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Kentucky Hiking Trail Finder
This site is designed to provide quick, organized access to informative Kentucky hiking websites. Hiking enthusiasts like you have created excellent web pages on Kentucky hiking trails -- then posted those pages on free web servers -- only to be ignored by search engines. The purpose of this site is to provide a way to find these personal hiking pages, and make your research easier.
- Big South Fork River National Recreation Area good backpack trip narrative with photos, route follows John Muir Trail and Duncan Hollow Trail. Fun site by "Dave."
- Big South Fork -- Leatherwood Ford Area on the backpackcamp.com website. Good photos & trail info.
- Big South Fork River National Recreation Area official NPS site; more in-depth than most. Has link to trail descriptions of Blue Heron loop trail with PDF map, Yahoo Falls trail, and Catawba Overlook trail. Framed site so we can't link directly to the page, but it's not too tough to find.
- Blanton Forest State Nature Preserve At 2,577 acres, Blanton Forest State Nature Preserve in Harlan County protects the largest old-growth forest in Kentucky. The trail begins at Camp Blanton, a private facility located adjacent to the preserve, and leads roughly two miles up the south face of Pine Mountain to a large sandstone rock outcrop known as Knobby Rock. From Knobby Rock, visitors gain a spectacular birdís-eye view of the surrounding forest. The approximately three-hour hike through towering hemlocks, rhododendron thickets and mixed oak-hickory forest to Knobby Rock and back is moderately strenuous. site by Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission.
- Breaks Interstate Park This page is on a terrific Kentucky hiking site by John Pitt; a must-click. Trails described include Beaver Pond Trail, Center Trail, Chestnut Ridge Nature Trail, Cold Spring Trail, Deer Trail, Geological Trail, Grassy Creek Trail, Grassy Overlook Trail, Lake Trail, Laurel Branch Trail, Loop Trail, Overlook Trail, Prospector Trail, Ridge Trail, River Trail, Towers Overlook Trail, Tower Tunnel Trail. Photos, links, you name it.
- Cave City Area well, not a hiking site exactly, rather an official guide to local public & privately operated cave tours in the Cave City area. So you'll have to do some hiking. Anyway it's a good link to be aware of if you're headed to Mammoth Cave NP, since it provides quick access to websites for all the key caves in the region.
- Cave Run Lake This site has elevation profiles for all official trails in the Cave
Run Lake area. Also, link to a demanding geocache and pictures of the
area can be found here. From the OutrageGIS.com commercial site by Boyd Shearer. Poke around and you'll find the free stuff. Go ahead, he won't mind.
- Cumberland Gap another page on the OutrageGIS.com site, this one offers free GPS waypoint files for views, trail intersections, campsites, and peaks for the Cumberland Gap NHP. Also audio and pictures of the park can be found.
- General KyWilderness.com outstanding, outstanding site. Every state should have a site like this one. Links to trail descriptions, archives, photos, message board...you name it. We would like to swipe all their links and put them on this page, but figure you ought to just click here instead. Focus is on Red River Gorge and other Eastern Kentucky areas. Site by Arthur Sharp and Jason Burton.
- General KentuckyAdventure.com website is kind of a continuing journal on various hikes, camping trips, wilderness adventures, etc. Cumberland Lake, Cumberland Falls, Yahoo Falls, Princess Falls, Short Creek...among the many well-written articles by Steve Conner. Good reading, good site, nice photography too.
- General -- Northern Kentucky on the "Southern Indiana Trails" website, covers a lot of hiking opportunities on this side of the river. Individual pages provide directions, trail maps, info, and plenty of photos. Hiking pages include Audubon State Park,
Henderson-Sloughs Area, Atkinson Park, Panther Creek Park, Ben Hawes State Park, Yellow Creek Park, and Higginson-Henry WMA (any relation to Prof. Henry Higgins?) anyway, it's worth a look. The Kentucky pages are found on the right hand side of the page, scroll down a bit.
- John Muir Trail Big South Fork River National Recreation Area description of the area, photo record of backpack on the John Muir Trail. Links, great photos. Personal site by Chuck Morlock. Very good site to check out.
- Mammoth Cave National Park this is a comprehensive hiking page for Mammoth Cave on a comprehensive site by John William Uhler. If you are planning a visit to Mammoth Cave, this is just about the only reference you'll need. Mr. Uhler is careful to point out that his sites are not affiliated with the National Park Service, which is a good thing, since most of the Park Service sites aren't nearly as informative. We also like his National Park sites better because once we link to them, they don't vanish mysteriously the way the official NPS sites do.
- Mammoth Cave not an info resource, but a nice trip report with some excellent photos. From the "Adventure Cruising Enthusiasts" website. The "ACE" guys are all young, thin, good looking, and cruise around with Corvettes and motorcycles, hiking and meeting pretty girls. It's not surprising that they spend very little time on their website. At least us old minivan guys have cool websites. That counts for something, right? Doesn't it?
- North/South Trail ó Land Between the Lakes very good introduction to the area from Chuck Morlock's site. Great photos, quick read.
- Owensboro -- Panther Creek Park good page with directions, basic info, maps, details, and plenty of photos for hiking opportunities in Panther Creek. Will give you a pretty good advance look at the park. On the Southern Indiana Trails website...guess they venture over the river every now and then.
- Pine Mountain Area key hiking area on Virginia/Kentucky border. This is an outstanding website by John Pitt, with links to highly informative descriptions of virtually every trail in Pine Mountain and surroundings, including Cumberland Gap, Kingdom Come State Park, and more. Well done.
