The state of Kentucky is truly one of the most beautiful states in our country. Simply by hiking in the mountains, you can find not only great views, but also wonderful waterfalls!
Over the past couple of years, hiking has become a major passion of mine. There is just something about getting away from the rush of everyday life and taking time to simply just be. And I think we can all agree that seeing a nice view, especially at sunrise or sunset, makes for a wonderful day!
I have visited a few areas in Kentucky over the past year that I would like to share with you all, especially since it is the hiking season! Granted, there are not a ton of places on my list, but hopefully this short list will give you a little inspiration and new ideas for beautiful places to visit in our state.
Anglin Falls – Berea, KY
Anglin Falls in a short hike, although it can be tricky to find. If you want to find it easily, simply GPS ‘Anglin Falls Road’ and once you get onto that road, keep driving until you see the sign to turn in. Although this hike is short, it leads to an extraordinarily beautiful view with a waterfall! You can even hike up on top of the waterfall. I would suggest that you save this hike for a day after it has recently rained so the fall is more powerful. And I would also suggest that you stand under the fall! It’s amazing.
Chained Rock – Pineville, KY
Chained Rock is located at Pine Mountain State Park. This hike, much like Anglin Falls, is short (are you noticing a trend here?). The hike is only 0.5 miles. It leads to a beautiful view of the city of Pineville and also has huge rocks that you can climb on (but be careful!). It is called Chained Rock because of the massive chain (fun fact: each link weighs seven pounds) that covers both of the large rocks. It is a beautiful hike. I enjoyed it mainly because it is a lot different than views you normally see when hiking.
The Pinnacles – Berea, KY
If you live around Richmond or Berea, you have definitely heard of the Pinnacles. It is a very popular hiking spot, and for a good reason! It’s beautiful. When you visit the Pinnacles, there are several hiking trails that you can choose from, including: West Pinnacle, Indian Fort Lookout, and East Pinnacle. Some trails are more lengthy and more difficult than others, but the signs will provide you with that information so you can pick the trail that is best for you. Personally, I enjoy hiking to the East Pinnacle the most. It has several lookout points and offers the best view during sunrise.
Raven Run Nature Sanctuary – Lexington, KY
Although Raven Run is located in the Lexington area, it offers beautiful views of nature. This area includes several hiking trails, differentiated by color. If you follow along the Red Trail, you will find yourself at the Overlook of the Kentucky River. The view of the river is beautiful and can easily be seen (as pictured below). If you choose to hike along the Red Trail (it is 4 miles long), there are many times along the way where another trail will intercept. If you want to see the Overlook, but do not want to hike the entire four mile loop, you can choose to branch off onto a different trail along the way!
No pets allowed. Service animals are allowed (excludes emotional support animals).
Red River Gorge – Slade, KY
If you live in Kentucky, you have heard about Red River Gorge and Natural Bridge (Natural Bridge is not pet-friendly — service animals only). RRG offers so many hiking trails with beautiful views, and even places to swim in certain locations! If you visit RRG, you have the opportunity to hike Natural Bridge or any of the other trails that are offered, go kayaking, visit the Reptile Museum, and of course, grab a slice of pizza at Miguel’s! If you want to go to RRG, I would suggest that you plan to dedicate an entire day there.
Pet-friendly! (excluding Natural Bridge)
Vanhook Falls – London, KY
Vanhook Falls is personally one of my favorite locations. As you follow along the trail to view the several small waterfalls, you will notice that you find yourself wandering through beautiful terrain. In this location, I can honestly say that the entire hike is beautiful. Vanhook Falls hosts three waterfalls, I believe (I have only seen two because of an issue with my pup) and they are wonderful. You could even swim in the fall pictured below! Tip: when you park in the lot for Vanhook Falls, do not go on either of the trails that are on the same side of the road as the parking lot — I made this mistake, too. You will walk across the highway to begin the trail (there will be a sign where the trail begins).
Hopefully you have found some new places in Kentucky to visit! Remember to be careful on these hiking trips: stay on the trail, be careful when on ridges or climbing rocks, and watch out for snakes! Also, make sure you bring plenty of water with you, especially if the trail is lengthy (both for you and your dog). If you bring food or bottled water with you, please remember to pick up your own trash so we can keep Kentucky trails and parks clean! #LeaveNoTrace