State & National Parks in Daniel Boone Forest

Cumberland Falls State Resort Park


Cumberland Falls State Resort Park is a park located just southwest of Corbin, Kentucky and is contained entirely within the Daniel Boone National Forest. Cumberland Falls State Resort Park encompasses 1,657 acres and is named for its major feature, 68-foot-tall Cumberland Falls. The falls are one of the few places in the western hemisphere where a moonbow can frequently be seen on nights with a full moon. Cumberland Falls State Resort Park is also the home of 44-foot Eagle Falls.

After the discussion of building an hydroelectric power plant above the falls in 1927, Kentucky native T. Coleman du Pont offered to buy the falls and surrounding acreage in order to create Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. Although he died before he could purchase the land, his wife purchased the falls and the 593 acres surrounding it for $400,000 on March 10, 1930, after the Kentucky General Assembly (legislature) approved the creation of Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. Cumberland Falls was dedicated as a state park at 1:30 p.m. on August 21, 1931. Following a $2 million renovation project in 2006, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park received an upgraded rating from two diamonds to three diamonds from the American Automobile Association (AAA) in 2007.

7351 HWY 90, Corbin, KY 40701 - 606-528-4121

Cumberland Falls State Resort Park’s DuPont Lodge

The solid hemlock beams and knotty pine paneling complement the massive stone fireplaces inhistoric DuPont Lodge at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, one of the most beautiful state park lodges. Fifty-one rooms offer beautiful views and full amenities including interior corridors. All rooms were totally renovated in 2006. Relax on the beautiful, large observation deck overlooking the Cumberland River winding thru the hillside. DuPont Lodge provides a spectacular spot for a wedding. Don’t forget about the park’s other accommodations, including Cumberland Falls cabin rentals, cottages and campsites.

Cumberland Falls State Resort Park Activities
  • Gem Mining
Cumberland Falls Mining Company is located at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park just past the Gift Shop. You can buy bags for $6.00, $8.00 and $10.00 (fossils) and begin your discoveries of real, colorful gemstones and fossils at the gemstone flume. Just place a scoop of rough material on the screen...then rinse with clean water. The gem stones, when wet, will reveal colors and crystal shapes. There are lots of different gemstones to discover… from locally-found Pyrite, Fluorite and Quartz, to Ruby, Moonstone, Topaz, Crystal Points, Sapphire, Emerald, Amethyst, Garnett, Citrine, Aventurine, Obsidian, Sodalite, Calcite and Raspberry Quartz. Hours are 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, dependent on weather.
  • Birding in Cumberland Falls State Park
Some of the most memorable birding experiences in Cumberland Falls State Resort Park are hearing the call and catching a glimpse of the Pileated Woodpecker, or the flute-like call of the Wood Thrush. Many species of Wood Warblers pass through the Cumberland Falls area on their way from South America to the Northern States and Canada. Several species of birds can be viewed from the Riverview Restaurant at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park and back patio of the Dupont Lodge. Some of the most common visitors are Carolina Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Chipping Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Dark-eyed Junco, House Finch, American Goldfinch, Downy Woodpecker, and Red Bellied Woodpecker.
  • Cumberland Falls State Resort Park Gift Shop
Visit the Cumberland Falls State Resort Park Gift Shop, which features a large selection of Kentucky handcrafts. Snack shop is open April 1 - October 31. Gift Shop and Visitor’s Center open year-round.
  • Cumberland Falls State Resort Park Camping
Enjoy the great outdoors in the Cumberland Falls State Resort Park Campground, featuring 50 campsites with electric and water hookups. The campground has a central service building with showers and rest rooms, a grocery, and a dump station. Pets are allowed if restrained. Closed for season from November 15 to March 15.
  • Hiking in Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
Cumberland Falls is a hiker’s paradise with 17 miles of hiking trails that wind through Cumberland Falls State Resort Park to scenic areas. The Moonbow Trail connects with many backpacking trails in the Daniel Boone National Forest.
  • Horseshoes in Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
Overnight guests may check-out sports equipment.
  • Picnicking in Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
The picnic area in Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, with tables, grills and playgrounds, is ideal for family outings. A picnic shelter (without rest rooms) offers tables, grills, water, and electric; it may be reserved for rental up to one year in advance.
  • Rafting at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
Guided rafting trips are offered on the Cumberland River. Cumberland Falls State Resort Park arranges the trips through www.Ky-rafting.com. Daily, May – October, depending on water levels. Fee charged. Call 800-541-RAFT (7238).
  • Shuffleboard in Cumberland Falls Park
Overnight guests may check-out sports equipment.
  • Swimming at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
Cool off on a hot summer day with a dip in an Olympic-size pool in Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. Pool is a short distance from the Lodge and Woodland Rooms. Use of pool is free to lodge and cottage guests. Fee for the public : $4.00 Adult (13 & older), $3.00 child 3-12, free for child 2 and under.
  • Tennis in Cumberland Falls Park
Enjoy a game of tennis on the outdoor courts near the Woodland Rooms. Overnight guests may check-out sports equipment.
  • Cumberland Falls State Resort Park Events
  • Backpacking 101 - (Several times a year)
  • Native American Weekend - (March)
  • Overnight Canoe Adventures - (April, May, October)
  • Nature Photography Weekend - (April)
  • Birding and Wildflower Weekend - (May)
  • Kentucky Hills Craft Festival - (September)
  • Moonbow Trail Trek - (November)
Cumberland Falls History

