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Best Hiking Trails in Kentucky – USA

Overview

Kentucky, the Bluegrass state, has a small mountainous area in the southeast US where the the Allegheny Mountains run through this state.  The main areas for hiking in Kentucky include: Monongahela National Forest, Dolly Sods Wilderness, New River Gorge, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, and Wolf Gap Recreation Area. The best months to hike in Kentucky are April to October. Read on for more information on where and when to hike in Kentucky. 

Capital: Frankfort

When To Hike in Kentucky – USA?

April – October: Driest period, particularly in August.
March; November
December – March: Cold, rain/snow

Climate: Subtropical highland – cool/warm summers, cool winters, precipitation throughout the year. 

 

NWS Forecast Office Louisville, KY

Accessibility of Hiking

Easy: Well-marked trails with good maps and guidebooks and other resources to help with hiking trip planning.

Transportation required: Car

Where to stay in Kentucky for hiking:

  • Cumberland
  • Pineville
  • Loyall

Most popular hikes in Kentucky – USA

The main areas to hike are in the Appalachian Mountains in a very small area in the southeast corner of the state, on the border with Virginia, West Virginia, as well as Tennesee. Highest Mountain: Black Mountain (1263 m) in Appalachian Mountains.

Filter out hiking places of Kentucky – USA by month

Click on the red map pointers to see more info.

Red River Gorge Geological Area

  • Popular place for hiking

Kingdom Come State Park

Kentenia State Forest

  • For some reason the link is blocked

Long Distance Trails of Kentucky – USA

Kentucky – USA's Walking & Hiking Resources

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Kentucky Hiking Books: 

  • Hiking Kentucky: A Guide to the State’s Greatest Hiking Adventures, by Johnny Molloy and Carrie Stambaugh, 2023, Falcon Guides – https://amzn.to/3Q8pxa2
  • Hiking Waterfalls Kentucky: A Guide to the State’s Best Waterfall Hikes, by Johnny Molloy, 2019, Falcon Guides – https://amzn.to/3JtGxUp
  • Backpacking Kentucky: Your Guide to the Most Beautiful Trials in the Bluegrass, by Valerie Askren, 2017, Bluegrass Adventures – https://amzn.to/3w45t1J
  • Hiking Kentucky’s Red River Gorge, by Sean Patrick Hill, 2019, Menasha Ridge Press – https://amzn.to/4b0JtUC
  • 50 Hikes in Kentucky (2nd Edition) (Explorer’s 50 Hikes), by Hiram Rogers, 2017, Countryman Press – https://amzn.to/3Q8Nqyh

 

Kentucky Hiking Associations/Clubs: 

 

Best Hiking Trails in Kentucky:

You can find more details on hiking these trails from hiking guidebooks, official park websites, trail maps/apps, other websites, and tourist offices:

  • Indian Staircase and Indian Arch Loop – Red River Gorge
  • Pinnacle Trail – Cumberland Gap National Historic Park
  • Laurel Cove Trail – Pine Mountain State Resort Park
  • Gibson Gap Trail to Ridge Trail – Cumberland Gap National Historic Park
  • Lewis Hollow Trail to Skylight Cave – Cumberland Gap National Historic Park
  • Koomer Ridge Trail – Red River Gorge

Easy Hiking Trails in Kentucky:

  • Eagle Falls – Cumberland Falls State Park
  • Double Arch, Courthouse Rock and Auxier Ridge Loop – Red River Gorge

 

Kentucky Hiking Websites:

 

Kentucky Weather Website:

 

Kentucky Official Tourism Site:  

 

Kentucky Hiking Apps: 

 

Kentucky Hiking Maps: 

What Else To Do

  • Mammoth Cave National Park – contains world’s longest cave system

Other Important Points