Grayson Lake State Park is around 2 hours away from Lexington, in Olive Hill Kentucky. If you have never been it’s a great place for a Kentucky kayaking or a Kentucky SUP trip. Grayson Lake State Park is a 1500 acre park, with over 70 miles of shoreline. The park also has a campground and golf course. All the offerings are great, but this post is all about the kayaking the lake offers and the trip to the Grayson Lake Grotto.
Grayson Grotto is popular, so get there early.
If you are a kayaker that likes to be alone on the water, Grayson Lake is not the place you want to hit. When we went in June the weather was an awesome sunny day. Starting from around Lexington around 9:00 we rolled up a little after 11:00 and the boat ramp was already full.
Luckily we found a spot closer to the water to unload the boats so the carry down wasn’t too hard or dangerous. The gravel parking lot is way up the ramp and was almost full when we got our spot, and by the time we took out and loaded up, the parking was full and parking was flowing out onto the road. Bottom line get there early or you will be carrying your boats a long long way.
Kentucky Kayaking at it’s finiest
This was a nice easy paddle. All flat water, if you don’t count the ripple from the waterfall or one bass boat that ripped in a no-wake zone. The way back we did paddle into the wind, which gave the feeling of a strong current, and slowed us down. Not much shade on the water during the middle of the day so make sure you pack some sunscreen and hats. Water temps were perfect for a splash to cool off and the water was rather clean. It had not rained in a while when we were there, so I would expect it to be a little different when after a storm.
The trip down to the Grayson grotto took about 90 minutes. That is 90 minutes of steady but not crazy hard paddling. Also, no stops on the way down. Another thing to note, unlike rivers where you have shorelines and beaches everywhere to pull over and have a snack or rest the lake has limited areas to stretch out. If you find a spot to rest take it, the next spot may be a pretty good trek to reach.
When you get to the grotto the entrance can be missed rather easily. The open is to the left if you are coming from the boat ramp. Our group went right past the turnoff and keep traveling down the lake before we turned the ship around and entered the cove. Just keep an eye out so you don’t miss it!
The Grayson Lake Grotto was worth the trip
Around the Grayson Grotto and inside the grotto has plenty of room to park the boats and stretch the legs. Getting to the inside was a tight squeeze pushing through a “Fat Man’s Misery” situation, you may have to hold the paddle and push off on the overhanging rocks. Again water levels will affect how your trip goes, but it worked out well for our trip.
Inside the grotto, you will find a waterfall and some massive rock structures to explore. Dock the boats get out and explore a bit, you earned it on the long paddle.
Grayson Lake Grotto is a must kayak trip.
Check out the video below it’s around 5 minutes and shows a trip out to the grotto and back including a stop at a Grayson Lake waterfall. If you have considered this trip you really should make it to the Grayson Lake Grotto you will not be disappointed. Be ready for a crowd if it’s a nice day, but make sure you enjoy your time on the water.
If you have been let us know what you think about the grotto and Grayson Lake in the comments below.