The Best Outdoor Activities in Kentucky

Discover the best hiking, camping, backpacking, fitness, and more.

Hike the Indian Staircase Loop and Cloudsplitter

Kentucky / Red River Gorge

Starting at the Bison Way Trailhead #210. You'll take this until you come to the intersection of the Sheltowee Trace Trail #100. Go left.

Jen Kachinski
438 Saves

Explore the Lookout from Chained Rock

Kentucky / Chained Rock Parking Area

Located just north of the Cumberland Gap, Chained Rock is a local landform made unique by a long slung chain that comes with a tall tale of it's creation.

Michael Wigle
231 Saves

Hike to Natural Bridge and Battleship Rock

Kentucky / Natural Bridge Parking Area

This popular hike begins near the state park gift shop and has options to continue to other trails at multiple points. The first .

Brennan Farley
167 Saves

Hike the Pinnacles in Berea

Kentucky / The Pinnacles Hiking Trails

This is a trip with multiple sites to visit over the course of a day. Visiting all five would equal around 5 miles, or you can choose to only go to one, as there are some slightly strenuous hills.

Nicky Howard
137 Saves

Camp at Miguel's Pizza

Kentucky / Miguel's Pizza

The Red River Gorge is known for the best rock climbing in the east. A man named Miguel opened a pizzeria in the gorge, and soon began letting climbers camp behind the restaurant for a mere $2/night.

Shalee Blackmer
112 Saves

Hike the Wilderness Lake Trail

Kentucky / John James Audubon SP Visitors Center

This well kept trail is one of seven trails at John James Audubon State Park. A great short hike for the family starts at roughly 600 ft with minimal elevation change.

Brennan Farley
103 Saves

Hike to Whittleton Arch

Kentucky / Whittleton Campground

Starting from the Whittleton Campground, you will follow along a stream until reaching the Whittleton Arch Trail at 0.75 miles. Turn right to reach the arch.

Hike to Gray's Arch

Kentucky / Gray's Arch Trailhead

The trail approaches the arch through a ravine, passing by cliffs, dense forest, and a stream (Kings Branch) en route. Photo Credit: Sean Underhill

Backpack Chimney Top Loop

Kentucky / Koomer Ridge Trailhead

Start out on Koomer Ridge Trail to see Hidden Arch. You will then head into the Right Fork Chimney Top Creek watershed, where you'll spend the night.

Hike to Courthouse Rock and Double Arch

Kentucky / Auxier Ridge Trailhead

Start at the trailhead located just past the Gray's Arch picnic area. Follow Auxier Ridge Trail #204 (white diamonds). You will pass a trail junction at 0.9 miles, but continue on Auxier Ridge.

Hike or Bike Big Hollow Loop Trail

Kentucky / Maple Springs Trailhead

This loop trail in Mammoth Cave National Park combines a north and south loop, which are 5.3 miles and 3.7 miles, respectively. The south loop is a bit more challenging than the north loop.

Hike to Lick Falls

Kentucky / Lick Falls Trailhead

The Grayson Lake State Park has two trails – the Lick Falls Loop Trail, and the 0.8 mile Beech-Hemlock Forest Trail. Lick Falls is best done after a rain, to make sure the falls are flowing.

Hike Raven Run Nature Sanctuary Trail

Kentucky / Raven Run Nature Sanctuary Trailhead

Raven Run Park is a 734-acre nature sanctuary near the Kentucky River Palisades. After signing in at the nature center, head out via the connecting trail to Red Trail.

Hike to Eagle Falls, Cumberland Falls SRP

Kentucky / Eagle Falls Trailhead

Rated easy to moderate, this hike does have lots of stairs. Rated easy to moderate, this hike does have lots of stairs.

Hike the Millennium Trail, Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest

Kentucky / Millennium Trailhead

The Millennium Trail in the Bernheim Forest combines a number of trails into a full day's hike. The well-marked trail passes over ridges and through forest and meadows, with some ups and downs.

Hike to the Cave at Asbury Trails

Kentucky / Asbury University Trails

The Asbury University trail system is located just south of Wilmore, KY along the lush emerald banks of the Kentucky River.

Pete Howe
51 Saves

Hike the Cedar Sink Trail

Kentucky / Cedar Sink Trailhead

Starting at the parking lot off of National Park Boundary Road, you will follow the marked sign on the path until you hit a set of metal stairs heading downward.

Alex Harrison
47 Saves

Hike the Creation Falls and Rock Bridge Loop

Kentucky / Creation Falls and Rock Bridge Loop

From the Slade, KY exit take KY15 toward Campton to KY715 to Rock Bridge Rd.  Park at the Rock Bridge picnic area and take the trailhead closest to the entrance.

Curtis Liska
5 Saves

Hike Rock Bridge Loop to Pooch Turtle Falls and Turtle Back Arch

Kentucky / Rock Bridge Trailhead

Extend your Rock Bridge Loop and explore more areas of the Clifty Wilderness Area of Daniel Boone National Forrest.  From Rock Bridge Loop (#207) take Swift Camp Creek Trail (#219).

Curtis Liska
4 Saves