Are you visiting the area and looking for things to do outside? Let us recommend some of our finest trails and outdoor activities with breathtaking views.
Daniel Boone first explored this region in the late 1700s. We call it “Daniel Boone Country” and it’s got some of Kentucky’s best hiking and outdoor adventures.
We’ve put together some itineraries of some of our favorite places, so whether you’re looking for a full day adventure, or just something nearby to stretch your legs, there something for you. For more detailed information about the area, see the Daniel Boone Country page on Kentucky Tourism’s website.
- A Day in the Red River Gorge Area (1.5 hours northwest of cabin)
- A Day in the Cumberland River Area (1.5 hours southwest of cabin)
- Half-day outdoor adventures nearby
A Day in the Red River Gorge
The Red River Gorge is a unique, scenic natural area that attracts thousands of visitors each year. Spectacular rock features, including sandstone arches and towering cliffs, are just part of the attraction. Outdoor enthusiasts come to the gorge year-round to enjoy hiking, camping, canoeing, wildlife viewing and other recreation opportunities. Here are the outdoor activities we recommend.
Hike to the Arches
Natural Bridge State park has the largest and most accessible arch in the Gorge. The state park has a lot of amenities including a restaurant at the lodge and a sky lift to the top of the mountain. The Sheltowee Trace – Kentucky’s longest trail – runs right through the state park. Check the website for seasonal events and activities. There are also many small arches in the Red River Gorge geological area. In fact, climbers come from all over the world to this area year round.
We recommend Muir Valley for experienced climbers, which is privately-owned. They charge no fee for climbing, but you will have to pay a small parking fee and sign a waiver on their website in order to climb. You will need your own gear as there are no rentals available. Check out Red River Climbing for a list of other world-renowned climbing routes in the Gorge.
No matter what you do at the Gorge, you must stop at the famed Miguel’s Pizza before you head back. It is located less than a mile from the Natural Bridge State Park entrance and typically hosts rock climbers who camp in tents behind the restaurant. They have more than pizza, including vegan and gluten-free options. Food has never tasted so good after a day in the Gorge!
A Day on the Cumberland River
Cumberland Falls is known as the Niagara Falls of the south. Plan your trip to Cumberland and/or Laurel Lake in advance to make sure you get the most of your day. Here are some activities you can do in the area:
Boating and fishing at Laurel Lake
Rent motorized boats at Holly Bay Marina. You can set up a day-camp at a picnic area at Holly Bay Campground along the lake shoreline where you can fish, hike, and bike along the Sheltowee Trace trail that runs along the lakeshore inlets.
The most visited waterfalls in this area are Cumberland Falls and Dog Slaughter Falls (don’t let the morbid-sounding name scare you off – is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Bluegrass!).
If you happen to be in the area during a full moon, you might try to see the moonbow at Cumberland Falls. It is one of the few places in the world that regularly produces a moonbow, also called a white rainbow or lunar rainbow. It is formed just like a rainbow—light is refracted in tiny water droplets—and appears for the two or so days, as long as the sky is clear, on either end of the full moon. Find more information and dates to see it here.
Kayaking and white water rafting
Plan ahead by visiting the website of Sheltowee Trace Adventure Resorts and Outfitters. They are located just few miles from Cumberland Falls (about 1.5 hour drive from cabin). However, be sure you book well in advance and talk with someone by phone to get details on the tours, shuttle supported trips, river conditions, and needs of your party. It is well worth the trip if you want a serious water adventure.
Mountain biking and rail biking. Again, if you have a full day and you want some serious mountain biking (e.g you brought your own bikes and gear), I would recommend checking out the guided tours and options at Sheltowee Trace Adventure Resorts and Outfitters.
Half Day Adventures (2-5 hours)
Kayaking at Owsley Fork Reservoir is a beautiful 150-acre lake that is 10 minutes from the cabin. Rent kayaks from Get Outside KY or bring your own non-motorized boat and enjoy. Rentals must be made 24-48 hours in advance. Pack a lunch and a hammock when you want to go ashore and eat and relax. Fishing is allowed, just be sure you have a KY license. Look for bald eagles that are often in the area. The Reservoir is surrounded by mountains and is very scenic but remote. There is only a boat launch and no restrooms or camp facilities, so come prepared.
Anglin Falls is an amazing 22-foot waterfall that is a 20 minute drive from the cabin. The trek is only 1.7 miles from the parking lot and is at a moderate level. The waterfall is often frozen in the winter and worth the hike. Parking is limited. .You can find directions and a map of the trail on the Forestry Outreach Center’s website.
Lake Reba in Richmond (30 minutes) is a city park with lots of amenities. It is a 450-acre recreational complex that includes nature trails, an 18 hole miniature golf course, batting cage facility, sports fields, picnic pavilions, walking trails, shuffleboard court, playground, dog park, and a 75-acre fishing and boating lake (see Lake Reba Adventure Kayaks for boat rentals). So if you have a family and your party needs multiple options of things to do, this is a great option. It is also close to shopping in Richmond if some of your party prefers the indoors.
Hike at Indian Fort / Pinnacle Trails These trails have been voted as the best hike in Kentucky and are only 10 minutes from the cabin. There are several trails ranging from easy to difficult. This is a must-do activity while you are in the area. Berea College Forestry Outreach Center at the trail head is open daily 10am-4pm and you can get advice from volunteers, use restrooms and fill your water bottles. There is ample parking and a great place to start your hike, bike or walking activities. Most trails lead up to overlooks that are breathtaking and worth the hike. You can spend as little as 1 hour for a quick up and back trail run or up to 4 hours hike and do all four overlooks. See a map of the trails here.
Bike Berea’s shared use paved trails are a great way to see the area. Park at the Forestry Outreach Center and take the trail to College Square and back, about 1.5 hours round trip. There are restaurants and fudge shops open from 10am-7pm most days where you can get a snack and relax. Or be more daring and continue your bike ride out to the Artisan Center off I-75. Here is a link to a map of the trail system.
Hike Berea’s Brushy Fork Trail System that is right behind Berea College and consists of 6 miles of interconnecting trails and loops. It is excellent for trail running and hiking. This is a great option if your group wants to split up between hikers and shoppers in Berea.
Walk the John Stevenson Memorial Trail which starts in Berea and is a leisurely walk on a paved trail with beautiful scenery. There are 3 sections, about 1 mile each, so you can walk as little or as much as you’d like. You don’t want to miss where the Brushy Fork Creek and Silver Creek meet. It’s a peaceful spot with a bench to rest about 1/2 mile from the trail head.