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What to expect

Kentucky has 510 trails including medium and easy trails. The trail with the highest elevation climb is the Greenway Trail and the one with the least climb is the Brush Mountain and Hensley Settlement Trail. The longest trail is Sheltowee Trace Trail at 568 km. To complete this hike you should budget at least 29 days. For a shorter adventure, you can try the Pinacle Road a t 308 m. This could be done in as little as 1 days. Trails with the best offering of hostels include Iroquois Park Loop, Hartland Lake Loop, River Hill Park Loop, Belleau Woods Park Loop, and F-G-H Lake and Path of Statues Loop.

Guide to hiking in Kentucky

Be prepared for hiking in Kentucky with the HiiKER app

FAQs about hiking in Kentucky

What is the climate like for hiking in Kentucky?

Kentucky’s climate offers unique hiking experiences each season. The mild spring weather, with blooming dogwoods, makes for perfect hiking conditions. Summers can be hot and humid, requiring extra hydration, but the lush greenery is captivating.
In autumn, hiking amidst vibrant fall colors is a breathtaking experience, despite cooler temperatures. Winter, though colder, can provide serene, snow-dusted trails for the more adventurous.
Overall, spring and fall offer the most comfortable conditions for hiking in Kentucky. More detailed climate data is available at Kentucky Climate Center.

Do I need a permit to hike in Kentucky?

While many Kentucky trails require no permits, certain areas like Red River Gorge necessitate a parking pass. These can be acquired at local ranger stations or online. Always verify specific requirements with the managing agency, such as the Kentucky Department of Parks, to ensure a hassle-free hiking experience. More info at Kentucky Department of Parks.

Is wild camping allowed in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, wild camping is generally permitted in national forests like Daniel Boone, with certain restrictions. Always maintain distance from water sources and trails, and remember the leave-no-trace principles. Local regulations should be verified with Kentucky Department of Parks or Forest Service. More guidelines are at Kentucky Wild Camping.

Are there mountain rescue services in Kentucky?

In case of hiking emergencies in Kentucky, call 911 first. The Kentucky Search and Rescue (KY-SAR) works alongside local authorities for mountain rescues. It's prudent to inform local rangers of your route beforehand, especially in remote areas. Additional information can be found at

Are there dangerous plants in Kentucky?

Hiking in Kentucky offers encounters with diverse flora. Expect towering oak and hickory trees in the Daniel Boone National Forest, vibrant wildflowers in Bernheim Arboretum, and the renowned bluegrass in meadows. However, plants like poison ivy require caution. Embrace Kentucky's flora mindfully. More at

What wildlife should I be aware of when hiking in Kentucky?

Kentucky's trails teem with wildlife, from fluttering butterflies to graceful deer. Insects like ticks and mosquitoes can be bothersome; carrying repellent is recommended. Wildlife encounters enhance the hiking experience, but remember to respect their space for safety.