Kentucky Ornithological Society

Birding Locations – I-75 Corridor

This page focuses on birding locations along the I-75 corridor, which is near both the eastern and central sections of Kentucky. These locations are accessible from the interstate highway more quickly than some others. You can explore the websites related to these spots for more information.

  • Ano Strip MinesNote: To find the content about Ano Strip Mines in this website, scroll down to the heading for the Stearns Ranger District.
    Located in Pulaski County, within the Stearns Ranger District of Daniel Boone National Forest, this location offers good grassland birding. Take Rt. 80 east from Somerset about six to eight miles and begin looking for the Shopville School on the left (north); from the school, continue east on Rt. 80 about 3.2 miles and take Rt. 1675 on the right. Go one block to a stop sign and turn left onto Rt. 1675; go 3.8 miles and make a sharp right, staying on Rt. 1675; go another mile and take Acorn Ano Rd. to the left; go 3.2 miles to Bolthouse Ridge Rd. on the right and follow it to the old strip mine area, which includes a short spur to an old cemetery and a trailhead for some trails through the grassland. Henslow's and Grasshopper sparrows breed in this area.
  • Bee Rock Campground Trails – Located in southeastern Pulaski County, this campground lies on the border with Tennesee. The website provides links to trails mentioned below. From Somerset at the jct. of Rt. 27 and Bypass 80 (light # 3), go east on Bypass 80 approximately 3 miles; turn right (south) on Bypass 914 and go to the first light in approximately 0.3 miles; turn left (east) on Rt. 192 and continue on Rt. 192 approximately 18 miles; turn left just before crossing the Rockcastle River to trails # 529 and # 503. Watch on the left for trail # 529 on the way in; it goes up to an overlook and is 2.2 miles long. To get to trail # 503, continue through the campground and park in the parking area at the end of the road; this trail runs along the river, then goes uphill, crosses Close Road, and intersects with trail # 529, which you can take back down to the main road and then go left back to the parking area for a distance of 6+ miles. Along the road before the campground watch for Prothonotary Warblers along the river, listen for Swainson's and Cerulean warblers along the river on trail # 503, and look for Blue-headed Vireos up on top along trail # 529. Grouse are possible anywhere. Going back west on Hwy. 192, watch on the right for Close Road; it's also within the DBNF and is a good road to bird
  • Berea College Forest – An easy drive from exit 75 on I-75 (the southern Berea exit). Just take Route 21 East for about 5 miles to Indian Fort Theatre's parking lot which will be on the left.
  • Boone Cliffs and Dinsmore Woods State Nature Preserves – From I-75, take exit #181 west 5 miles to Burlington. Continue on KY 18 for 6 miles, where Middle Creek Road intersects from the left. Turn left and proceed for 1.9 miles to the parking area for Boone Cliffs. Dinsmore Woods is at 5700 Burlington Pike, Burkington KY, 41005.
  • Fishing Creek Recreation Area – This Army Corps of Engineers site is located on an arm of Lake Cumberland in Pulaski County. To get to Fishing Creek from the intersection of Rt. 27 and Business Rt. 80 (light # 4 in Somerset), go west on Rt. 80 about 2.8 miles to Rt. 1248 on the right (a Shell station is at this corner); take Rt. 1248 about 1.6 miles to the end of the road. Scan the lake from this point for divers and other waterbirds. If you have a boat, the mudflats back up the creek to the right about 0.5 mi are good for shorebirds when the lake has been drawn down to winter-pool level; the draw-down usually starts in September.
    Thanks to Steve Stedman for these directions.
  • John B. Stephenson Memorial Forest State Nature Preserve Note: Access to this site is currently by appointment only.
    A 123-acre wooded gorge with two waterfalls in Rockcastle County. From Exit 76 on I-75, go east 3.5 miles on KY 21 through Berea, at the Boone Tavern bear right (staying on KY 21) and travel another 5 miles. Turn right (south) on to US 421 and travel 2.6 miles. Turn right on Burnt Ridge Road and travel 0.2 miles, then left on Himanns Fork Road and travel 3.4 miles. Look for a red brick house on the right (box 530); approximately one-tenth of a mile past the house make a sharp left turn down a steep hill on to Anglin Falls Road. Travel 0.9 miles on Anglin Falls Road to a sign that says "Anglin Falls" next to a mailbox marked "542 R2". Turn left and travel 0.2 miles to the parking area/trail head.
  • Big Bone Lick State Historic Site – Near Union in northern Kentucky. 3380 Beaver Road, Union, KY 41091
  • Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park – Near Carlisle in northern Kentucky. 10299 Maysville Rd., Carlisle, KY 40311
  • Cumberland Falls State Resort Park – Near Corbin in south-central Kentucky. 7351 Highway 90 Corbin, KY 40701
  • Natural Bridge State Resort Park – Near Slade in eastern Kentucky. 2135 Natural Bridge Rd. Slade, KY 40376
  • Mehldahl and Markland Dams on the Ohio River – To get to the Mehldahl Dam, take Kentucky 9 (the AA Highway) south from I-275. Shortly after entering Bracken County, turn left onto KY 2228, then right onto KY 8. After about two miles, watch for the very poorly marked turn to the dam, on the left. To get to Markland Dam, from I-71 take Exit 57 to KY 35 (this is the Kentucky Speedway exit). Go north on KY 35 to Warsaw, KY (about 5 miles) and continue until you come to the stop light in Warsaw. Then turn left onto KY 42 and continue south on KY 42 to the Markland Dam (approximately 5 miles).
  • Owsley Fork Reservoir east of Berea - From I-75, take exit 76 and go 9 miles east (and past the Berea College Forest) on KY 21. A gravel parking area is located next to the reservoir.
  • Quiet Trails State Nature Preserve – Located in Harrison County. From Cynthiana, take U.S. 27 north approximately 10 miles. Turn right onto KY 1284, which leads into Sunrise. Continue on Pugh's Ferry Road after crossing the four-way intersection. The preserve is located on the right, 1.8 miles from the intersection.
  • Raven Run Nature Sanctuary – Located in Fayette County. From I-75, take exit 99 (Old Richmond Road), turn left onto Old Richmond Road (U.S. 25) and continue about 4.8 miles. Then turn left onto Jacks Creek Road. Raven Run is 5.2 miles down Jacks Creek Road, on the left.
  • Sally Brown Nature Preserve – Located in Garrard County. See website for directions.