Department of Parks
Elk Viewing Tours Scheduled At Three Eastern Kentucky State Parks
FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky State Parks are offering elk viewing tours at three Eastern Kentucky resort parks this fall and winter – Jenny Wiley, Buckhorn Lake and Pine Mountain.
Guests can pick out a weekend, stay at a state park lodge or cottage and rise early to enjoy one of these unique tours. Participants should bring their cameras – there should be great photography opportunities. The largest elk herds are located on privately-owned lands that are normally closed to the public. This is one of the few opportunities available for the public to see the greatest number of elk.
The return of elk to the region is considered to be one of Kentucky’s biggest wildlife management success stories. The animals, after being gone from the state for 150 years, were returned in 1997. They now number 11,000.
“Elk viewing tours continue to be a very popular wildlife viewing experience,” said Carey Tichenor, the director of recreation and interpretation for parks. “Being able to experience viewing a herd of free roaming elk in the eastern forests, hearing the bugle of a bull elk in an early morning fog, gives you a glimpse into Kentucky's history."
Here’s a description of the elk tour programs offered at the three parks and tour dates:
Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Prestonsburg
Sept. 19, 20, 26, 27; Oct. 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25; Nov. 7, 11, 21, 28 and Dec. 5
In 2010: Jan. 16, 23, 24, 30; Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27; March 6, 13
The tour at Jenny Wiley is designed for any age group as the tours occur on vans on reclaimed surface mined areas. Tour price is $20 per adult and $10 for children under the age of 12 and are by reservation only. Tours depart at 6 a.m.
The tour season at Jenny Wiley will start Sept. 19 with Elk Night, when elk meat is served in the restaurant, along with other favorites.
Jenny Wiley State Resort Park has a lodge, cottages, campground, Music Highway Grill, hiking trails, disc golf, fishing, a summer theater and recreational activities.
For information and reservations, call Jenny Wiley State Resort Park at 1-800-325-0142.
Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park, Buckhorn
Sept. 19, 20, 26, 27, Oct. 17, 18, Nov. 14, 15, 21, 22, Dec. 12, 13
In 2010: Jan. 16, 17, 18, Jan. 30, 31, Feb. 20, 21, 27, 28, March 13, 14, 20, 21
Enjoy seeing these majestic animals during their rutting season in the fall. Morning tours leave the park at about 5:45 a.m. Package price of $150 per couple ($110 per single) includes one night’s lodging, dinner on night of arrival, bagged breakfast and transportation to and from the elk preserve the following morning. Stay the night before or after with package for an extra $45. The elk tour only is $30 a person. Special rates for children available. Call 1-800-325-0058 for reservations and information.
Buckhorn Lake has a lodge, cottages, Bowlingtown Country Kitchen, hiking trails, mini-golf and fishing.
Pine Mountain State Resort Park, Pineville
November 7, December 5
In 2010; Jan. 9, 16, 23, Feb. 6, 20, 27
With sightings averaging over 100 elk per trip, the tours have proven to be wildly popular at Pine Mountain. At Pine Mountain, there are three tour participation options:
Basic Tour - $20: The basic tour includes a Friday evening elk program, Saturday sunrise tour, and a continental breakfast.
Full Package Tour for one person - $107: The package includes Friday evening dinner, Friday evening elk program; Friday evening lodging, Saturday continental breakfast Saturday sunrise tour, and Saturday lunch for one person.
Full Package Tour for two people - $158: The package includes Friday evening dinner, Friday evening elk program; Friday evening lodging, Saturday continental breakfast Saturday sunrise tour, and Saturday lunch for two people.
The Saturday van tour leaves the park variably between 6 and 6:30 a.m. depending on the date, and usually returns to the park between 10-10:30 a.m. Walking distances are minimal.
Pine Mountain has a lodge, cottages, Mountain View Restaurant, hiking trails, golf course, interpretive center, mini-golf, naturalist programming and gift shop.
To make your reservation or for more information, call Pine Mountain State Resort Park at 800-325-1712.
Group tours are also available at these parks. Call the park for information. Visit www.parks.ky.gov for more information about Kentucky State Parks.