Kentucky Nature January 27, 2022
11 Hikes In Kentucky That Will Make You Fall Head Over Heels In Love With The Beautiful Bluegrass State
embarrassment of riches here in Kentucky. From lush forests and idyllic waterfalls to otherworldly caves and real-life oases, Kentucky’s natural beauty is unrivaled. Hiking is our favorite way to get out and enjoy our state’s splendor, and the following hikes in Kentucky are some of the best the Bluegrass has to offer. Just be warned: these hikes will make you fall head over heels in love with the beautiful Bluegrass State — that is, of course, if you’re not already wholly enamored!
Pilot Knob Trail
Pilot Knob, Kentucky 40312, USA
This was the sight that made Daniel Boone fall hard for Kentucky, and it's sure to do the same for you! At Pilot Knob overlook in Kentucky, you can relive the monumental, magical moment Boone laid eyes on the beautiful Bluegrass. This overlook features one of the most stunning views in the state, and it’s reached via an accessible,
Bernheim Arboretum Canopy Tree Walk
Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest, 2075 Clermont Rd, Clermont, KY 40110, USA
Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest is one of the most beautiful hidden gems in the Bluegrass State. As an arboretum and research forest, you'll find abundant foliage and plant life and it's all worth seeing any season of the year. In addition to the walking trails, visitor center, and events, many come to Bernheim for its one-of-a-kind
canopy tree walk
. The boardwalk extends into the forest canopy, suspending visitors an astonishing 75 feet above the forest floor, and it feels as though you're floating in a dreamy, fairy tale forest!
East and West Pinnacle Trail
West Pinnacle, 2047 Big Hill Rd, Berea, KY 40403, USA
One resplendent region that’s often overlooked by Kentucky hikers is Berea. The Berea Pinnacles are big and beautiful; and while magnificent all year long, they're downright magical in the peak of fall foliage! 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 in Berea, Kentucky
. Outside Magazine called the Pinnacle Hike the best in Kentucky in 2019; and indeed, this 6.6-mile trek is extraordinary in every way.
Cumberland Falls Moonbow Trail
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, 7351 KY-90, Corbin, KY 40701, USA
There are 12 hiking trails throughout Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, and they'll take you past some truly remarkable rock formations, historic bridges, and other impressive natural features. The 10.8-mile Moonbow Trail connects with many backpacking trails in the Daniel Boone National Forest, and is a bucket-list must for many Kentuckians. Many visit Cumberland Falls just to experience the rare Moonbow, as this is one of the only places in the entire world to see one. The “moonbow,” also called a white rainbow or lunar rainbow, is formed just like a rainbow—light is refracted in tiny water droplets—and appears for the two or so days, as long as the sky is clear, on either end of the full moon. If you can time your visit to see it firsthand, it's sure to be a memorable moment. The park has all of the Moonbow dates for this year and the next couple of years listed on its
, just scroll down a bit.
The Original Trail
Natural Bridge State Resort Park, 2135 Natural Bridge Rd, Slade, KY 40376, USA
One of the most jaw-dropping views in Kentucky can be found at Natural Bridge State Resort Park, and the
lets hikers fully immerse themselves in this wondrous place. This trail was built in the 1890s by the Lexington and Eastern Railroad; and, at just 0.75 miles long, it is the most popular trail for hiking to the Natural Bridge. The path climbs over 400 feet through a beautiful forest landscape that is almost sublime. Being high above the beautiful Bluegrass, as you gaze upon the canyons and gorges, you might just be rendered speechless by the spectacular scenery.
Yahoo Falls Trail
Yahoo Falls, Kentucky 42653, USA
Encompassing some 125,000 acres of rugged gorges and forest wilds along the Kentucky/Tennessee border, Big South Fork is one of Kentucky’s most popular outdoor playgrounds. Within this splendid naturescape, there’s a four-mile trail that leads to a stunning waterfall and grotto, and it’s a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts in Kentucky. This is the splendor of the
Yahoo Falls Trail
, a bucket-list must for all Bluegrass waterfall chasers!
Sky Bridge Trail
Sky Bridge Loop - Trail #214, Kentucky 41360, USA
With over 150 naturally-formed sandstone bridges throughout Red River Gorge, it seems as though every trail takes you past an incredible geological work of art! The
Sky Bridge Trail
is an easy, mile-long hike in Red River Gorge that is great for families and those looking for something quick and accessible... but with a big payoff!
Angels Windows Trail
Angel Windows Trailhead - Red River Gorge, Sky Bridge Rd, Pine Ridge, KY 41360, USA
The Angels Windows natural arch formations at the Red are quite beautiful, especially within the context of their enchanting forest surroundings. You'll find these beauties on the
Angel Windows Trail
, one of the park's most accessible treks. This 0.6-mile trail winds beneath these winsome sandstone arch frames, and is sure to leave you speechless.
Dog Slaughter Falls Trail
Dog Slaughter Falls, Kentucky 40769, USA
There are waterfalls all over the Bluegrass, but Dog Slaughter Falls is a fan favorite. Located within the wondrous wilds of the Daniel Boone National Forest, the 2.4-mile trek to the falls is almost as incredible as the cascades themselves. If you go during the spring, you will wind through a tunnel of rhododendrons and lush forests as you follow
Dog Slaughter Creek to the eponymous waterfall
. It's a spectacular scene sure to make you swoon!
Carter Caves Three Bridges Trail
Carter Caves State Resort Park, 344 Caveland Dr, Olive Hill, KY 41164, USA
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!
Mammoth Cave, KY 42259, USA
What’s your favorite scenic hike in Kentucky? Share it in the comments below! Happy hiking, friends!
Address: Natural Bridge State Resort Park, 2135 Natural Bridge Rd, Slade, KY 40376, USA Address: West Pinnacle, 2047 Big Hill Rd, Berea, KY 40403, USA Address: Pilot Knob, Kentucky 40312, USA Address: Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, 7351 KY-90, Corbin, KY 40701, USA Address: Yahoo Falls, Kentucky 42653, USA Address: Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest, 2075 Clermont Rd, Clermont, KY 40110, USA Address: Sky Bridge Loop - Trail #214, Kentucky 41360, USA Address: Angel Windows Trailhead - Red River Gorge, Sky Bridge Rd, Pine Ridge, KY 41360, USA Address: Mammoth Cave, KY 42259, USA Address: Dog Slaughter Falls, Kentucky 40769, USA Address: Carter Caves State Resort Park, 344 Caveland Dr, Olive Hill, KY 41164, USA