Southern Region Viewing Area
LOCATION and PHOTOS
Virginia spring beauty in rich, mesic forest, early spring. Photo by David Taylor.
Trillium erectum, red trillium or wake robin, in rich mesic forest, spring. Photo by David Taylor.
Viola rostrata, spurred violet, in rich mesic forest, spring. Photo by David Taylor.
Uvularia perfoliata, perfoliate bellwort, in rich mesic forest, spring. Photo © 2011 by David Taylor.
Big Double Day Use Area
Forest: Daniel Boone National Forest
District: Redbird Ranger District
Description: Big Double Day Use Area is a picnic area set at the base of a long steep slope adjacent to Big Double Creek. There is no developed trail at this location; however, hiking around Big Double and the lower portions of the surrounding slopes is relatively easy. The forest here is mixed mesophytic including such species as sugar maple, American basswood, American beech, tulip tree, yellow buckeye, black birch, umbrella magnolia, and even Fraser’s magnolia. Spicebush and witch hazel are common shrubs in the area. Oaks dominate the upper slopes and ridges, approximately 800 feet elevation higher than the picnic area.
Most of Big Double and the lower slopes around it are National Forest. A small part of the creek and lower slopes, as well as some of the surrounding ridge is private land. Do respect property boundaries.
Wildflower Viewing: While wildflowers can be found along this trail any time during the growing season (late March/early April to frost in mid-October, the most spectacular show is in spring. This rich forest supports a variety of spring wildflowers including purple phacelia, wild larkspur, yellow trout lily, white and red trilliums, Canada violet, striate violet, wild blue phlox, meehania, spring beauty, bellwort, and foamflower. Those that venture the steep 800’ elevation climb to the top might be rewarded with the flowers of mountain laurel, and trailing arbutus in spring, and pink lady’s-slipper, Cumberland azalea, teaberry, and spotted wintergreen in May to June. Blueberries (Vaccinium pallidum, V. stamineum, V. corymbosum) and huckleberry (Gaylussacia baccata) are also present on the upper slopes and ridges.
During summer and early fall, several hawkweeds (Hieracium venosum, H. paniculatum, H. gronovii), greater tickseed (Coreopsis major), false dandelion and native lespedezas (Lespedeza virginica, L. repens) can be found in the drier upland areas.
Safety First: Primarily of concern is that there is no defined trail. At the bottom, walking is relatively easy, but the climb up slope is very steep in places and footing may not be secure. Watch for downed limbs buried under leaves that can cause a fall. Black bears are known to wander in the area. Keeping food safely locked in a car when not being consumed is good practice. Both timber rattlesnakes (uncommon) and copperheads are poisonous snakes in the area. Mosquitoes and black flies maybe encountered during summer. Poison ivy is present in some areas. Long pants are recommended. Even though the areas along the creek are cool, summers tend to be warm and humid and the climb out can be strenuous for some people. Anyone climbing to the ridge is encouraged to take water.
Directions: From Lexington, Kentucky, take I-75 south to Exit 41 at London. Turn left at the top of the exit ramp and follow signs for KY 80/Hal Rogers Parkway (may also be labeled the Daniel Boone Parkway) east. Follow this to Exit 34 (Red Bird River Exit). At the end of the exit ramp, turn right onto Highway 66. There is an old gas station across the street at this point. Follow Hwy 66 for about 0.6 mile and at the stop sign, turn right onto Hwy 421/80. Travel on this about 0.8 mile then turn left onto Hwy 66. There is a large building at this corner with a rooster on it. Follow Hwy 66 for about 2.0 miles passing the Redbird Ranger District office on your right. Turn right on to Big Double Creek road just beyond the office compound. Follow this road (gravel) for about 3 miles to the Big Double Day Use area. Parking is available here.
Ownership and Management: The site and trail are owned and managed by the Daniel Boone National Forest, Redbird Ranger District.
Nearest Town: Manchester, Kentucky, to the west.