- Pine Mountain Trail official site of the Pine Mountain Trail Conference.
- Red Byrd Arch describes trail, arch. Excellent reading but no real trail info. Incidentally, one of the few places on the web where you can find a photo of Red Byrd Arch. Not a great photo, and it won't help you find the arch, but there's not much else available.
- Red River Gorge David Fisher's site with some outstanding photos. Excellent photo essay of a hike to Timmons Arch and Adena Arch, two spectacular but seldom-seen arches in the region. Other arches and features are also covered. This is one of those "must click" websites if you are headed to RRG. Look for specific links at the top of the page. You can check out my photos here.
- Red River Gorge intro to the area, parking suggestions, ideas for two hikes. Page by Marv Welte.
- Red River Gorge This is a commercial mapping site run by a pleasant gentleman named Boyd Shearer, with some free online 3D maps and other info including GPS waypoint file for views and
campsites, pictures, and audio for the hiker. Good link to have in your arsenal.
- Sheltowee Trace Page describes a backpack (could be done as a slackpack or even a one-day slam) along a stretch of the Sheltowee Trace Trail between County Road 6234 and Laurel River Dam. It's 20-mile trek featuring waterfalls, a multitude of wildlife viewing opportunities, two strategically placed overnight shelters, and a well marked trail. This is nice page on the Kentucky Wilderness website.
- Sheltowee Trace here's a forum/map/photo gallery site (guess who runs it) exclusively on the Sheltowee Trace, start to finish. For those of you unfamiliar with this, the Sheltowee Trace is kind of like a miniature Appalachian Trail just for for Kentucky. Good site.
My first exposure to this region was a quick, unplanned stop at Natural Bridge State Park. It seemed a bit out of the way after driving all day, but we were in need of a diversion. The surrounding area gave little indication of what we were in store for, although I was vaguely aware of the Red River Gorge. Most of the mile or so hike to the sandstone bridge was hardly different from what you might expect in the Shenandoah, or the Smokies, or parts of Connecticut for that matter; just a pleasant walk in the woods. Suddenly the receding sunlight blazed through a massive hole in the wall...while still surrounded by forest, we were staring at a feature that seemed to have been lifted out of Utah.
Time was short, so we had to continue driving east without further exploration. But I vowed to return, and upon doing so found that the region really is like Utah...with an Eastern hardwood forest planted on it. This is truly one of the must-see, must-explore locales in the United States.
Although you can garner a lot of information from web sites -- and we'll continue to add links above -- the indispensible guidebook to the region is
Kentucky's Land of the Arches by Robert H. Ruchhoft and Linda Sears. You won't find this in your local bookstore, but it is available at a number of gas stations, souvenir and fireworks stores once you reach the Slade, KY area. I found it to be an indispensible guide; reading it each night during my stay to plan the following day. The link above in this paragraph will take you to Amazon if you wish to obtain it in advance. Recommend that you order at least a month prior to your visit; the book is published regionally and is not shipped from stock, but it is quite safe to order online if you have the luxury of time...you'll find it most helpful. And yes, it's worth the extra two bucks Amazon clobbers you with to get it in advance. I have a copy of this book that I bought in Slade, and I browse through it from time to time when I feel like "escaping" to the Red River Gorge.
You might want to check this page again from time to time, we're trying to link to a CD-ROM product that offers all the "ins-and-outs" of finding the arches; I am acquainted with the publisher and am waiting for him to finish work. In the meantime, here's a webpage I created that will provide further information on the area.
With the rain in my shoes...
Rogers, KY is the hamlet I stayed in during my most recent visit. It had been at least a quarter century since I had to step over a sleeping dog to enter a general store, but had the privilege of doing it again in Rogers. It was also the first place I had the privilege of listening to a solo banjo instrumental performance of Old Rugged Cross during a church service. Needless to say, I hope to spend more time there.
Prior to that visit, I picked up a copy of
50 Hikes in Kentucky: From the Appalachian Mountains to the Land Between the Lakes by Hiram Rogers, and scanned through most of the book. I have to admit that I was so captivated by the solitude and sheer beauty of the Red River Gorge area that I extended my stay in Rogers and never got to the other areas I had scheduled to visit. But I can say from previous trips to Mammoth Cave, Land Between the Lakes, and other areas that this is another fine offering from the "50 Hikes" folks. This link, to amazon.com, will save you a couple dollars off the cover price.
-- Rick Bolger
Please click here for the Slackpacker web site
Want to add YOUR Kentucky hiking page? It's free, it's easy, and there are no strings attached. Please click the "Submit a Site" button, above left, for instructions and complete information.
Got kids? Got kids? Recently caught this guy, Brady Rymer, at a show in the northeast. Infectious to say the least, a fun, energetic sing-along type thing had the audience singing and grinning from ear to ear. Now don't ask why, but I bought the CD (my own kids are teenagers) and now I can't get these tunes out of my head. If you've got kids between the ages of 2 and 7 or thereabouts, you'll just love this music. So much better musically and lyrically than the usual drivel recorded for kids, that mind-numbing stuff that drives you nuts. If you don't have kids, you'll have to think up some other excuse for buying it. And when you do, let me know, because my daughters think I'm crazy. Not sure where'd you find it in stores, so here's a direct link to Amazon.com for I Found It! and again, the singer's name is Brady Rymer. Just great stuff, excellent gift for pre-K kids.