Seeking adventure in Kentucky

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of November 19 — 25, 1998
Mid-winter skiing in Austria, en famille
Wilderness hiking around Atlanta
Seeking adventure in Kentucky

Seeking adventure in Kentucky

By Amy Marr

Question: I’m looking for good mountain biking and hiking trails in Kentucky. I just moved here, so I could use a good recommendation. Kentucky is such a beautiful state, I’d like to get outdoors and enjoy it. Thanks for your help.

M. Spagnola
Frankfort, Kentucky

Cumberland Gap National Historic Park offers beautiful trails and campsites
Adventure Adviser: In the state’s southwestern corner you’ll find the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area and the Jenny Ridge Trail, one of Kentucky’s best mountain bike rides. The 24-mile out-and-back winds in an out of gorges and past glistening Kentucky Lake. And you’ll probably encounter some wild turkeys, bald eagles, blue herons and a wolf or two. Start your ride from the trailhead at the Jenny Ridge parking area in Golden Pond. Hooper’s Outdoor Center (502-443-5396) can outfit you and offer directions. A drive from Frankfort, but worth the trip.

As for hiking, I’d head into the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park (606-248-2817), which you can access via U.S. 25E. The Ridge Trail is an excellent choice, and a 16.6 mile trek cresting the Cumberland Mountains. You’ll be hiking through dense forests of hickory, oak and maple, and the steep mountainsides are punctuated by vistas of the surrounding valleys. You can do a portion of the trail as a day-trip, or plan a multi-day affair, making use of the four backcountry campsites en route. Or, for something a bit more luxurious, call the park and reserve Martin’s Fork Cabin ($10/night), and invite five or your new friends.

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