This 60-mile loop allows you to visit cypress swamps, marshlands, and woodlands as well as remnants of prairies.
D1 West Kentucky WMA
At Paducah, take exit 4 on I-24 west onto US 60. Go 7 miles and turn north on KY 996 for 3.6 miles. Turn west on KY358 for 2.6 miles to office. Gas, lodging, dining and other opportunities available in Paducah; also view the beautiful flood walls along the riverfront and visit the National Quilt Museum.
Habitat and trail info: Stroll through the scattered woodlots and view a few prairie remnants as well as take your pick of 500 acres of woodlands bordering the Ohio River. The WMA also offers seven fishing ponds, picnic areas, hiking trails and some primitive camping in designated areas.
Wildlife viewing opportunities: Dickcissel, red-tailed hawk, yellow-breasted chat, brown thrasher and northern harrier have been seen here. Deer, squirrel, rabbit, quail, dove, raccoon and ducks have also been found here.
D2 Ballard County WMA
Continue on KY362 to KY 1782 to Ballard County WMA. Gas, lodging and dining opportunities available in nearby Wickliffe.
Habitat and trail info: The area consists of sloughs, agricultural bottomlands, and moist soil units with scattered stands of hardwood including bald cypress. There are several roads throughout the area. A popular birding area for many guilds of birds! Primitive camping in designated areas only. Please Note: Area is closed October 15-March 15 as a Wildlife Refuge.
Wildlife viewing opportunities: Waterfowl, deer, squirrel, dove, wintering bald eagles, eagle nests can be found there as well as. Prothonotary warbler, yellow-throated warbler, Mississippi kite may also be seen.
D3 Peal WMA
Take KY473 South then right onto KY1105 to Barlow. Turn right and follow signs to Mound City and Peal WMA.
Habitat and sites: Oxbow lakes surround by marshlands and cypress swamps.
Wildlife viewing opportunities: One can view deer, squirrel, rabbit, quail, dove, raccoon, duck, American kestrel, red bellied woodpecker, northern parula, Acadian flycatcher.
D4 Swan Lake WMA
Go back to Barlow and take US60 South to Wickliffe. Turn right onto US51/US62 which will take you to Swan Lake.
Habitat and sites: This is the largest naturally occurring lake in Kentucky surrounded by Bald Cypress. Many smaller lakes are also located over the tract. Bottomland hardwoods and agricultural bottomlands are scattered throughout.
Wildlife viewing opportunities: Several migratory species winter here each year along with ring-billed and herring gulls, double-crested cormorants, waterfowl, bald eagles, great blue heron, little blue heron and red-headed woodpecker.
Side trips: Visit Barlow House Museum in Barlow and the ancient Wickliffe Mounds (1100-1350A.D.) at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.
D5 Reelfoot Lake WMA (Side Trip)
Starting Point: Hickman follow Hwy 94.
The Kentucky portion is comprised of 2500 acres in Fulton County. There are driving tours as well as two observation towers and a visitor center. Extensive bottomland forests, marshes and bald cypress swamps were formed during the New Madrid eathquake of 1811-12.
Wildlife Viewing Opportunities: The river otter, white-tailed deer, beaver, coyote, great blue heron, great and cattle egert, osprey, insects and songbirds live here in profusion. Hundreds of bald eagles winter here. Reelfoot Lake also attracts thousands of wintering ducks and geese including mallards, gadwall, American wigeons, pintails, plover, marbled godwit and pecotral sandpiper. This area is also reputed to be the "Turtle Capital of the World." The WMA features thousands of sliders, stinkpots, mud and snap turtles.