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Morehead, Kentucky: Choose Your Adventure!



By Kathy Witt

Find your way to Morehead, an Eastern Kentucky town tucked within Daniel Boone National Forest, and you’ll find plenty of adventure.

Fun-filled activities like hiking, mountain biking, boating, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, jet skiing, swimming, camping, fishing – whew! – even the latest craze of stand-up paddle boating, which you can experience on the Licking River. Whatever your adventure, you’ll find it here – most likely on Morehead’s premier attraction, Cave Run Lake.

Musky Capital of the South

Known as the “Musky Capital of the South,” this reservoir covers 8,400 acres and is home to more than 150 species of fish, including the mighty musky.

Cave Run Lake is scenic too, with a thickly forested, seasonally changing landscape that photographers enjoy as much as birders and nature lovers.

Located in Rowan County on the historic Midland Trail – one of the country’s first transcontinental highways – Morehead has been shaped by adventurers from its very beginning as a rough-and-tumble town infamous for the Martin-Tolliver Feud. Known as the Rowan County War and lasting from 1884-1887, it made headlines with pistol-packing pols, barroom brawls and a fiery gun battle that ended with 20 dead and threats to dissolve the county.

The Arts & Outer Space

As popular as Cave Run Lake is, it’s far from the only thing to see here. Morehead also is home to the Kentucky Folk Art Center, where the works of self-taught artists offer a glimpse into the Appalachian way of life. Changing exhibits feature folk art, fine art and more, and the gift shop is a veritable showcase of original folk art and Kentucky crafts.

The center is located in the downtown Arts District, along with the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music. The facility features the teachings of bluegrass, old-time, country, ballad singing and more – and is the academic center for Morehead State University’s traditional music program.

Also nearby is the Space Science Center. You’ll know you’ve found it when you see the space antenna system looming atop the control center on the MSU campus. And if it really feels out-of-this-world here, it’s because the center’s anechoic chambers mimic the electromagnetic environment of space. In the Star Theatre, “travel” through deep space to see comets, planets and supernova in 3-D.

Pleasures & Treasures

Morehead’s hidden gems take adventurers off the beaten path, both culturally and geographically. America’s best-loved storytellers whisk you to other times and places during the late September Cave Run Storytelling Festival, where stories are spun inside tents along the shore of Cave Run Lake in a beautiful mountain/lakeside setting. Other popular events include the Poppy Mountain Bluegrass Festival and Morehead Arts and Eats Festival.

And you can leave civilization behind altogether in 307 miles of back country on the Sheltowee Trace National Recreational Trail. When you return, join the locals at Fuzzy Duck Coffee Shop for a cold Hazelnuccino or a hot caramel apple, enjoyed with a game of chess or dominoes. The coffee shop is inside Eastern Kentucky’s oldest and largest independent bookstore, CoffeeTree Books – an adventure as much for the mind as for the palette.

It’s the adventure that turns visitors into regulars who return again and again. You will, too. To learn more about places to go and things to do in Morehead, call 855-270-8733 or visit!

If You Go

Morehead Tourism,
855-270-8733, website 

Cave Run Lake, 606-784-5624, website

Cave Run Storytelling Festival, 855-270-8733, website

Daniel Boone National Forest, 859-745-3100, website

Fuzzy Duck Coffee Shop, 606-784-9877, website

Kentucky Folk Art Center, 606-783-2204, website

Morehead State University Space Science Center, 606-783-2381, website

Sheltowee Trace National Recreational Trail, website