Kentucky is best known for the Kentucky Derby, bourbon, and bluegrass, but the landscape is incredibly diverse, making Kentucky a hidden gem for hiking destinations. You can explore epic rock formations, mountains, cave systems, and waterfalls, just to name a few of Kentucky’s natural beauty. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced trail master, this list of the 5 best trails will have you in awe at the beauty of Kentucky.
Double Arch Trail at Red River Gorge
Along with Utah and Arizona, Kentucky is home to some of the largest natural stone arches in the United States. Double Arch Trail is an out and back trail that covers 4.4 miles across mostly flat terrain. This popular trail takes you along a mostly flat gravel road and down a few stairs. You end up at the trail’s main feature, the beautiful Double Arch, along with expansive views of Red River Gorge. This trail is fairly easy and is open year-round.
Panoramic Trail at Daniel Boone National Forest
The Panoramic Trail is an easy 1.1 mile out and back trail perfect for a casual hike for all ages to enjoy the sweeping views of the Daniel Boone National Forest. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow and is only a short drive from Lexington.
Eagle Falls Trail in Cumberland Falls State Park
The Eagle Falls Trail has been named the Best Trail in Kentucky, and it’s no surprise. This loop trail offers tremendous views of two beautiful waterfalls, Cumberland and Eagle Falls. Cumberland is often called the Niagara of the South, and although this hike is short at 1.5 miles, it can be a bit strenuous through uphill and stairs but is well worth the view.
Green River Bluffs Trail at Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park is worthy of a several-day visit and is a perfect destination for people who love adventure. Mammoth Cave is the longest underground system in the world, and while you can go on a tour of the caves, you shouldn’t sleep on the surrounding trail systems that explore the beauty above ground. The Green River Bluff Trail can be explored extensively over 4.5 miles and is a moderately difficult trail that takes you to views of Green River from above, Dixon Cave, natural sinkholes, and parts of Heritage Trail.
Rock Bridge Trail at Red River Gorge
Rock Bridge Trail is truly a scenic wonder that is diverse yet easy to follow. Rated as a moderate hike, this 1.4-mile loop takes you through a hemlock forest. You’ll come across fun cave formations and Creation Falls until you reach the natural sandstone bridge that spans Swift Camp Creek.
Hiking in Kentucky offers fantastic views of natural stone arches, lush forests, and flora, beautiful scenic landscapes by way of over 800 trails across the state. This list barely grazes the surface of some of the best places to hike in Kentucky, but it’s enough to inspire you to get outdoors and explore the bluegrass state.