Kentucky December 11, 2016
10 Places In Kentucky That Are Off The Beaten Path But Worth The Trip
There’s a lot to explore in Kentucky — the urban streets of Louisville and Lexington, the twists and turns of the state parks, and even underground in all the nooks and crannies of Mammoth Cave. While you’ll find some truly stunning sights in the popular destinations in Kentucky, you definitely need to check out these 10 places that are off the beaten path, but so worth the journey.
1. Rock Bridge and Creation Falls, Red River Gorge
While it is likely that you will encounter other hikers on this trail, it is definitely not as popular as some of the other attractions in Red River Gorge, like Natural Bridge or Gray's Arch. Off of KY-715 is Rock Bridge Road, which is the windy, narrow, gravel road that will lead you to the trailhead. On this hike, you will encounter two unique geological wonders. Rock Bridge is the only natural arch in the Gorge that goes over water, and Creation Falls, which is a gorgeous waterfall.
2. Greenbo Lake State Resort Park, Greenup
Greenbo Lake State Resort Park is one of the lesser known Kentucky state parks, but that's all the more reason to visit! The park is located in far eastern Kentucky, and Greenbo Lake is serene any time of year.
3. Columbus-Belmont State Park, Hickman County
This state park is located on the shores of the Mississippi River, and has some major historical significance. The site was the northern-most Confederate base along the Mississippi. Confederate General Leonidas Polk even stretched a huge chain across the river from Columbus, KY to Belmont, MO to block Union boats. Parts of the chain still exists today.
4. Lilley Cornett Woods, Whitesburg
This old-growth forest in southeastern Kentucky has not had any manmade changes in 150 years. It's also a designated state wildlife refuge. Lilley Cornett, who wanted the forest to remain an old-growth forest, is buried in the woods. Eastern Kentucky University uses the land as a research forest, and the only public hiking is by guided tour only. It's recommended that you call ahead of time to schedule a tour. The number to call is 606-633-5828.
5. Elk and Bison Prairie, Land Between the Lakes, Golden Pond
While you're visiting the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, be sure to visit the Elk and Bison Prairie. This driving tour allows you to see animals in their own habitat from the safety of your car. Entry is $5 per vehicle.
6. Pine Mountain, Pineville
This ridge in the Appalachian Mountains has an abundance of hiking and camping options to help you hit the reset button. It is also known as "the Black Bear Capital of Kentucky," and is home to a ton of other wildlife.
7. Kingdom Come State Park, Cumberland
One of the state parks located on Pine Mountain is Kingdom Come State Park. They have many interesting geological formations, such as Raven Rock, which is a bare limestone rock face that leans at a 45 degree angle. It also has a gorgeous 3.5-acre lake.
8. Camp Wildcat Civil War Battlefield, East Bernstadt
In a remote area of Laurel County, you'll find a narrow gravel road that leads you up Wildcat Mountain to the site where the Battle at Camp Wildcat took place during the Civil War. The site is so remote and undeveloped that you can still see evidence of the trenches the soldiers used during the battle. For more information, and specific instructions on how to get to the battlefield, click
9. Hidden River Cave, Horse Cave
When it comes to caves in Kentucky, everyone has heard of Mammoth Cave. Why not try checking out a lesser known cave in the area? Hidden River Cave is located directly underneath the small town of Horse Cave. Explore this impressive subterranean wonder by taking a guided tour, going zip lining, or checking out the Cave Museum. You can find the cave at 119 E. Main Street in Horse Cave.
10. High Bridge of Kentucky, Jessamine and Mercer Counties
This railroad bridge goes over the Kentucky River to connect Jessamine and Mercer Counties. It was built in 1876 and was the first cantilever bridge in the country, making it somewhat of an architectural triumph at the time. It's now a National Civil Engineering Landmark. There's a park to explore nearby, or bring a canoe or kayak and float down the Kentucky River and admire the bridge from below.
There are plenty more places in Kentucky that are off the beaten path, so leave your favorite secluded destination in the comments!