Kentucky Ornithological Society

Birding Locations – Eastern Kentucky

This page focuses on birding locations in the eastern part of the state. You can explore the websites related to these spots for more information.

  • Bad Branch Nature Preserve – Located on the north side of KY 932, 2.5 miles east of US 119.
  • Blanton Forest State Nature Preserve – In Harlan County, on the south face of Pine Mountain.
  • Breaks Interstate Park – On the Kentucky-Virginia border, the spectacular beauty of the park is showcased with 12 miles of hiking trails and four scenic overlooks. It is located 7 miles east of Elkhorn City, KY and 8 miles north of Haysi, VA on KY-VA 80,
  • Cumberland Gap National Historic Park – Located 50 miles southeast of Corbin on 25E.
  • Kentucky Ridge State Forest – In Bell County, Kentucky Ridge State Forest contains Pine Mountain State Park on Pine Mountain and is located on the south side of Pine Mountain and the north side of Log Mountain, encompassing Little Clear Creek Valley. The forest also contains Chenoa Lake, the Division of Forestry's Chenoa Service Center and Bell County Forestry Camp. To get there, take Exit 29 (Corbin - Barbourville) off of Interstate 75, travel south on U.S. 25 E to Pineville. Follow signs to Pine Mountain State Resort Park. The park adjoins Kentucky Ridge Forest on the northeastern portions. The forest is bisected by Highway 190 when traveling west of Pineville to Chenoa.
  • Kentenia State Forest – In Harlan County, this state forest is located along the south side of Pine Mountain in seven scattered tracts totaling 3,624 acres. To get there, from Harlan travel north on U.S. 421 to the crest of Pine Mountain, then travel along Little Shepherd Trail past the Harlan County Boys Camp. Along this stretch from the boys camp to Laden Trail, Little Shepherd Trail bisects the upper portions of the largest and most accessible portion of the forest.
  • Minor E. Clark Fish Hatchery – Below the Cave Run Lake dam, this location can be reached from I-64 near Morehead. Take exit 133 to KY 801. Go 3.2 miles south to US 60, then go 0.1 mile to KY 801 and turn south. It's 1.5 miles to the hatchery.
  • Pilot Knob State Nature Preserve – Located in Powell County. From the junction of the Mountain Parkway and KY 15 at Clay City, follow KY 15 north for 2.7 miles. Turn right on Brush Creek Road for 1.5 miles to gravel parking area.
  • Red River Gorge – Includes the Clifty Wilderness. From Lexington, take I-64 east to Exit 98 (Bert T. Combs Mtn. Parkway, #402); take the parkway to Exit 33 (Slade Exit); then turn left at the junction of KY 11/KY 15. Go 1.5 miles west on KY 15 to KY 77, and follow the signs.
  • Shillialah Creek WMA – Located in Bell and Harlan counties along Brush Mountain, north of Cumberland Gap National Historic Park. From Pineville, take US 119 North approximately 10 miles to Hwy 987, then south to Cubage to Mill Branch-Hensley Flats Rd. Also see the Kentucky Tourism website for Shillialah Creek WMA.