Kentucky April 11, 2017
9 Magnificent Trails You Have To Hike In Kentucky Before You Die
Kentucky’s diverse landscape just screams for attention and welcomes visitors to explore its beauty. There are endless trails that take you from high atop a mountain to underneath the caverns of the earth, and everything in between. But if you’re looking for a must-try list of hikes in Kentucky, this is it. There are a variety of levels, terrain and vistas, but all are equally magnificent.
1. Indian Staircase - Pineridge, Kentucky
If you're up for a challenge, this moderate hike in the Red River Gorge area is perfect for you. This unmarked trail can be easy to miss, so be sure to do your research before heading out. It's an up and back climb and the views at the top are worth your efforts. It's likely the most difficult of hikes on this list, but it is worth every second of preparation to be ready to conquer it.
2. Auxier Ridge - Stanton, Kentucky
Also in Red River Gorge, Auxier Ridge is a favorite among seasoned Kentucky hikers. It is rated moderate for certain sections that are more difficult and obviously the ridge itself can be a bit daunting. Try this hike in summer or fall to experience the most magnificent views of Kentucky foliage.
3. Cumberland Falls Trail - Corbin, Kentucky
Cumberland Falls should be on your Kentucky must-see list and there are many options for getting to it. The main route and easiest hike begins in front of Dupont Lodge within the resort and is a short .5 mile trail. If you want to do more than just experience the falls, then try the Moonbow Trail or the Number Two Trail, both hikes will still get you to the falls but provide much more adventure.
4. Natural Bridge and Battleship Rock Trail - Slade, Kentucky
Within Natural Bridge State Park, you'll find this trail that begins right behind Hemlock Lodge. This popular hike will give you several views of the natural bridge and take you through breathtaking Kentucky landscape. Be sure to stop in the lodge and grab a few maps and ask for any tips to tackling the trail. Ask how to find Lover's Leap, just off the path. You'll be glad you did!
5. Honker Lake Trail - Kuttawa, Kentucky
The hike along this waterfront trail is perfectly placed within the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. The trail will literally take you between the lakes and is perfect for hikers of all ages and abilities. It's also great for animal lovers as you'll typically see a wide variety of wildlife.
6. Carter Caves Cross Country Trail - Olive Hill, Kentucky
Carter Caves may be known for its underground features, but the hiking is also a highlight. The Cross Country Trail is especially appealing due to the various terrain and loop trail. The hike begins at the Carter Caves Welcome Center and will take you past Shangra La Arch, among many other features. There is also a campground along the trail, if you'd like to really take your time enjoying this peaceful escape.
7. Eagle Falls Trail - Parker Lake, Kentucky
If you love waterfalls, then lace up your hiking boots for this stunning trail. It's rated moderate but can definitely swing to the difficult side as you walk along ridges and up steep climbs. Your pay off is magnificent views of both Cumberland Falls and Eagle Falls, pictured above. It's a "short and sweet" trail, but a great workout with an amazing reward.
8. Mammoth Cave Domes and Dripstones Tour - Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
There are several tours (aka hikes) offered through Mammoth Cave National Park, but the Domes and Dripstones is the best option for an all-encompassing experience. You'll descend 280 stairs deep into the cave, and follow a path along the most dramatic and mysterious scenery. This tour includes the popular Frozen Niagara as well, so you'll really get a taste of all Mammoth Cave has to offer.
9. West Pinnacle Trail - Berea, Kentucky
Follow this trail up a steep incline at the beginning, but then get rewarded at the top with spectacular views of the city and land below. This hike is manageable for most and is very well maintained. It's a surprising escape that delivers magnificent views of central Kentucky.
Kentucky draws hikers from all over the world, eager to explore and take on adventure. These trails are a good compromise of the countless options Kentucky provides. Have you been on all of these hikes? Which is your favorite? And most importantly…which ones did we miss? Let us know in the comments below! For more information on these hikes and others throughout Kentucky, try this great resource –