Geologists estimate that the rock over which the Cumberland River plunges is about 250 million years old. Romantics are enchanted with the poetic beauty of the falls. Visitors are awed by the majesty of the falls. Historians note the uniqueness of the site.

Often called the “Niagara of the South,” Cumberland Falls has attracted the attention of countless people since prehistoric times. Although the first permanent, white settlers at Cumberland Falls did not arrive until 1850, people have inhabited this area for thousands of years. Native Americans lived here as long as 10,000 years ago. They made their home in rock shelters at the base of the cliffs that line the river. These people were primitive hunters living off the land. As early as 1650, Shawnee, Cherokee, Chickasaw, and the Creek nations visited often and used the areas for temporary hunting camps. Both Cumberland and Eagle Falls were held sacred by many Native Americans. Early maps show the Cumberland River was known as the Shawnee River.

Early travel accounts describe the falls. Dr. Thomas Walker during his 1750 exploration of Kentucky named the waterfall after the Duke of Cumberland, a son of King George II of England. The “Long Hunters” camped in the area. Kentucky historian Richard Henry Collins wrote a vivid description of Cumberland Falls in his 1874 History of Kentucky. He describes the falls as one of the “most remarkable objects in the state.” Collins went on to say that the surrounding countryside “presents to the eye of the traveler a succession of scenery as romantic and picturesque as any in the state.” Cumberland Falls could also take visitors unaware. On February 12, 1780, Zachariah Green and four companions had to quickly abandon their boat when the rushing waters of the Cumberland River carried it over the falls.

Ownership of Cumberland Falls included Samuel Garland, a Virginian who traded a portion of his supplies for the land around the falls. He intended to build a water mill, but instead built a cabin in which he resided for a while before returning to Virginia. The first official record of the falls ownership occurred in 1800 when the Commonwealth of Kentucky granted Matthew Walton and Adam Shepard Cumberland Falls and 200 acres. In 1850, Louis and Mary H. Renfro bought 400 acres “including the Great Falls of the Cumberland.” The couple built a cabin near the falls and later added a two-room lean-to for visitors who wished to enjoy the beauty of the magnificent waterfall.

Socrates Owens constructed a hotel at the falls. Handmade furniture filled the rooms of the hotel. Those things that could not be made on site were brought from Cincinnati to Parker’s Lake Post Office located fourteen miles from the falls. When Owens died in 1890, his widow, Nannie William Owens, and his son, Edward F. Owens, took possession of the Cumberland Falls Hotel. The Owens family later sold the hotel and 400 acres to the Cumberland Falls Company, which in turn sold it to J.C. Brunson, who renamed the hotel the Brunson Inn.

In 1927 the Kiwanis Club sponsored the building of a trail from Corbin, Kentucky to Cumberland Falls. This project involved 200 men and women working for nine weeks to complete the task. In November 1927 Kentucky native T. Coleman DuPont offered to buy the falls and the surrounding acreage and give it to the commonwealth for a state park. The offer came at the right time. Discussions already were underway regarding a proposal by the Cumberland River Power Company to build a dam above the falls. However, not until March 10, 1930 did the Kentucky legislature vote to accept the now deceased Coleman’s offer of the falls area as a state park. Coleman’s widow proceeded to buy the property of 593 acres for $400,000. Under the direction of Dr. Willard Rouse Jillson, who had served as the first commissioner of state parks, a committee adopted a motion to make Cumberland Falls part of the state parks system. The dedication of Cumberland Falls as a Kentucky State Park took place August 21, 1931.

