thing about this place was the road in and out which was nicely paved and allowed for some enjoyable biking, but given the options of campsites in the park area, I would look elsewhere before considering this place.

Month of VisitAugust
  • Review photo of Nickell Branch Campground by Daniel  B., August 5, 2017
  • Review photo of Nickell Branch Campground by Daniel  B., August 5, 2017
  • Review photo of Nickell Branch Campground by Daniel  B., August 5, 2017
  • (10) View All

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to camp at Nickell Branch Campground?

Camping at Nickell Branch Campground can starts at $10.00.

What is the max vehicle length at Nickell Branch Campground?

Nickell Branch Campground allows vehicles up to 35 feet.

Are fires allowed at Nickell Branch Campground?

Yes, according to campers on TheDyrt.com, fires are allowed at Nickell Branch Campground, although make sure to check current fire restrictions in the area.

Does Nickell Branch Campground have wifi?

No, according to campers on TheDyrt.com, Nickell Branch Campground does not have wifi.

Is there cell phone reception at Nickell Branch Campground?

According to campers on TheDyrt.com, Verizon signal is unknown, AT&T is good, and T-Mobile is unknown.