Things To Do

Life size cabin display inside museum exhibits
Display highlighting the lives of refugees that came to Camp Nelson seeking freedom and opportunity.


Visitor Center and Museum

Through museum exhibits and a short film, the visitor center provides an orientation to the historic events that unfolded at Camp Nelson. Objects on display and museum exhibits provide a window into the role Camp Nelson played during its height as a military installation, supply depot, hospital, recruitment center, and refugee camp.

Two story wooden house with Civil War cannon in front
Oliver Perry House dates to the mid-1850s


Oliver Perry House

The Oliver Perry “White" House is an original home built in the mid-1850s and was used as Officer Quarters while the property was part of Camp Nelson (1863-1866). The home is presently undergoing renovation work and is not open.

Dusk light settles on large wooden barracks building
The reconstructed barracks building offers a glimpse of soldier life at Camp Nelson.


Reconstructed US Army Barracks

Sitting near the site of the original barracks building, the reconstructed barracks depict camp life for the thousands of Federal soldiers stationed at Camp Nelson. There is also a meeting space and small library. It is open to the public for guided tours on a limited basis. Please stop by the visitor center to see when tours are available.

Fence runs through field where flag marks earthen mound
Reconstructed Fort Putnam shows Civil War appearance of earthworks


Walking Trails

Over five miles of hiking trails allow visitors to experience first-hand the rolling pastoral landscape of Camp Nelson National Monument. This trail system and numerous interpretive markers provide an opportunity to explore earthworks and fortifications that protected Camp Nelson and allow visitors to walk in the footsteps of soldiers in order to gain an understanding of the sites' significant role during the Civil War.

Man walks toward sign in front of old wooden church building
The Hall community was created by people transitioning from enslavement to citizenship.


Hall Community

The community of Ariel (now Hall) grew out of the Home for Colored Refugees after Camp Nelson itself was closed and disassembled. After the Civil War, the community of former USCT soldiers and their families grew to include homes, stores, churches and Arial Academy. While there are no buildings that date to the Home for Colored Refugee-era, there is a small church built in 1912 and named in honor of John Fee who dedicated his life to creating educational opportunities for African Americans. Today there are still descendents of USCT soldiers who call the Hall community home.

The Hall site has limited parking and there are no visitor or restroom facilities.

straight rows of headstones in national cemetery
Camp Nelson National Cemetery is administered by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Camp Nelson National Cemetery

In June 1866, Camp Nelson U.S. Army Depot was closed, but Camp Nelson National Cemetery, with 1,615 Federal dead, was created that same year. The cemetery is located adjacent to the national monument and is open daily from dawn to dusk.

Last updated: June 18, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

6614 Old Danville Road
Loop 2

Nicholasville, KY 40356


(859) 881-5716
The phone is usually answered Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Voice messages are checked regularly.

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