The road from Corbin to the falls needed improvement, and in 1931 a new highway was completed. Between September 7, and Thanksgiving Day, 1931, over 50,000 visitors came to see Cumberland Falls. In 1933 the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) had 136 young men working at the falls to improve the park. They constructed DuPont Lodge and fifteen cabins for visitors, along with campsites, picnic areas, roads and trails. The lodge had 26 rooms with a lounge two-stories high replete with a huge stone fireplace. A fire destroyed DuPont Lodge on April 5, 1940. Park authorities constructed a new lodge in 1941. Fires destroyed the old Cumberland Fall Hotel in 1947, and in 1949 the Moonbow Inn also burned. Throughout the remainder of the twentieth century, the Kentucky parks system carried out extensive improvements. The park has a museum that has Indian artifacts. All types of seasonal recreational activities take place at the park. However, the greatest attraction is the thundering waters of Cumberland Falls. The falls are 65 feet high and 125 feet wide. When the Cumberland River is at flood stage, the width of the falls can quickly expand to 300 feet.

Besides the falls, one of the great attractions at Cumberland Falls State Park is the Moonbow. Visible on moonlit evenings, the Moonbow is said to only be duplicated at Victoria Falls in Africa. This is one of truly awesome sights in not only Kentucky, but also in the world. The beauty of Cumberland Falls draws visitors from across the world to come to Kentucky to see its grandeur.

Red River Gorge


The Red River Gorge is a canyon system on the Red River in east-central Kentucky. Geologically, Red River Gorge is part of the Pottsville Escarpment. Much of Red River Gorge is located inside the Daniel Boone National Forest and has been subsequently reserved as the Red River Gorge Geological Area, an area of around 29,000 acres. Red River Gorge has been designated a National Natural Landmark and National Archaeological District, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 13,379 acres Clifty Falls wilderness Area lies entirely within Red River Gorge.

The intricate canyon system of Red River Gorge features an abundance of high sandstone cliffs, rock shelters, waterfalls, and natural bridges. There are more than 100 natural sandstone arches in the Red River Gorge Geological Area. The multitude of sandstone and cliff-lines have helped Red River Gorge become one of the world's top rock climbing destinations and is home to the Red River Gorge Climbers' Coalition.

Kentucky's Natural Bridge State Park is immediately adjacent to Red River Gorge, featuring one of the largest natural bridges in the Red River Gorge. Because of its unusual and rugged nature, the Red River Gorge features a remarkable variety of ecological zones. Red River Gorge is home to many plants, such as Canadian yew, which are far from their main range.

3451 Sky Bridge Road, Stanton, KY 40380 - 606-663-8100

Nada Tunnel at Red River Gorge

Nada Tunnel is a historic 900-foot long tunnel along Kentucky Route 77 in Powell County, Kentucky, in Red River Gorge. Formerly a railway tunnel, the tunnel has often been described as the "Gateway to Red River Gorge" for the shortcut it now provides motorists to the Red River Gorge canyons of the Daniel Boone National Forest.

Built for the Dana Lumber Company between 1910 and 1911, Nada Tunnel was named for Nada, Kentucky, then a logging town about 10 miles past the tunnel's entrance. Solid limestone was blasted with dynamite and dug out with steam machinery and hand tools, with two teams working from each side of the ridge.

The tunnel's original dimensions were 12 by 12 feet, but when the first train load of logs became stuck and had to be blasted free, the tunnel's height was increased to 13 feet. Narrow gauge steam locomotives of the Big Woods, Red River & Lombard Railroad regularly hauled timber extracted from the vast forests of the Red River Valley through the tunnel to a sawmill 15 miles away in Clay City. Once the forests had been cleared, the timber companies pulled out of the area. The railroad tracks were removed and a dirt road in the unlit tunnel was opened to horse and pedestrian traffic. Nada Tunnel has since been paved to carry a single lane of road traffic.

Nada Tunnel itself, and the prehistoric Native American rock art sites, contribute to the National Register of Historic Places listings in Red River Gorge in Powell County, Kentucky.

Red River Gorge Archaeology

Rock shelters and other sites in the Red River Gorge Geological Area contain artifacts of prehistoric occupancy by indigenous peoples, beginning with the Paleoindian period. Rock shelters are particularly valuable as archaeological sites because they are protected from precipitation. Plant materials and other relics, such as woven mats and leather moccasins, that would decompose in more typical sites, are well-preserved in the dry, nitrate-rich soils found in rock shelters of Red River Gorge. Sites in Red River Gorge have yielded some of the earliest evidence of the domestication of plants found in the eastern United States.

