Nature January 12, 2022
12 Scenic Trails To Explore In Kentucky, One For Each Month Of The Year
This year, we’re resolving to get out and explore more. Kentucky is home to some of the most magnificent natural wonders in the country, and we’re making it our mission to embrace all the state has to offer! For us, this means logging some miles on the trails, as there really is no better way to experience the beauty of the Bluegrass, than to *immerse* yourself in it. We’ve put together the following list of 12 scenic trails to explore in Kentucky, one for each month of the year. Think of this as your hiking bucket list for 2022!
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
January: Cumberland Falls via Eagle Falls Trail
Eagle Falls Trailhead Parking, Old Cumberland Falls Rd, Parkers Lake, KY 42634, USA
We're kicking of 2022 with one of our favorite hikes: the
Cumberland Falls via Eagle Falls Trail
. This trail is a 1.8-mile loop trail that's rated as moderate, and leads to two of the state's most stunning waterfalls: Cumberland Falls and Eagle Falls. Talk about a twofer!
February: Honker Lake Trail
Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, 238 Visitor Center Dr, Golden Pond, KY 42211, USA
Land Between the Lakes (LBTL) is an absolutely splendid area with a rich and engaging landscape. This region stretches across the Kentucky and Tennessee borders, right between Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake. As winter coats the landscape, this dreamy natural space becomes a jaw-dropping nature scene. There are numerous hiking opportunities within LBTL, but we're partial to the Honker Lake Trail, a five-mile loop that traverses some of the
best scenery in the area
March: Pilot Knob Trail
Pilot Knob, Kentucky 40312, USA
What do you think Daniel Boone thought when he first gazed upon the Bluegrass? At
overlook in Kentucky, you can relive this monumental, magical moment. This overlook features one of the most stunning views in the state, and it’s reached via an accessible, two-mile hike. This is the perfect way to celebrate the impending arrival of spring in the Bluegrass!
April: Dog Slaughter Falls Trail
Dog Slaughter Falls, Kentucky 40769, USA
April showers bring May flowers... and also roaring, resplendent waterfalls! There are dozens of spots in every corner of the state that are absolutely captivating. But if you haven’t seen Dog Slaughter Falls in Daniel Boone National Forest near Corbin, well, we're about to change that! The 2.4-mile trek to the falls is a typical gorgeous Kentucky hike. You will wind through a tunnel of rhododendrons and lush forests as you follow Dog Slaughter Creek to the waterfall. Read more about this
amazing waterfall hike in Kentucky here
May: Three Bridges Trail
Carter Caves Road, Carter Caves Rd, Kentucky, USA
The birds are singing and the bees are buzzing, the flowers blooming and waterfalls rushing. It's spring in Kentucky, and we're celebrating the warmer weather and abundant life with a visit to Carter Caves. Carter Caves State Resort Park is a place of immense beauty and natural splendor; it's everything that makes Kentucky so unique and special -- all in one place. Here you'll find 33 miles of trails, winding through lush forests, pristine pools, and fascinating geological formations both above and below ground -- and on the
Three Bridges Trail
, you'll get to experience it all!
June: Pinnacles Trail
West Pinnacle, 2047 Big Hill Rd, Berea, KY 40403, USA
The Bluegrass is an incredible place for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, its trails providing challenging and scenic adventures that allow for an up-close experience of our beautiful state. One resplendent region that’s often overlooked by hikers, however, is Berea. The Berea Pinnacles are big and beautiful — and downright magical in the midst of spring's bloom! Look out over the hills and farmland and get a true sense of the beauty of our state when you hike the East and West Pinnacle Trail. Outside Magazine called the Pinnacle Hike the best in Kentucky in 2019; and indeed, this trek truly is extraordinary in every way. To get to these overlooks, however, you're going to need to lace up your hiking boots and set out on a 6.6-mile journey, so this hike is best for the early morning before the summer heat sets in. But trust us when we say:
the payoff is well-worth the effort
July: Flat Lick Falls
Flat Lick Falls Recreational Area, McKee, KY 40447, USA
In the height of the dog days of summer in the Bluegrass State, we're opting for an easy hike that leads to a refreshing, resplendent waterfall swimming pool. The hike to Flat Lick Falls is a 0.6-mile waterfall hike in Kentucky that is ideal for any age and ability and takes you to another world, right in the heart of Kentucky. And your reward for venturing out in the heat and humidity? A cerulean blue
waterfall swimming pool
August: Prestonsburg Passage Rail Trail
Prestonsburg Passage Rail Trail, Triple S Rd, David, KY 41616, USA
It's back-to-school season, and we can't think of a more appropriate way to celebrate than with this hike, which crosses through an actual school bus covered bridge! The
Prestonsburg Passage Rail Trail
begins in Archer Park, and, at 8.6 miles long, it's admittedly a bit of a haul. But after about six miles, you'll reach this unique spot: a school bus that's been converted into a covered bridge, which, in our opinion, is one of the coolest things ever. You may want to take a break here and snap a picture of this unique bridge, break for lunch, and then either finish the remaining two miles, or turn back. It's a more challenging, all-day kind of hike; but it's easily one of the most unique adventures in Kentucky, and a bucket-list must!
