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Home 9 Lilley Cornett Woods Appalachian Ecological Research Station

Lilley Cornett Woods Appalachian Ecological Research Station

LCW hike

Located in Letcher County in the southeastern corner of Kentucky, Lilley Cornett Woods (LCW) encompasses 554 acres of mixed mesophytic forest. A portion of the total acreage, 252 acres, is designated as “old-growth” forest; a forest which has not undergone any manmade changes in 150 years.

Biodiversity of plants and animals abound at LCW. There are over 530 species of flowering plants and an estimated 700 breeding pairs of birds present. In addition, a variety of small mammals, amphibians and reptiles call Lilley Cornett Woods home.

Due to the unique nature of LCW, it is an ideal location for ecological and environmental research. Currently, over sixty peer-reviewed publications have resulted from research at LCW, including climate change, Appalachian ecology, hydrological investigation, archeological assessments of rock shelters, and many others. One of the most important investigations has been the decadal forest composition research which has taken place over the past 50 years. In order to conduct research at LCW, a proposal must be submitted in writing prior to conducting the research. The Division of Natural Areas’ research protocol can be located on our Research in the Natural Areas page.

LCW is a U.S. Department of the Interior registered national landmark and a registered natural area of the Society of American Foresters. Also, LCW is a preserve; as such the following are prohibited:

  • Hunting
  • Pets
  • Collecting of plants, animals, or artifacts

Visitor Information

Visitor Center Hours

April 1 – October 31: Open daily: 8:30 am – 5 pm

November 1 – March 31:  by appointment only

Trail Information

Public access to Lilley Cornett Woods’ two designated trails is by guided tours only. Hikers may choose between the 2 hour guided tour and the 4 hour guided tour. Tours are not regularly scheduled, but are available during Visitor Center hours on a first come, first serve basis. Calling ahead to schedule a tour is recommended. For groups and classes, contact the manager in advanced to schedule a tour.

For a map and Liability Waiver, please follow links under Housing Information. Please have signed and dated liability waiver when you arrive.

Research and Teaching Facilities

We recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation to construct a 1700 sq ft Research and Learning Center. The facility has a classroom/dry laboratory and a wet laboratory with support space for each, and is available for classes, meetings, and research.

Housing Information

Housing is available on a year-round basis for researchers and educators. We have housing for 10 in our newly constructed “bunkhouse” and for 12 in the historic Ledford-Craig house, which is located just down the road from the Visitor’s Center. Below is the complete list of fees and housing policies, as well as frequently asked questions. For further information, contact EKU’s Division of Natural Areas: 859-622-1476.

Contact Information

Curtis Cox, Manager
Lilley Cornett Woods
91 Lilley Cornett Branch
Hallie, Kentucky 41821

Natural Areas

521 Lancaster Ave
3106 New Science Building
Richmond, KY 40475
Phone: 859-622-1476
Fax: 859-622-8068

Connect with Natural Areas @ EKU