The lake begins the Middle Fork of the Kentucky River.Buckhorn Lake Dam is an earthen dam, 160 feet high and 1,020 feet in length at its crest, with a maximum capacity of 167,900 acre-feet and normal storage of 32,100 acre feet. The origin of the lake's name is uncertain. Some claim the name is taken from the discovery of a buck's horn at a nearby salt lick. Others claim that it is named for a buck killed by Jerry Smith, the area's first settler.
Buckhorn Lake is home to a sizable population of muskie, making it an attractive destination for fishermen.