The Red River Gorge, Clifty Wilderness, and the Indian Creek area were designated as a National Archaeological District and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. The National Register district covers 37,217 acres of land, including 29,116 acres in the national forest and 8,101 acres of private land. It contains 664 known prehistoric and historic sites that date from more than 11,000 years ago to the 20th century; 442 sites are contributing sites in the National Register district.

Clifty Wilderness of Red River Gorge

Clifty Wilderness is a 13,344-acre wilderness area located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. It was designated wilderness in 1985 and is managed by the Cumberland Ranger District of the Daniel Boone National Forest. Located within the Red River Gorge Geological Area, Clifty Wilderness is a rugged area characterized by high cliffs, steep valleys, numerous sandstone arches, rock shelters, and boulder-strewn creeks. The Wilderness contains at least 15 sensitive, rare or endangered plant species among more than 750 different flowering plants and 170 species of moss. The Wild and Scenic Red River bisects Clifty Wilderness. 9.1 miles of the river are designated "wild" and 10.3 miles are designated "recreational."


Red River Gorge Recreation
  • Red River Gorge Rock Climbing
The Red River Gorge is also known as a popular destination for rock climbers, with numerous cliffs in Red River Gorge itself and in the surrounding areas. The vast number of bolted routes in overhanging, pocketed sandstone draws climbers from all over the world to "the Red" as it is known. Climbing in the Red River Gorge region tends to be done at a large number of separate small cliffs. Most climbs are a single pitch and most cliffs are less than 200 feet tall. There are numerous traditional and sport climbing routes in the Red River Gorge region; although the latter seems to be more dominant. Many cliffs lay within Daniel Boone National Forest; however numerous important cliffs are located on private land and in two privately owned preserves created to allow climbing access:
  • Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve is a 750 acres preserve owned and maintained by Red River Gorge Climbers' Coalition
  • Muir Valley, is a 400 acres nature preserve and rock climbing area owned and maintained by Rick and Liz Weber.
  • Hiking and Camping in Red River Gorge
The Red River Gorge is also known for its numerous hiking trails that range in difficulty from beginner to advanced. The Red River Gorge trails are maintained by the Forest Service and are located throughout the park.

Natural Bridge State Resort Park


Natural Bridge State Resort Park is a Kentucky state park located in Powell and Wolfe Counties along the Middle Fork of the Red River, adjacent to the Red River Gorge Geologic Area and surrounded by the Daniel Boone National Forest. Its namesake natural bridge is the centerpiece of Natural Bridge State Resort Park. The natural sandstone arch spans 78 ft and is 65 ft high. The natural process of weathering formed the arch over millions of years. Natural Bridge State Resort Park is approximately 2,300 acres of which approximately 1,200 acres is dedicated by the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission as a nature preserve. In 1981 this land was dedicated into the nature preserves system to protect the ecological communities and rare species habitat. The first federally endangered Virginia big eared bats, Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus, recorded in Kentucky were found at Natural Bridge State Resort Park in the 1950s.

2135 Natural Bridge Road, Slade, KY 40376 - 606-663-2214

Natural Bridge State Resort Park History and Trails

Natural Bridge State Resort Park was founded as a private tourist attraction in 1896 by the Lexington and Eastern Railroad. Natural Bridge State Resort Park became one of Kentucky's original four state parks when that system was established in 1925. There are over 20 miles of trails over uneven terrain in Natural Bridge State Resort Park from moderate to strenuous difficulty, including trails to White's Branch Arch, Henson's Cave Arch, and other scenic areas. Some of the most famous sites in Natural Bridge State Resort Park are the arch itself, "Lovers Leap", and "Fat Man's Squeeze". Natural Bridge State Resort Park 's 0.5-mile "Original Trail" to the natural bridge dates from the 1890s. Other trails include the 7.5-mile Sand Gap Trail and the 0.75-mile Balanced Rock Trail. Five miles of the 270-mile Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail run through Natural Bridge State Resort Park, including the Whittleton Trail which connects Natural Bridge State Resort Park to the Red River Gorge Geologic Area. Activities such as hiking off-trails, disturbing wildlife, or collecting plants are not legal in any Kentucky State Park. "Fat Man's Squeeze", a narrow passage in the rock formation, leads to the bottom of the arch in Natural Bridge State Resort Park.

