Spring is a lovely time to stay at a Kentucky state park lodge, particularly since several have sweet package deals. One park, Buckhorn Lake is a 856 acre beauty in Daniel Boone National Forest, and has been one of my favorites for years. My mother hails from this part of southeastern Kentucky where redbud trees show off their glorious pink flowers in celebration when winter has headed out for another year. Both pink and white Dogwood trees add to the color symphony.
Buckhorn Lake State Park, typical to many of Kentucky’s state parks, has a lodge built from a mix of wood and Bedford sandstone. Each of the lodge’s 36 guest rooms has a balcony or a patio, and several have a view of the lake. Each room’s decor is homey and tasteful with warm wood-toned paneling that evokes the feel of a mountain retreat.
Although rooms do have TVs, take advantage of the lodge’s location–in the midst of the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains. Hiking trails start near the lodge. There are two–Leatherwood Trail, .5 miles and Moonshine Trail, 1 mile.
During March, for a bit of outdoor adventure, go on one of the park’s elk viewing tours. Elk, native to Kentucky have been reintroduced to several counties in southeastern Kentucky. Tours to see the elk leave at 6 am and return by 10:30. Tours start again in the fall and go through the winter.
I haven’t been on an elk viewing tour at Buckhorn, but I have been on a pontoon boat ride on the lake. The boating facilities open April 1.
Along with boating, the lake offers fishing. Early spring is the best time to catch crappie and muskellunge. There is also a small beach with a swimming area when the weather is warmer. In the summer, Buckhorn Lake lodge’s pool is a lovely place to spend time.
In the spring, look for warblers. This is the time of the Warbler migration. Other birds to look for are the Belted King Fisher, Red-Winged Black Bird and the Great Blue Heron.
Miniature golf, shuffleboard, and horseshoes are other recreation options, and if you come from Memorial Day to September 1st, daily organized activities like Bingo games and wildflower walks are on the lodge’s things-to-do menu. I won a park mug in a Bingo game. If I won, so can you. There is also a basketball court.
Year-round, the lodge’s restaurant, Bowlingtown Country Kitchen serves up hometown style food. I am a huge fan of soup beans and corn bread. Country ham, turkey dressing, green beans and fried apples are menu favorites. Many menu items are made with Kentucky Proud, locally grown meats and produce.
The lodge also has a lovely gift shop with several locally made craft items and books about the area.
Along with the lodge there are four cottages; Two are two bedroom and two are three bedroom. Cooking utensils, tableware and linens are provided. My brother-in-law and his family, who are from this part of Kentucky, have stayed in a cottage as a family summer tradition for years.
The park is located 25 miles northwest of Hazard, Kentucky.
The spring package deal is good through April 30. The room rate of $49.95 for families includes a continental breakfast. A cottage package is $89.95 per night. Some rooms are pet-friendly.
Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park
4441 Ky Hwy. 1833
Buckhorn, KY 41721
Phone: 606/398-7510 or 800/325-0058 for reservations. You can also reserve rooms on the park website.
Lodge photos courtesy of Buckhorn Lake State Park Resort