September: Iroquois Park Overlook
Iroquois Park, Louisville, KY, USA
After a rather long hike in August, September has us slowing down for an easy hike that leads to the absolute best view of Louisville. Just 1.2 miles long,
the hike to the Iroquois Park Overlook
will have you marveling at the changing foliage and beautiful Bluegrass beauty. The hike ends at the Iroquois Park Overlook, one of those iconic places in Kentucky that you must put on your bucket list. Unrivaled views, an accessible trek, stunning natural scenery... what's not to love?!
October: Ewing Trail
Parking lot, United States
Sand Cave, Kentucky 42127, USA
In a state that’s home to the largest underground cavern system on the planet, it can be hard for Kentucky’s other caves to stand out. But Sand Cave most certainly stands out. Located in one of the most scenic places in the country — Cumberland Gap — this massive sand cave is unlike anywhere else in the state. It’s of otherworldly beauty, and when you reach this stunning sand cave at the end of the
Ewing Trail in Kentucky
, you’ll know you’ve discovered something truly, wholly wondrous. (Did we mention the above-ground views -- especially during the height of fall foliage -- are dazzling, too?)
November: Breaks Interstate Park Loop Trail
Breaks Interstate Park, 627 Commission Cir, Breaks, VA 24607, USA
Breaks Interstate Park
encompasses parts of both Kentucky and Virginia. The park is glorious; marked with an abundance of nature, bountiful hills, and sweeping canyons. The centerpiece of "The Breaks" is a five-mile, 1,650-foot-deep gorge that's commonly referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the South.” It's a beautiful place to explore, and we're partial to the Breaks Interstate Park Loop Trail, a six miler that traverses some of the best scenery in the Bluegrass!
December: Chained Rock Trail
Chained Rock Road, Chained Rock Rd, Pineville, KY 40977, USA
Tucked away in the appropriately named community of Pineville is a dreamy mountain landscape. Pine Mountain was Kentucky's first state park, established back in 1924. Ever since, visitors have found themselves charmed by its beauty and awe-inspiring features. The mile-long Chained Rock Trail is the perfect wintertime excursion, providing near-perfect panoramas of snow-tipped trees and
What are your favorite scenic trails in Kentucky? Share them with us in the comments below!
Address: Eagle Falls Trailhead Parking, Old Cumberland Falls Rd, Parkers Lake, KY 42634, USA Address: Flat Lick Falls Recreational Area, McKee, KY 40447, USA Address: Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, 238 Visitor Center Dr, Golden Pond, KY 42211, USA Address: Pilot Knob, Kentucky 40312, USA Address: Dog Slaughter Falls, Kentucky 40769, USA Address: Carter Caves Road, Carter Caves Rd, Kentucky, USA Address: West Pinnacle, 2047 Big Hill Rd, Berea, KY 40403, USA Address: Prestonsburg Passage Rail Trail, Triple S Rd, David, KY 41616, USA Address: Iroquois Park, Louisville, KY, USA Address: Breaks Interstate Park, 627 Commission Cir, Breaks, VA 24607, USA Address: Chained Rock Road, Chained Rock Rd, Pineville, KY 40977, USA Address: Parking lot, United States Address: Sand Cave, Kentucky 42127, USA