'Cardinal' ©
upload your photos

USA Parks
River Region Region
Big Bone Lick State Park
3380 Beaver Road
Union, Kentucky   41091-9627

Phone: 859-384-3522
Reservations: 859-384-3522
During the Pleistocene Epoch, over 15-thousand years ago, a huge ice sheet covered the ground all the way from Canada down to the Ohio River. On the edges of this ice sheet, great herds of giant mastodons, wooly mammoths and ground sloths were attracted to the warm salt springs that still bubble from the earth at Big Bone Lick State Park.

The salty marsh that attracted these prehistoric visitors sometimes proved to be a fatal attraction. Animals became trapped and perished in what the early pioneers called "jelly ground," leaving skeletons and interesting clues about life in prehistoric Kentucky.

The fossilized remains of these prehistoric animals were discovered in 1739 and displayed extensively at museums throughout the world. Notable Americans such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin personally examined the fossils, many of which are on display today at Big Bone Lick Museum. The scientific community recognizes the site as the "Birthplace of American Vertebrate Paleontology."
 Hiking Trailyes
 Swimming Beachyes
CampingWater/Electric Sitesyes
Spacious campground features 62 campsites with utility hookups, grills, a swimming pool and playground. Showers, rest rooms, and laundry facilities are available at a central service building. Campground grocery on-site.

Pets are allowed if restrained. Campground open Year-Round. Campground grocery open April 1-October 31.
Accommodation Availability Calendars
Places To Find Supplies
Sweet Mornings Donut Shop - Liberty, INBakery
We offer the following donuts and muffins made fresh daily in our shop Glazed donuts,Twists,Plain and Chocolate Cake ,Apple Fritters,Honey Buns,Blueberry,Sour Creme,Donut Holes,Bars,Yeast rings,Tiger Tails,Filled Donuts,Berry Blast Muffin,Sin-A-Muffin.
52.4 miles from park*

Get directions
to this park:

by Town and state
by zip code

Nearby Parks

Nearly 40 acres of picnic grounds with tables, grills and a playground are ideal for family outings. The two picnic shelters have tables, grills, water and electric, and may be reserved for rental up to one year in advance.
Area Attractions
Gift ShopA gift shop adjoins the museum and features Kentucky handcrafts and souvenirs of all types. The gift shop will be closed February and March.

Learn the history of Big Bone Lick in our brand new museum with displays of fossilized bones and artifacts from the last 18,000 years. Open year round.

Outdoor Museum - Discovery TrailThe new Discovery Trail addition to the Outdoor Museum at Big Bone Lick gives visitors a glimpse of the drama that unfolded at the springs in pre-history.

Recreated grasslands, wetlands and wooded savannas lie along the trail leading to a "bog" diorama. Shown going into or struggling inside the marsh bog are a woolly mammoth, a mastodon, a giant sloth, bison, various skeletal remains, and scavengers feeding on the carcasses. Visitors approach the diorama on a boardwalk that rises above the floor of the marsh, enabling them to "look history in the eye." An amphiteater upslope from the diorama can be used as an outdoor classroom. The diorama and the Discovery Trail are sited to provide the physically challenged visitors with the opportunity to experience the varied grassland, wetland and savanna environments and the bog diorama.

The outdoor museum continues for a mile past the entrance to the Discovery trail. The paved Big Bone Creek Trail wanders through the original swampland, now growing wild with brush and flowers, and the last remaining salt-sulphur spring. The final portion of the loop, the Bison Trace, brings a live buffalo herd into view. Year-round.

Buffalo Herd: The American buffalo, or bison, is the largest of all North American land mammals. Great buffalo herds once roamed this area and provided food, clothing and shelter for the Indians and pioneers. Hunted to near extinction, the last wild buffalo was seen in Kentucky around 1800. The park's herd is an effort to reestablish these animals at Big Bone Lick.
Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
August 18 get together by Terri F.
we had a family get together on Aug. 18th. we had a blast and plan on getting together again before the coldness comes. Its a great park, family friendly and pet friendly. love it , love it, love it.
May 8 Awesome by colo
Great state park
January 2 Birthplace of Paleontology by StealthHunter
Now...what I am wondering is why are there ball fields, tennis courts, and picnic tables at what is supposed to be a treasure trove of natural history and archaeology???
November 1 a favorite for years! by Brittany
I have camped, fished, visited and hiked here for years, all around love it and my kids love visiting the park as well! Not once have a had a bad or undesirable experience here.
October 29 Do not feed the lizards. by Jim Cobia
this is a great place, hikeing ,camping,fishing,been going here since1979 field trips frm school were awsome.
August 13 Thomas Family Reunion by Lisa
I am 45 years old and ever since I was a baby myfamily has been having our annual family reunions here.Its a wonderful park.I love the museum as well as my kids and now grandkids do !!! I highly recommend going for a visit .
March 1 a beautiful place
Such a great park!
January 12 Friendly campers and great time by Tim
We stayed there for a week in April 09 when I was sent to Erlanger for training. I decided to take the wife and my 5th wheel and take advantage of the opportunity to camp on the company dime! What a great park. Bring plenty of leveling blocks however since very few of the sights are actually level and many require quite a bit of leveling. The steps to my RV ended up over a foot and a half off the ground.Nice trails and scenerey. Need to turn the buffalo loose form the small pens!
July 26 My Favorite Park by #1 big bone camper
I love this park, i camp here like everyother weekend. i really like the hikes, good wildlife (deer, rabits, owls) lots of fun!
June 2 Great place to see wildlife!
I went for a feild trip and I had an amazing time!We ate lunch in a feild with lots of deer,rabbits and birds.It was great we went on a river walk we even got to throw a spear!It is the best place ever!!!!!
April 11 Terrible Easter Egg Hunt by Rose
A very uncoordinated event! I will never attend that or anything to do with any event at this park again! I came home with one hurt child, one traumatized, and one upset! NEVER again!
February 20 Origin of name
Big bones, big salt lick...
January 10 Its a real place LOL
wow where does the name originate from
November 15 Awsome park.
A great park to take your family. Although its located way up north in Kentucky its worth the drive. If not for the park go there just because the name sounds so funny, thats why i did.
July 6 Our First Real Camping Trip by Firt time tent campers
This was a very clean and well kept camp ground. The host (The Pratts) were very helpful and nice. There is a lot to do for kids of all ages and the fishing was great also.
May 20 by john newman
very clean , family friendly. Our favorite park to go to. The Pratts are terrific host!!!!
April 27
April 21 all around great
it has the best fishing around, and its no wait just go right to the water. the people are very friendly and its a great place for food.

Area Resources
Crawford County Tourism Bureau - Leavenworth, INTourism
Crawford County consists of over 306 square miles of beauty and outdoor recreation Caves, state parks, rugged terrain, acres of protected forests, nature preserves, and numerous waterways
Web Site:
87.5 miles from park*
Share Your
Big Bone Lick State Park
(click here)
Weather Forecast, (41091)

The park is located 22 miles southwest of Covington on KY 338, off US 42 - 127 and I-71 / I-75. Here is an area map.

USA Parks
River Region Region
Big Bone Lick State Park
© 2014