Natural Bridge State Resort Park has several unique sandstone rock formations, including the Balanced Rock. This is a huge block of sandstone balanced on the edge of a cliff near the Natural Bridge. The "Balanced Rock" is located on Trail #2 in Natural Bridge State Resort Park, not far above Hemlock Lodge. In the early days of Natural Bridge State Resort Park, it was called the Sphinx because, when viewed from the correct angle, it crudely resembles the Sphinx in Egypt. Although it is now called the Balanced Rock, it is in fact a pedestal rock - a single piece of stone that has weathered in such a fashion that its midsection is narrower than its cap or its base. This formation is one of the biggest and most perfectly formed examples of a pedestal rock east of the Rocky Mountains.

Natural Bridge State Resort Park Annual Events

Natural Bridge State Park is a member of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, and offers guided backpacking trips and natural history educational programs. Annual events open to the public at Natural Bridge State Resort Park include Herpetology Weekend each May, Natural Arches Weekend each February, and the Kentucky Native Plant Society's Wildflower Weekend each April.

Natural Bridge State Resort Park is also famous for hosting traditional Appalachian square dances each weekend in the summer. For 44 years Richard Jett, former Wolfe County Superintendent of Schools and Mayor of Campton, called these weekly dances until his death in 2006. He died doing what he loved, calling a dance on Hoedown Island in Natural Bridge State Resort Park.

Natural Bridge State Resort Park Activities
  • Birding in Natural Bridge State Park
The best time to bird watch in Natural Bridge State Resort Park is in May and June when the woodland warblers (and other neotropical birds) return and are most vocal and active. The Fall migration is also good, in late September. Winter bird watching at Natural Bridge State Resort Park can be fun because many of the leaves have dropped, making it easier to view various species of woodpeckers, kinglets, nuthatches, wrens, and sparrows. Year-round residents of Natural Bridge State Resort Park include northern cardinal, American goldfinch, indigo bunting, song sparrow, belted kingfisher, American crow, great blue heron, wild turkey, pileated woodpecker, Carolina chickadee, tufted titmouse, white-breasted nuthatch, and Carolina wren. Best places to spot our feathered friends at Natural Bridge State Resort Park: Hood’s Branch Trail, Rock Garden Trail, Whittleton Branch Trail, Lakeside Trail, Mill Creek Lake, Picnic Shelter 3 & 4 area.
  • Camping in Natural Bridge State Park
Enjoy the great outdoors in a Natural Bridge State Resort Park campsite. Two campgrounds, Whittleton Campground and Middle Fork Campground, provide 87 sites with utilities. Tent campsites are also available in Natural Bridge State Resort Park. Dump stations and two central service buildings with restrooms and showers are furnished for your convenience. Closed November 15 - March 15.
  • Canoeing at Natural Bridge State Park
Canoes are available for rental Memorial Day through Labor Day in Natural Bridge State Resort Park.
  • Natural Bridge State Park Gift Shop
For the perfect memento of your visit, browse the Natural Bridge State Resort Park lodge gift shop featuring a large selection of Kentucky handcrafts and souvenirs.
  • Hiking in Natural Bridge State Park
The ten hiking trails in Natural Bridge State Resort Park range from one-half mile to seven-and-one-half miles. Natural Bridge State Resort Park trail maps are available at the Hemlock Lodge. Due to its Nature Preserve status, dogs are not allowed on hiking trails in Natural Bridge State Resort Park. However, the Whittleton Trail (managed by the U.S. Forest Service) is pet friendly and can be accessed via the Park’s Whittleton Campground.
  • Natural Bridge State Resort Park Sky Lift
For a more relaxing climb to natural bridge, enjoy a ride on the Natural Bridge State Resort Park sky lift. The ascent begins one-half mile from the park entrance and ends within 600 feet of Natural Bridge. Open daily first weekend of April through the last weekend in October. Fee charged.
  • Kayaking at Natural Bridge State Park
Kayak rentals in Natural Bridge State Resort Park are available Memorial Day through Labor Day.
  • Miniature Golf in Natural Bridge State Park
Test your putting skills on the 18-hole miniature golf course in Natural Bridge State Resort Park. Open weekends, Memorial Day through October. Fee charged per round.
  • Pedal Boating in Natural Bridge State Park
The watercraft rental dock in Natural Bridge State Resort Park is a short walk away from the pool complex, along a newly landscaped path. Pedal Boats are available for rental. Explore up and down Hoedown Island Lake. Weekends, Memorial Day-Labor Day.
  • Picnicking in Natural Bridge State Park
Four picnic shelters with rest rooms, tables, grills, and a playground are located throughout Natural Bridge State Resort Park. Shelters available for rental up to one year in advance. Fee charged for shelter rental.
  • Swimming in Natural Bridge State Resort Park
The Natural Bridge State Resort Park pool complex is tucked between the lake and the cliff beneath Natural Bridge State Resort Park’s Hemlock Lodge. The complex includes a spacious stone bathhouse, and a zero-depth (one can enter pool without steps) pool that holds 80,000 gallons of water. The main pool has a "river" theme with directional water jets and floor bubblers. Next to the main pool is a fenced wading pool with floor bubbles and fountain. General public: $4 per adult, $3 per child daily. FREE to Natural Bridge State Resort Park lodge and cottage guests.

Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park


Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park combines the beauty of a rolling, wooded hills park with a historic site that honors the pioneers who braved the perils of the wilderness to settle Kentucky. The Mountain Life Museum in Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park brings visitors into a pioneer settlement. Buildings in the settlement were moved from other sites or built as replicas on the park. All buildings are filled with pioneer relics including tools, products of agriculture and household implements. The museum consists of 7 buildings.

Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park offers visitors a 136-site campground, nestled in an open woodland. Utility hookups, a grocery store, a dump station, and three central service buildings containing an activities room, showers, rest rooms, and laundry facilities assure camping convenience in Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park. Open year-round. Check out by 2:00 pm, Eastern time. Pets are allowed if restrained.

998 Levi Jackson Mill Road, London, KY 40744 - 606-330-2130

Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park Activities
  • Levi Jackson State Park Outdoor Theater
The Russell Dyche Amphitheater in Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park seats 1,500 people and is host to many community events, including the week-long Laurel County Homecoming in August.
  • Hiking in Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park
Between 1774 and 1796, more than 200,000 pioneers traveled over the Wilderness Road and Boone’s Trace during the settlement of Kentucky. Today, visitors to Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park can retrace the footsteps of the early pioneers on eight-and-one-half miles of hiking trails that include original portions of these historic throughways.
  • Camping in Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park
Nestled in open woodlands in Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park, campers can relax in a 136 site campground. Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park camping offers utility hookups, a grocery store, a dump station, and three central service buildings containing an activities room, showers, rest rooms, and laundry facilities. Open year-round. Pets are allowed if restrained.
  • Picnicking at Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park
Picnic tables, grills, and playgrounds are located throughout Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park for a perfect picnic outing. Four picnic shelters are available for rental up to one year in advance.
  • Swimming at Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park
Cool off on a hot summer day in the community swimming pool in Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park. A new pool containing water slides is open. Lifeguard-protected. Hours: Noon to 7:00 pm Friday - Sunday, through Labor Day Weekend. $5 adult, $4 for age 62 & older and children 3-12. Free for children 2 and under. Pool Availability: Please call ahead to confirm community pool hours or to book a pool party.
  • Horseshoes in Levi Jackson State Park
Horseshoe pits are available in Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park. Sports equipment may be checked-out to campers.
  • Miniature Golf in Levi Jackson State Park
Test your putting skills on the 18-hole, miniature golf course near the Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park Campground entrance. Open April 1-October 31.
  • Basketball in Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park
Basketball courts are available in Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park. Sports equipment may be checked-out to campers.
  • Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park Gift Shop
Closed November 1 - March 31 (available by appointment only).
  • Volleyball in Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park
Volleyball courts are available in Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park. Sports equipment may be checked-out to campers.

Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park History

Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park combines the beauty of a rolling, wooded hills park with a historic site that honors the pioneers who braved the perils of the wilderness to settle Kentucky. John Freeman and Levi Jackson settled in what is now Laurel County. Freeman came to southeast Kentucky in 1802 and claimed an extensive tract of land bordering the famous Wilderness Road as payment for his Revolutionary War service. He built a large, two-story house that he licensed as a tavern in 1803. Freeman’s daughter, Rebecca, married Levi Jackson (1815-1879), the first judge of Laurel County. Jackson and Freeman became partners and the two men ran the Wilderness Road Tavern and the Laurel River Post Office. Upon Freeman’s death, Jackson continued to run the tavern. The surrounding farmland became known as Jackson’s Farm. On December 7, 1931, Colonel G.D. Jackson and Ella Jackson, descendents of John Freeman and Levi Jackson, donated 307 acres of land to the Kentucky State Parks System for a park honoring the state’s pioneers.

