Expect the Unexpected in Prestonsburg
10 Things That Just Don’t Make Sense About Prestonsburg
Not many small towns boast one of the world’s most advanced planetariums, a state park, a national battlefield, roaming elk, premier performance venues and musical legends. Yet, welcome to Prestonsburg. From moonshine to music and mountains prime for explorers, you can expect the unexpected here.
1. East Kentucky Science Center & Planetarium
Explore the stars at East Kentucky Science Center. Try the center’s interactive STEM exhibits and activities before learning about distant galaxies at the 40-foot domed Varia Planetarium, one of the world’s most technologically advanced planetariums.
2. Sugarcamp Mountain Trails
Seeking some thrills? Prestonsburg is the Mountain Biking Capital of Kentucky! Journey through beautiful Appalachian Mountain scenery on the Sugarcamp Mountain Trails. Here, you can trek along 20 miles of trails leading into Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. This multi-use trail system is recommended for intermediate-to-advanced riders and is great for hiking and horseback riding, too.
3. Elk Tours
Eastern Kentucky is home to the second-largest elk population in the nation. A herd of 11,000 elk now spans 16 counties. Head to Jenny Wiley State Resort Park for a tour. Guided elk tours are offered in the park from September through early March each year.
4. Prestonsburg Passage
Wander down one of Kentucky’s newest rail-to-trail developments, Prestonsburg Passage. Whether you’re on foot, bike or horseback, you’ll be immersed in natural Appalachian beauty. Leading from Prestonsburg to the coal camp community of David, KY, this 8.6-mile paved trail is also suitable for wheelchairs and strollers. Along the way, you’ll see art, historical markers and a campground lining this passage. If you work up an appetite, East Kentucky Trails Dairy Bar is serving breakfast, lunch and dinner right off the trail, too.
5. The Country Music Highway
Prestonsburg is located just off U.S. 23, The Country Music Highway. The region is home to world-famous artists, from Chris Stapleton and Loretta Lynn to Billy Ray Cyrus and Dwight Yoakam. Near Prestonsburg, you can visit premier performance venues and concerts like the Mountain Arts Center, Jenny Wiley Amphitheatre, open mic nights at Rosenberg Square and the Star City Summer Series. Catch a show at any of these sites, and you might see country music’s next budding star.
6. Jenny Wiley State Resort Park
The wilderness is calling your name! Outdoor lovers will find all kinds of adventures at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. This 9,000-acre park is jam-packed with outdoor opportunities. Explore more than ten miles of hiking trails. Cast a line in Dewey Lake. Take a guided elk-watching tour or bring your binoculars for birding. Rent a kayak from the Nature Center. The park also boasts a 121-site campground, the 49-room May Lodge and 18 cottages if you’re planning an overnight adventure.
7. Middle Creek National Battlefield
Middle Creek National Battlefield is a must for history buffs. The site examines the historical impact of the 1862 skirmish that upended the Confederates’ hold on the region and launched 20th President James Garfield, a Union colonel at the time, into the national spotlight. Plan your visit around the annual re-enactment held the second weekend of September each year.
8. 1620 Distillery Company
You can’t visit Kentucky without sampling Kentucky’s iconic spirit. 1620 Distilling Company is crafting award-winning small-batch bourbon. Head to the tasting room to taste recipes 400 years in the making.
9. 90% Woman-Owned
Shop local goods and artisan crafts from a variety of boutiques, galleries, novelty stores, cosmetic stores, restaurants, dessert shops and more. Ninety percent of Prestonsburg’s downtown businesses are owned by women.
10. Just a Day's Drive
If these nine experiences and amenities haven’t sold you enough already, consider this: Prestonsburg is just a day’s drive to 70 percent of the U.S. Eastern Kentucky’s first established town is dubbed Star City due to five major routes leading into town, making it a quick, easy and fun-filled destination close to home.