If you grew up in Kentucky, you are likely very familiar with the shape of our state. You may not have the state line memorized, but you have a general idea of how Kentucky is formed. We all took geography classes in school! But did you know that there is a piece of the Bluegrass State that isn’t even connected to Kentucky at all? Unlike a traditional panhandle, the Kentucky Bend is a little “blip” of land that is completely surrounded by other states. This peninsula of land is definitely a part of our state, but it’s broken off from the rest of Kentucky, and the history of how it came to be is fascinating.

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The part of Kentucky not connected to the main state is just as much a page of our state’s history as anywhere else, and we think it’s pretty unique! The story of the Kentucky Bend is just one of many fascinating tales in our state, but it may just be the most interesting geography lesson in the Bluegrass State.

Did you know about this exclave in Kentucky? Tag a friend in the comments who would find this fascinating!

Since very few people live in this region, most find themselves driving to Hickman, Kentucky for accommodations and necessities, or even hopping over to Tennessee. Are there any fascinating stops in this area that we should know about? Or, for another fascinating geographical feat in Kentucky that’s worth driving to, check out the Pikeville Cut-Through.

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The Kentucky Bend

Are there any unique geographic features in Kentucky that are worth visiting?

Kentucky, known for its rolling hills, lush forests, and horse racing heritage, also boasts some fascinating natural wonders and unique geographic features, such as:

  • Yahoo Arch, Daniel Boone National Forest: This natural arch is situated less than a mile from the stunning Yahoo Falls. While not as massive as some other arches in the state, its combination with the falls and the surrounding area is pretty special.
  • Mammoth Onyx Cave, Horse Cave: Kentucky has quite a few caves to its credit, but this "mammoth"-sized cave showcases natural stalactites and other cave-formed creations that are extra special.
  • Blue Pool at Lost River Cave, Bowling Green: A lost river and a cave? Yes, please! Explore the kids’ discovery and crawl adventure, a seasonal butterfly habitat, hiking trails, and the stunning Blue Pool.
  • Creelsboro Natural Arch: This rock formation draws visitors from all around. The cool stone, adorned with mossy growths, offers a serene environment for relaxation or picnics. Interestingly, this historic archway to the Cumberland River also houses an ancient Indian burial ground on top.
  • Red River Gorge, Daniel Boone National Forest: Affectionately known as “The Gorge,” this incredible part of Daniel Boone Forest features well over 100 unique natural arches and bridges.

Fun Fact: Kentucky is the only U.S. state with continuous borders of rivers running along three sides: the Mississippi River to the west, the Ohio River to the north, and the Big Sandy River and Tug Fork to the east - which is a pretty unique part of the state's geography too! So while there may not be volcanoes or islands on Kentucky's list of geographic formations, the state’s landscape is pretty remarkable all the same.

What is the most remote, isolated spot in Kentucky?

Kentucky is full of hidden gems, both natural and man-made. Here are just a few of the most remote spots in Kentucky where you can  disconnect from the hustle and bustle:

  • Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area: This vast area preserves the Cumberland Plateau and remains largely untouched by man. It’s a remote and rugged expanse where you can immerse yourself in nature’s solitude. The Big South Fork offers stunning vistas, deep gorges, and pristine wilderness. If you seek isolation, this is a prime spot to explore.
  • Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge: Encompassing 22 islands across multiple states, including two in Kentucky, this refuge provides a haven for wildlife. These islands are relatively secluded and offer a unique opportunity to observe native flora and fauna in their natural habitat.
  • Kentucky Bend: Also known as the “New Madrid Bend,” this peculiar geographic feature is a small peninsula that juts out into the Mississippi River. It’s isolated due to its unusual location, surrounded by the river on three sides and the state of Tennessee on the fourth.
  • Land Between the Lakes: Straddling the Kentucky-Tennessee border, this national recreation area offers abundant forests, lakes, and outdoor activities. It’s a serene escape where you can find solitude amidst the natural beauty.
  • Cumberland Gap National Historical Park: Known for its caves, natural formations, and historical significance, Cumberland Gap is a remote area where you can explore trails, caves, and enjoy breathtaking views.
  • Red River Gorge Geological Area: Part of the Daniel Boone National Forest, the Red River Gorge features rock formations, natural arches, and waterfalls. It’s a hiker’s paradise with numerous trails and secluded spots.
  • Skeet Rock Knob: Located near the Kentucky-Virginia border, this spot is part of the Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail. The trail to Skeet Rock Knob passes through one of the largest undisturbed forest areas in the state.


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