Kentucky Hiking, Nature December 16, 2021
by Sarah McCosham Bundle Up And Grab Your Boots For These 7 Magical Wintertime Hikes In Kentucky
Winter is a beautiful time in the Bluegrass State, with our rolling hills, lush forests, and flowing falls looking extra lovely beneath a dusting (or blanket, if we’re lucky!) of fresh snow. And although winter might not be everyone’s favorite season, there’s really nothing better than getting out to enjoy this most magical time of the year. So bundle up and grab your boots; these seven magical wintertime hikes in Kentucky might just have you singing the praises of Old Man Winter!
1. Chain Rock Trail at Pine Mountain State Resort Park
Tucked away in the appropriately named community of Pineville is a dreamy mountain landscape. Pine Mountain was Kentucky's first state park, and it was 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 the snow-tipped trees and
Pine Mountain State Resort Park, 1050 State Park Rd, Pineville, KY 40977, USA
2. Three Bridges Trail - Carter Caves State Park
Carter Caves State Resort Park is a Bluegrass beauty, boasting beguiling backcountry, forests, creeks, caverns, and waterfalls. After a snow, the park transforms into a real-life winter wonderland that's simply perfect for exploring. We recommend tackling the
Three Bridges Trail
this winter; it's a 3.3-mile trek that highlights three of the park's best-known natural bridges, which look even more wondrous when blanketed beneath fresh snow.
Carter Caves State Resort Park, 344 Caveland Dr, Olive Hill, KY 41164, USA
3. Waterfall, Lakeshore Bluff, and Point Loop - Nolin Lake
This 5,795-acre lake was first formed in 1963, though it would not open as Nolin Lake State Park until 2001. A popular summertime destination in Kentucky, Nolin Lake is arguably more beautiful during the winter months. Within the park, the
Waterfall, Lakeshore Bluff, and Point Loop
is a 7.1-mile trail that packs a spectacular scenic punch, especially in the winter when the scenery is snow-dusted and frozen.
Nolin Lake, Kentucky, USA
4. Honker Lake Trail - Land Between the Lakes
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!
Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, 238 Visitor Center Dr, Golden Pond, KY 42211, USA
5. Big Bone Lake Loop - Big Bone Lick State Park
Once upon a time, this vivid site in Boone County, Kentucky, was frequented by gigantic Ice Age mammals. Today, Big Bone Lick State Park offers some of the best hiking trails in the state, all of which are especially lovely after a dusting of snow. For an scenic winter hike that's also super accessible, you can't go wrong with the mile-long
Big Bone Lake Loop
Big Bone Lick State Historic Site, 3380 Beaver Rd, Union, KY 41091, USA
6. The Original Trail - Natural Bridge State Resort Park
One of the most jaw-dropping views in Kentucky can be found at Natural Bridge State Resort Park -- and
The Original Trail
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 takes on almost transcendent beauty during the winter. And for a grand finale, The Original Trail ends beneath the span of the iconic bridge, which is breathtakingly beautiful following a fresh snow.
Natural Bridge State Resort Park, 2135 Natural Bridge Rd, Slade, KY 40376, USA
7. Cumberland Falls via Eagle Falls Trail - Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
Cumberland Falls is one of Kentucky’s crown jewels; this incredible waterfall is nationally recognized as one of the best in the country. It’s referred to as the
Niagara Falls of the South
, and once you experience it for yourself, you’ll understand why. Within Cumberland Falls State Park, there’s a trail that leads to both Cumberland Falls *and* another incredible cascade, Eagle Falls. It’s one of the most picturesque hikes in Kentucky, and a must for all Bluegrass waterfall chasers -- especially if seeing a
is on your Bluegrass hiking bucket list!
Cumberland Falls, Kentucky, USA
What’s your favorite winter hike in Kentucky? Share it with us in the comments below!
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