Sometimes you just need to escape the hustle and bustle of your day-to-day life to enjoy the great outdoors. Luckily, living in Kentucky means you have easy access to more than 40 state parks, the Daniel Boone National Forest (which encompasses 635,000 acres of land), and more scenic spots. The next time you’re itching to get out of the city for an outdoor adventure, check out one of these popular hiking destinations.
Red River Gorge and Natural Bridge State Park
You can get from Lexington to Red River Gorge in a little over an hour. There are miles of hiking trails to explore in the area since the gorge is adjacent to Kentucky’s Natural Bridge State Resort Park. One of the most popular spots among visitors is a 78-foot-long sandstone rock bridge called Natural Bridge. You can also go rock climbing and ziplining, or stay overnight thanks to camping, cabin, and treehouse accommodations. After a long day of adventuring, you’ll want to enjoy a slice of pizza and a cold beer at Miguel’s.
The Pinnacles in the Berea College Forest
The Pinnacles, which were once named the best hike in Kentucky by Outside magazine, boast beginner, intermediate, and more difficult hiking trails. Many of the hikes lead to scenic overlooks with unhindered views of the forest. Plus, leashed dogs are allowed to join you on the trails, unlike some of the state parks in the area, and you can get there in less than an hour if you’re coming from Lexington.
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
If you want to hike alongside waterfalls, you can drive to Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, which is home to a 68-foot tall waterfall that’s often referred to as “Little Niagara” or the “Niagara of the South,” in just under two hours. The park has 17 miles of hiking trails, which range from a short 0.5-mile walk to a more rigorous 10.8-mile hike. Interested in getting an up-close look at the giant waterfall? They offer guided rafting trips each summer, June through Labor Day.