Beaver Creek Wilderness

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Beaver Creek Wilderness

View Guide with Map

Towering sandstone cliffs, natural arches and rippling streams are some of the special features that led to the designation of this 4,877-acre area as a wilderness in 1975. It is located on Stearns District of the Daniel Boone National Forest.

The wilderness provides visitors a place where they are free to explore nature's solitude and scenic beauty. No motorized or mechanized equipment is allowed.

The wilderness is remote and the terrain is rugged. Several trails occur throughout the area, but be prepared for strenuous hikes. Much of the area is nestled below spectacular sandstone cliffs. 

In keeping with the wilderness concept, signage is kept to a minimum. You should not expect trail signs or markers to guide you.

Primitive camping is permitted in the Beaver Creek Wilderness as long as you remain 300 feet away from any road or stream and out of site from any trail. 

Before becoming a wilderness, this area was settled as a small coal mining town during the early 1900s. Signs of the past remain visible with old roads, stone fencing, exotic shrubs and grave sites scattered throughout the area. Over time, nature is slowly erasing some of these signs that man left behind.

Note: Cell phone communications and emergency rescue services may be limited in the wilderness.

At a Glance

Fees None
Permit Info: A Special Use Permit is required for commercial activities (for example: fishing tournaments, boat rentals, trail rides, outfitter guides, races, etc). A permit is also required for all noncommercial group uses involving more than 75 people.
Open Season: Open All Year
Usage: Light
Trails are developed for hiking only. Motorized vehicles and equipment, such as all-terrain vehicles and chainsaws, are prohibited in Beaver Creek Wilderness. Mechanized equipment, such as bicycles and wheeled carts, are also prohibited.
  • PROHIBITED: Possessing horses or other livestock except on trails designated for such use or as specifically permitted through a special use permit. (Order 16-04-15)
  • PROHIBITED: Climbing, rappelling, or otherwise attempting to ascend or descend from cliffs, arches, or other rock formations in the Three Forks of Beaver Overlook (Order 16-05-15)
  • The following are prohibited: motorized or mechanized equipment, possessing or using a wagon, cart, bicycle or other vehicle, and entering or being in a designated Wilderness as part of a group of more than ten people. (Order DB-05-15)
  • Food Storage Restrictions are in effect to reduce odors that attract bears. In the backcountry, hang food and garbage at least 10 feet off the ground and 4 feet away from any tree or post used for suspension. (Order DB-02-15)
  • Alcohol use prohibited: Consumption of alcohol is prohibited on national forest land and Kentucky lakes and waterways. KRS 222.202; (Order DB-02-15)
  • No camping in rock shelters. Camping and campfires are prohibited within 100 feet from the base of any cliff or rock shelter. (Order DB-02-15)
  • Graffiti is prohibited. Do not chisel, carve or spray paint. Damaging, altering or defacing any archaeological resource or natural feature is prohibited under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 and 36 CFR 296.4 and 261.9.
  • Campfire must be DEAD OUT before leaving. (36 CFR 261.5) You will be held liable for suppression costs if your campfire starts a wildfire.
  • Prohibited: Possessing or operating a motor vehicle on roads, trails and areas not designated for that purpose on Motorized Vehicle Use Maps. 36 CFR 261.13.
  • Shortcutting a switchback on trails is prohibited. (DB-08-15)
  • PROHIBITED: Camping or maintaining a campsite for more than 14 consecutive days in a dispersed or non-fee area without having terminated Forest occupancy for a minimum of 10 days within a 31-day time frame (§261.58(a)); (Order DB-02-15)
Closest Towns: The northern part of the wilderness is closest to Somerset. The southern part of the wilderness is closest to Whitley City. 
Water: None
Restroom: None
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service
Information Center: Stearns Ranger District
3320 US 27 North
Whitley City, KY 42653 

General Information


The trails in the Beaver Creek Wilderness are not accessible. 


To Three Forks of Beaver Trailhead:
From Whitley City, take US 27 north 12.5 miles; turn right onto Bauer Road for 2.25 miles; turn left onto Forest Service Road 51 for .8 mile. The trailhead will be on your left.

From Somerset, take US 27 south for 13 miles; turn left onto Bauer Road for 2.25 miles; turn left onto Forest Service Road 51 for .8 mile. The trailhead will be on your left.  


Parking is available at Three Forks of Beaver Trailhead, Bowman Ridge Trailhead, Swain Ridge Trailhead and Middle Ridge Trailhead.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



Show detail SHOW