The Wilderness Road is an integral part of Kentucky’s early history. Along with Boone’s Trace (named for Daniel Boone), commissioned by the Transylvania Company in 1775, the Wilderness Road carried thousands of people into the interior of Kentucky from 1796, when a wagon road was constructed from Crab Orchard in Lincoln County to the Cumberland Gap. The thoroughfare became a toll road for many years. Boone’s Trace and the Wilderness Road at times cross each other. Both historic trails pass through Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park. The Wilderness Road divided the Freeman/Jackson property and Kentucky Highway 229 follows the historic roadway. Boone’s Trace passes through the western edge of the park and crosses Little Laurel River at McHargue’s Water Mill.

One of the most tragic events in the history of Kentucky took place within the confines of the modern park on October 3, 1786. A group of fourteen families were moving to central Kentucky. They made camp one night and failed to post a guard. Throughout their journey they had taken every precaution against Indian attack. On this particular evening they felt that since they had traveled this far without attack they could relax. The families danced and drank until late that evening. After they had retired for the night, the Indians attacked the camp and massacred all but three members of the group. A man, woman, and little girl survived the slaughter. Twenty-four people are known to have perished in the attack. The site became known as Defeated Camp or McNitt’s Defeat.

The creation of Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park is a unique memorial to pioneer Kentucky. During 1935 the Board of Public Property reported that the National Park Service, under the auspices of the Department of the Interior, had invested nearly $55,000 in developments. Cabins, foot-bridges, an observation tower, parking areas, an auditorium, and the restoration of an old log house as a museum made the park an excellent attraction for visitors. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the parks system continued to make major improvements. At present, park improvements continue to be made to keep the facility up-to-date for the comfort and enjoyment of its guests.

Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park is an excellent example of combining history and recreation. Visitors can hike on portions of the historic Wilderness Road and Boone Trace.

Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park


Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park is a state park located in the northwest corner of Perry County, Kentucky. Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park itself encompasses 856 acres, while Buckhorn Lake, a mountain reservoir lake which serves as its major feature and which was created by damming the Middle Fork of the Kentucky River, covers approximately 1,230 acres. Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park is adjacent to the northern edge of the Daniel Boone National Forest.

Buckhorn Lake, located south of Buckhorn, Kentucky, United States and northwest of Hazard, Kentucky off Kentucky Route 28, is a 1,230-acre reservoir created by the United States Army Corps of Engineers in 1967 by impounding the Kentucky River. 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.

4441 KY Highway 1833, Buckhorn, KY 41721

Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park Lodge

Surrounded by rolling, tree-covered hills, Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park Lodge overlooks the beautiful 1,200-acre lake. Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park Lodge has 36 rooms offering full amenities as well as two 2-bedroom cottages and three 3-bedroom cottages. Cottage check out by 10:00 am, local time. Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park Lodge is open year-round. Rooms are available by late afternoon. Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park Lodge room check-out by 11:00vam, local time. A limited number of lodge rooms will be available for pets.
  • Bowlingtown Country Kitchen at Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park Lodge
Bowlingtown Country Kitchen at Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park Lodge features a country style menu offering many hometown favorites. Seating is available for 220, including two private dining areas that accommodate 40 and 50 people respectively. As a supporter of Kentucky Proud program, Bowlingtown Country Kitchen at Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park Lodge utilizes locally grown food when available. Bowlingtown Country Kitchen at Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park Lodge is open daily from 11:30 am to 8:00 pm; Continental Breakfast - 7:00 am to 10:00 am.
  • Meetings at Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park Lodge
Copper-hooded fireplaces, a long verandah and wall-to-wall windows in the Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park Lodge meeting room bring the breathtaking beauty of nature indoors. The conference center is an extension of the lodge, with an additional smaller meeting room located just off the Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park Lodge lobby for break-outs or smaller functions.

Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park Amenities
  • Buckhorn Lake: Buckhorn Lake offers swimming, boating and canoeing. Water sports enthusiasts will find entertainment on Buckhorn Lake. The marina has 95 open slips, two launching ramps, rental pontoon boats, and small boats.
  • Trails: The self-guided Moonshiner's Hollow Interpretive Trail in Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park winds 1.5 miles past 18 learning stations that teach hikers about the geology, flora, and fauna of the area. More experienced hikers may prefer the more difficult Leatherwood Trail in Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park, which connects with the Moonshiner's Hollow Trail.
  • Accommodations: Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park offers a 36-room lodge and three cabins, all overlooking Buckhorn Lake.
Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park Activities
  • Basketball in Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park
Basketball goal is located on Marina Road. Sporting equipment may be checked out at the front desk.
  • Birding in Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park
Eagles nesting in the winter months can be spotted from the Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park Lodge lobby or dining room. Both the Leatherwood and Moonshine Hollow Trails in Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park are great opportunities to hear and see many Woodland Species. As spring arrives, so does the Warbler migration. You can also see water foul such as the Belted King Fisher, Red-Winged Black Bird and the Great Blue Heron in Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park.
  • Boating at Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park
Water sports enthusiasts will find entertainment on Buckhorn Lake. The marina has 95 open slips, two launching ramps, rental pontoon boats, and small boats. Open April - October.
  • Elk Watching in Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park
Check the Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park event calendar for tour dates. Enjoy dinner and a presentation the day before your scheduled tour. There will be a bagged breakfast on the day of the tour. Tour will be early in the morning and transportation is included in the package. Please come prepared for cold weather, wet and/or icy conditions, and expect to walk in muddy conditions.
  • Buckhorn Lake State Park Gift Shop
Located in the lobby of the beautiful Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park Lodge, overlooking Buckhorn Lake, are souvenir and Kentucky crafted items.
  • Hiking in Buckhorn Lake State Park
Hikers can explore the natural beauty and resources of Buckhorn Lake with a stroll along a 1.5 mile, self-guiding, easy walking trail in Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park.
  • Horseshoes in Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park
If you enjoy friendly competition, then Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park is the place for you. Horseshoe pits can be found at the playground area and lower shelter. Overnight guests may check out equipment at the front desk.
  • Miniature Golf at Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park
The challenging 9-hole miniature golf course at Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park provides a great opportunity for family fun! Open April 1 – October 31. Equipment may be checked out at the front desk.
  • Picnicking in Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park
Picnic areas can be found at various scenic locations across Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park. A covered Upper Shelter views the forest and mountains with tables, grill, and rest rooms. A covered Lower Shelter overlooks the lake with picnic tables, grill, and access to restrooms. Both are located on Picnic Area Lane in Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park. Contact Group Sales for rental information.
  • Playgrounds in Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park
The Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park playground offers a jungle gym, both infant and traditional swings, and a slide. Overlooks the lake and is close to the beach area in Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park.
  • Shuffleboard in Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park
A shuffleboard court is located near bath house at the beach in Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park. Overnight guests may check out equipment at the front desk.
  • Swimming at Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park
The Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park Lodge swimming pool is for the exclusive use of lodge and cottage guests. The Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park public beach has a bathhouse complex for visitor convenience. Swimming is seasonal. Beach is open Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park History

On June 28, 1938, under what has come to be known as the “Flood Control Acts of 1938,” Congress authorized the construction of a dam and reservoir about 43 miles above the mouth of the Middle Fork of the Kentucky River and about a half mile upstream from Buckhorn, Ky. The dam is 162 feet high, 1,020 feet long, and 842 wide at the maximum base. The reservoir located in both Leslie and Perry Counties covers 550 acres, and the seasonal pool is 1,230 acres.

The Kentucky State Parks Board approved the acceptance of Buckhorn Lake into the commonwealth’s parks system on January 18, 1961. Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park has some of the most dramatic and beautiful scenery in Kentucky. However, the seclusion of the park caused a great deal of difficulty in obtaining road access during the early 1960s. The Kentucky Department of Highways constructed a road over the mountain to Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park, but the stabilization of the road took two years before commercial traffic could utilize it. The park did not officially open until 1965.

Located in the northern portion of the Daniel Boone National Forest in the foothills of the Cumberland Plateau, Buckhorn Lake State Park has 856 acres of lush Kentucky mountain land. The name for the park and nearby town may have come from the discovery of a buck’s horn at a nearby saltlick. Another story recounts how Jerry Smith, the first white settler in the area, killed a four snag buck, thus giving the name to the community. The surrounding forest is filled with wildlife. Bluegill, large and smallmouth bass, catfish, crappie, and muskie abound in the lake’s waters.

By August 1964, Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park had a 24-room lodge, a beach, bathhouse, picnic facilities, and camping sites. On May 22, 1967, the Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration approved a project to further develop Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park. New lodge rooms, resort pool, boat slips, horseback riding trails, a pier, and miniature golf course were added to the Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park.