Elk and Bison Prairie

0.8 miles north of the Visitor Center (the Trace)  |  Every Day, Dusk til Dawn   |  (270) 924-2000 

Tell Your Friends About The Elk & Bison at LBL!

The Elk & Bison Prairie Loop,

Check it out:

  • Drive the 3.5 mile loop as many times as you like
  • Explore these 700 acres 365 days a year, dusk ’til dawn
  • 5 dollars, a telephoto lens, and some patience can get you your very own NatGeo-wannabe shot!

Download the General Map of LBLDownload the Land Between the Lakes Area Map

Be A National Geographic Photographer For The Day…

…or at least you can pretend you’ve been assigned to grab that next compelling cover shot… AND even feel it’s safe enough to take the assignment with your family by your side.

Bison on LBL Prairie

For a family outdoor experience like no other, head over to Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area’s Elk and Bison Prairie. Here, a 3.5-mile automobile loop takes you through the 700-acre home of two species of animals once native to Kentucky: the majestic elk and huge bison.

Open 365 days a year, the Elk and Bison Prairie gives you the chance to not only view these magnificent animals from the safety of your vehicle, but also the opportunity to experience the mixed grassland and woods that once covered this part of Kentucky.

Through years of work in planting and cultivating native grasses, wildflowers, and other flora, the Prairie has become a great example of land conservation.

To go with that, both the elk and bison herds have been used to help repopulate these species into areas like the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina, and reintroduce these animals into environments where they once roamed.

Can You Spot The Youngens?

In Spring, the prairie is a burst of color as wildflowers accentuate the returning green of grasses and leaves. From May through June, the bison and elk calves are born, giving visitors the opportunity to photograph these young animals.

Look for bison calves near their mothers.

Elk calves stay hidden in the underbrush and it takes a keen eye to see the youngest of these.

Throughout Summer, you’ll find that most of the animals here are more active around sunrise and sunset, so time your visit to match their schedule for the best chance at seeing them.

Open Even When Things Cool Down

Fall brings a return of color to the prairie as the leaves begin to change and the last of the wildflowers begin their bloom. This is also mating season for the elk and you may hear the males “bugling”—calling out challenges and territorial claims to other males.

In Winter, the trees may be bare and the grass dormant, but the elk and bison are active. You’ll see them foraging for food and enduring the cold in their thick winter coats throughout the Prairie.

Remember to bring binoculars and a telephoto lens for your camera when you visit as you must maintain a safe distance between you and the wildlife. 

Elk and Bison Prairie

0.8 miles north of the Visitor Center (the Trace)  |  Every Day, Dusk til Dawn   |  (270) 924-2000