The best time to bird watch is in May and June when the woodland warblers (and other neotropical birds) return and are most vocal and active. The Fall migration is also good, in late September. Winter bird watching at the park can be fun because many of the leaves have dropped, making it easier to view various species of woodpeckers, kinglets, nuthatches, wrens, and sparrows. Year-round residents inlcude northern cardinal, American goldfinch, indigo bunting, song sparrow, belted kingfisher, American crow, great blue heron, wild turkey, pileated woodpecker, Carolina chickadee, tufted titmouse, white-breasted nuthatch, and Carolina wren.
Best places to spot our feathered friends: Hood’s Branch Trail, Rock Garden Trail, Whittleton Branch Trail, Lakeside Trail, Mill Creek Lake, Picnic Shelter 3 & 4 area.
Enjoy the great outdoors in a park campsite. Two campgrounds, Whittleton Campground and Middle Fork Campground, provide 87 sites with utilities. Tent campsites are also available. Dump stations and two central service buildings with restrooms and showers are furnished for your convenience. Closed Nov 15 - Mar 15.
Canoes are available for rental Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Mill Creek Lake is a small peaceful lake surrounded by beautiful forest and towering sandstone cliffs. Bass, bluegill, black crappie, longear sunfish, green sunfish, rainbow trout, channel catfish and black bullhead are found here. The lake is also perfect for paddling canoes and kayaks and a launch ramp is available for fishing boats (only electric trolling motors may be operated).
A Kentucky Fishing License is required. Click here to purchase a license online at KY Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Don't have a fishing pole? No problem! Ask at the park about their fishing loaner program where you can check out FREE equipment.
Plan your fishing trip and improve your success with the KY Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources fishing forecast. Click here to view.
Click here for a map of Mill Creek Lake.
Special fishing regulations for Mill Creek Lake include:
Large Mouth Bass – 15” minimum size limit, 3 fish daily creel
No trotlines, jug lines, or limb lines
Use of shad as bait is prohibited
For the perfect memento of your visit, browse the lodge gift shop featuring a large selection of Kentucky handcrafts and souvenirs.
The ten hiking trails range from one-half mile to seven-and-one-half miles. Trail maps are available at the Hemlock Lodge.
Due to it's Nature Preserve status, dogs are not allowed on hiking trails on this park. However, the Whittleton Trail (managed by the U.S. Forest Service) is pet friendly and can be accessed via the Park’s Whittleton Campground.
Kayak rentals available Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Test your putting skills on the 18-hole miniature golf course. Open weekends, Memorial Day through October. Fee charged per round.
The watercraft rental dock is a short walk away from the pool complex, along a newly landscaped path. Pedal Boats are available for rental. Explore up and down Hoedown Island Lake.
Weekends, Memorial Day-Labor Day
Four picnic shelters with rest rooms, tables, grills, and a playground are located throughout the park. Shelters available for rental up to one year in advance.
Fee charged for shelter rental.
For a more relaxing climb to natural bridge, enjoy a ride on the sky lift. The ascent begins one-half mile from the park entrance and ends within 600 feet of Natural Bridge. Open daily first weekend of April through the last weekend in October. Fee charged.
The pool complex is tucked between the lake and the cliff beneath Hemlock Lodge. The complex includes a spacious stone bathhouse, and a zero-depth (one can enter pool without steps) pool that holds 80,000 gallons of water. The main pool has a "river" theme with directional water jets and floor bubblers. Next to the main pool is a new fenced wading pool with floor bubbles and fountain.
General public: $4 per adult, $3 per child daily.
FREE to lodge and cottage guests.