In total, there are 49 unique Kentucky State parks, each of them catering to outdoor enthusiasts and offering a unique glimpse into Kentucky’s scenic beauty. From scenic shorelines to majestic mountains, and plunging caves to enchanting woodlands, there is something for everyone at Kentucky’s top parks. Though we are only scratching the surface of Kentucky’s splendid natural beauty, the most popular hiking trails are found in the following areas: Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, Mammoth Cave National Park, Daniel Boone National Forest, Cumberland Falls State Park and Cumberland Gap National Historic Park.
The Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area
is a 170,000 acre outdoor playground that lies in the western reaches of Kentucky, between Lake Barley and Kentucky Lake. Explore this park's 500 incredible miles of hiking trails that wind through forests, wetlands, and open meadows. As one of the largest blocks of undeveloped forest in the eastern United States, it is a wonderful place to watch migrating and nesting birds, including Osprey, Pelicans, and Warblers, and to take in the colorful display of spring wildflowers like meadow violet, bluets, bloodroot, and toothwort.
You haven’t experienced the glory of Kentucky’s parks until you’ve walked underground through the lavish network of caves in Mammoth Cave National Park
. As the worlds longest known cave system, you’ll have over 400 miles of chambers and labyrinths and hundreds of miles of surface hiking to explore. Cave Tours
range from the simpler Frozen Niagra Tour to the more adventurous Wild Cave Tour. As with most other Kentucky Parks, a spring hike
through the surface of this park will reward you with colorful blooms and plentiful wildlife.
The Daniel Boone National Forest
stretches across the reaches of Eastern Kentucky, from Morehead to the Tennessee border. Here, you’ll find your escape into nature along the 600 miles of roads and hiking trails that will take you into some of the most rugged terrain west of the Appalachian’s. Steep forested slopes, sandstone cliffs and narrow ravines makeup most of this beautiful Kentucky Park, along with plentiful lakes, rivers, and streams. Hiking trails
are plentiful in the Daniel Boone National Forest, and include the longest trail in Kentucky, the Sheltowee Trace National Recreational Trail
. Another popular area within this forest is the Red River Gorge
, with it’s beautiful sandstone arches and towering cliffs. As you move throughout this incredible swath of Kentucky's park land, be on the lookout for some of the state's most scenic waterfalls.
You also won’t want to miss hiking through Cumberland Falls State Park
. This stunning Kentucky Park is a hiker’s paradise. The 17 miles of hiking trails
found here includes the Moonbow Trail, which connects with many of the backpacking trails in the Daniel Boone National Forest.
The Cumberland Gap
, considered one of the great gateways to the west, features miles upon miles of scenic hiking trails. As you move through this park, you'll enjoy the spectacular overlooks, unique rock formations, and cascading waterfalls that it is known for. More than that, you’ll experience the rich sense of Kentucky’s history at the parks many interesting historical sights. Hikes
here range from easy strolls through nature to multi-day backpacking adventures.
We’d be remiss to discuss hiking in Kentucky without mentioning the Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail
. Though it's not finished yet, it currently has 42 miles of Kentucky's most pristine hiking trails. Eventually, it will be 120 miles long and will connect Breaks Interstate Park with the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. The ultimate goal is to connect this trail up with the Great Eastern Trail
, which will then stretch for 1800 miles across 9 states.
Now that we’ve helped you discover another facet of Kentucky’s unbridled personality, let us help you relax. Whether you’re looking for a cozy bed and breakfast, a charming countryside cottage, or a century-old historic inn, there is a Kentucky Bed and Breakfast waiting for you. Find what speaks to you, and book your room
at one of Kentucky’s finest Bed and Breakfasts today.