Elk And Bison Prairie


The Elk & Bison Prairie at Land Between The Lakes offers a native grassland habitat common in Kentucky more than a century ago. Elk and bison roam free within this 700-acre enclosure. Visitors travel in their enclosed vehicle via a 3.5-mile paved loop road. Numerous other wildlife species also thrive in the prairie. Wild turkeys, a variety of birds, small game, butterflies, and prairie mammals find sanctuary in the Elk & Bison Prairie.


Spring is a amazing time at the Elk and Bison prairie! The Elk and bison shed their winter coats. They use trees, stumps, or rocks to help the shedding process. During May the first bison calves are born. Bison calves will stay close to their mothers. Elk calves are born in late May or June. Elk keep their newborn calves hidden in vegetation until the young are strong enough to keep up with the herd.


It’s prime growing season for grasses, flowers, and babies in the prairie. During the hottest days, both elk and bison seek relief by finding shade trees or taking a dip in a pond. You’ll find these large animals to be most active between sunrise and sunset. If you are visiting during summer, you might want to visit the prairie just after sunrise and right before sunset. Take caution when in the presence of bison during breeding season from July to September. Bulls can be especially aggressive at this time.


In early autumn you may see prairie wildflowers in bloom—purple blazing stars, partridge peas, and butterfly milkweeds. Autumn is also a busy time for prairie wildlife. In September and October elk begin “bugling”—their mating call. Elk also rub the velvet from their antlers to prepare for mating season. Watch for trees that have been rubbed bare of bark; a sign that an animal polished its antlers.


The bare landscape of winter heightens wildlife viewing opportunities in the ELk and Bison Prairie. Elk and bison will have their full winter coats by December. Elk will browse on dried grasses, twigs, bark, and mast (acorns). Bison will eat grass through the winter months and throughout the day when it’s cold.

Open Daily All Year, Dawn Till Dusk

Admission: $5 per Automobile
Vehicles must be enclosed; pedestrians, motorcycles, bicycles, etc. are not allowed for safety reasons.

Purchase one-time entry at the cash/credit machine at the Elk and Bison Prairie entrance. Purchase one-time entry cards or discounted bulk entry cards at Golden Pond Visitor Center, Welcome Stations, or any day-use facility. (3 entry cards – $10, 5 entry cards – $15, Buses/Commercial Vans – $.50 per passenger)

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