Ever since Daniel Boone blazed a trail through the Cumberland Gap into the heart of Kentucky, it has been home to limitless possibilities for adventure. The Bluegrass State offers a variety of trails that stretch over thousands of miles. With so much variety, there is something to please everyone looking for adventure in the great outdoors. If time is limited, day-hike options can be found in just about every Kentucky community. Not only are there great experiences for trail users, but paddlers and blue-water users will find top-quality experiences as well. With more miles of navigable waters than any other state in the continental U.S., Kentucky offers a vast and seemingly endless playground waiting to be explored. Sportsmen and women find abundant populations of game species to pursue and countless chances to cast a line and reel in the catch of a lifetime. Dozens of parks and recreational areas cater to the needs of Kentuckians and visitors alike. They offer people a chance to get out and experience Kentucky in a natural setting.
Kentucky is proud to have several national parks and recreation areas with great options for overnight trail experiences. Through-hikers can really stretch their legs on the 280-mile Sheltowee Trace that runs north and south through the 700,000-acre Daniel Boone National Forest with trails that extend to hundreds of sandstone arches and waterfalls.
Extensive trail mileage can also be found at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area in western Kentucky. Nestled between Kentucky and Barkley Lakes, LBL is a destination that caters to all types of outdoor enthusiasts including over 100 miles of ATV trails and over 40 mils of mountain biking trails.
Mammoth Cave, Cumberland Gap and the Big South Fork also offer plenty of trails for visitors to explore, even if they’re only staying for a short while. And adventure seekers can choose to sleep under the stars in comfortable campgrounds or rough it in the backcountry.
Kentucky has the finest state park system in the nation, and it proudly hosts thousands of visitors each year. Kentucky’s 51 state parks are located at some of the most significant historical, natural and cultural sites in the state. With over 250 miles of trails at Kentucky state parks, travelers to every region of the commonwealth can find some great trails nearby. There is plenty to discover at any one of Kentucky’s State Parks for people of all ages.
This abundance of adventurous terrain makes Kentucky a natural choice to host a great number of events and competitions. From Wild Water National Team Trials to Adventure Racing national championships, competitors and event organizers continue to bring their events to Kentucky. Group rides and hikes are happening every weekend at several locations across the state.