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Generate Some Heat with Winter Hiking in Kentucky



If you’re suffering from cabin fever or the winter doldrums, now’s the time to hit the hiking trails of Kentucky. In many ways, winter is the best season for hiking in the Bluegrass State, as summer humidity and high-season crowds give way to crisp air and fewer adventurers on the trails. It’s a good time to get out of the house and generate some heat of your own with one of the most enjoyable forms of exercise.

Winter’s leafless trees reveal stunning Kentucky vistas, whether in the eastern mountains or the western lakes regions.  Birds and other wildlife are more easily spotted in winter, providing an extra bonus to hikers who venture out this time of year. Great spots for winter vistas include Daniel Boone National Forest and Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area  in the Appalachian region and Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area  in southwestern Kentucky.

Popular places for winter hiking near Louisville include Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest  and Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area, whose 24 miles of trails afford impressive views of the Ohio River.  

You might also want to try hiking underground, also known as spelunking. It’s a popular winter pastime since Kentucky’s many caves maintain nearly constant year-round temperatures in the mid-50s. At Mammoth Cave National Park, you can hike both below and above ground in a truly unique natural setting.

Many of Kentucky’s 51 state parks feature hiking trails that are great places to get close to nature during winter. Make the excursion a cozy winter weekend at 17 state resort parks that offer lodge accommodations. At resort parks including Carter Caves, Barren River Lake, Pennyrile Forest and Lake Cumberland, you can even settle into cottages with wood-burning fireplaces after a full day on the trails.

Many state parks also offer organized hikes as an enjoyable way to share your winter hiking experience with likeminded adventurers. 

For more information about hiking in Kentucky click here to explore all the trails.