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Attention: Burn Bans may be in effect. Please contact the Park for details on restrictions.


Status: Open through Sun Nov 01 2015
Max reservation window: Fri Jul 29 2016
60 site(s) found


The scientific community recognizes the site of Big Bone Lick State Historic Site as the "Birthplace of American Vertebrate Paleontology." The fossilized remains of giant mastodons, wooly mammoths, and ground sloths were discovered here in 1739 and displayed 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. According to paleontologists, during the Pleistocene Epoch, when ice covered much of North America, prehistoric animals were attracted to the warm salt springs that still bubble from the earth at Big Bone Lick State Historic Site. They became trapped in the salty marsh and perished, leaving skeletons and clues about life in prehistoric Kentucky. Come visit the museum and the Discovery Trail to learn this history for yourself, and appreciate the present by enjoying the park's many outdoor activities.


Big Bone Lick State Historic Site is located in Boone County. It was designated as an official Lewis and Clark Heritage Trail Site by the National Park Service in 2002.


Learn the history of Big Bone Lick in the museum, with displays of fossilized bones and artifacts from the last 18,000 years. The disabled-accessible Discovery Trail, part of the Outdoor Museum, gives visitors a glimpse of the drama that unfolded at the springs in pre-history. 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 Bison Trace brings a live buffalo herd, the park's effort to reestablish the American bison, into view. For anglers, the 7.5-acre lake contains largemouth bass, bluegill, and catfish for bank fishing. Other popular activities include picnicking, swimming, hiking, tennis, volleyball, basketball, softball, and horseshoes. A recreation staff conducts activities Memorial Day through Labor Day, and the annual Salt Festival is one of the most popular events in the area.


A gift shop adjoins the museum area and features Kentucky handcrafts and souvenirs of all types. The spacious campground features 62 campsites with utility hookups, grills, and a playground. Showers, restrooms, and laundry facilities are available at a central service building. There is also a basic camp supply store on-site. 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 electricity and may be reserved for rental.

Nearby Attractions:

There are many attractions within a half hour of Big Bone: The Cincinnati Museum Center, the Cincinnati Art Museum, Newport Aquarium, Devou Park, Boone County Arboretum, Paul Brown Stadium, the All American Ballpark, Florence Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Florence Mall, and the Florence Freedom Ballpark.

Services & Amenities:

Within Facility
  • 18 Hole Miniature Golf
  • Bathhouse
  • Bird Watching
  • Campground Host
  • Camping, Improved Site
  • Convenience Store
  • Dump Station camper
  • Field Sports/Activities
  • Fire Rings
  • First Aid Supplies
  • Fishing Lake
  • Grills
  • Hiking
  • Historic Sites
  • Historic Structure/Feature
  • Horseshoe Pits
  • Horseshoes
  • Information/Contact Station
  • Interpretive Center
  • Interpretive Display
  • Jogging/Running
  • Laundry
  • Museum
  • Nature Study
  • Newspapers
  • Officer/Ranger Station
  • Park Lake (Fishing Only)
  • Parking
  • Pay Telephone
  • Photography
  • Picnic Area
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Picnic Tables
  • Picnicking
  • Playground
  • Programs, Archeology
  • Programs, History
  • Programs, Instructional
  • Programs, Nature
  • Programs, Recreational
  • Recreation Programs
  • Restrooms
  • Retail, Bait & Tackle
  • Retail, Firewood
  • Retail, Ice
  • Retail, Snacks
  • Retail, Store/Gift Shop
  • Retail, Supplies
  • River/Stream
  • Seasonal Festivals
  • Shelters
  • Showers
  • Stargazing
  • Sunbathing
  • Swimming - Pool
  • Walking
  • Water Access, Park Lane
  • Water Drinking
  • Wildflower Viewing
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • ball field
  • interpretive trail
Within 10 Miles
  • ATM/ Cash Machine
  • Boat Ramp
  • Boating
  • Boating, Power
  • Botanical Garden
  • Camping, Primitive
  • Canoe Rental
  • Canoeing
  • Churches
  • Dining
  • Dock, Boat
  • Docks, Fishing/Crabbing
  • Driftwood Collecting
  • Emergency Services
  • Fishing
  • Fuel, Boats
  • Geological Formations
  • Golf
  • Golfing
  • Kayaking
  • Maintenance, Rv/Camper
  • Marina
  • Paddle Boating
  • Rentals, Boat, Jon (paddle)
  • Rentals,Boat,Canoe
  • Restaurant
  • Retail, Drinks
  • Town
  • Water Access, River/Stream
Greater Than 10 Miles
  • Airport
  • Antiquing
  • Aquarium Display
  • Arboretum
  • Art & Museum
  • Cabins
  • Car Rental
  • Catering
  • Cottages
  • Cultural Activities
  • Cultural Sites/Exhibits
  • Fuel, Vehicles
  • Gardens, Botanical Displ
  • Hospital
  • Kennel
  • Lodging goroup facilities
  • Lodging, Cabins
  • Maintenance, vehicle
  • Mall
  • Medical Clinic
  • Meeting Space
  • Motel
  • Orchard/Produce Farm
  • Propane
  • Scenic driving routes
  • Shopping
  • Sightseeing
  • Theme Park
Alerts and Important Information

Please note:

  • The maximum reservation window is 12 months in advance to the date.
  • New Inventory is made available when the call center opens.
  • There is a 1 night minimum stay during the week at all parks.
  • There is a 2 night minimum stay on peak season weekends at all parks with the exception of the Kentucky Horse Park.
  • The minimum stay on peak season weekends at the Kentucky Horse Park is 1 night.
  • Customers may arrive on a Friday or Saturday and stay a minimum of two nights.
  • Customer service is authorized to fill in any empty spaces caused by the 2-night weekend stay rule.
  • Please note the following:

  • Longer minimum night stays are required at most campgrounds during holiday periods.
  • Parks prohibits the importation firewood by campers from any state outside of Kentucky. This is in an effort to help prevent the introduction of the Emerald Ash Borer into the state. Firewood is available for sale in the state park campgrounds.Click on the link for more details: http://parks.ky.gov/regulations/firewood.htm
  • Please note that the Kentucky Department of Parks permits the use of non-licensed vehicles in campgrounds, including golf carts, only by those individuals with a disability. This policy will be enforced for the safety of all guests.
  • Kentucky Campground sites can be occupied by a maximum of 8 occupants. Four (4) adults and children 16 and under are included in the base rate. Each additional adult is $5.00 per night will be collected upon arrival at the park.
  • Getting There:

    GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
    38.88361, -84.74722
    38°53'1"N, 84°44'50"W

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

    Contact Information:

    Mailing Address:

    3380 Beaver Road
    Union  KY  41091

    Phone Number:

    Information:  (859)384-3522
    Campground Information: (859)-384-3495