Best Trails in Kentucky

Trying to find the best trails in Kentucky? Bivy has great hiking, biking, paddling, climbing, skiing, riding and more, with hand-curated trail maps, as well as detailed driving directions.


Virginia, Scott County

03 :41 hrs
3.8 mi
283.1486 ft

This gentle ascend up the gorge carved by Little Stony Creek follows the Little Stony National Recreation Trail up from the parking area. Passing by numerous falling cascades and beautiful vistas of the surrounding southern Appalachians, the trail wends its way up towards Big Bear Lookout. Along the way, pass by stunning waterfalls that flow copious and wide in the spring, creating glistening pools that are perfect for a quick swim. Upon reaching the road, continue along the edge of VA 701 to reach Big Bear Lookout and soak in the views before returning along the edge of the creek. This hike is an easy and utterly beautiful experience of southern Virginia.


Kentucky, Edmonson County

02 :58 hrs
9.4 mi
93.952866 ft

Located in Mammoth Cave National Park, this is an excellent hike or run through a thick forest of trees. The trail is well-maintained.


Illinois, Goreville

00 :19 hrs
0.4 mi
13.445282 ft

Located in Ferne Clyffe State Park, this short out-and-back trail follows a small creek that leads past multiple rock formations to one of the most scenic and popular spots in the park, an intermittent 100-foot waterfall. The trail is very wide, fairly flat, and easy to follow making this a great choice for hikers of all skill levels. There are lots of foot paths that lead up above and around the waterfall but these can be slippery and narrow so hike cautiously if exploring around the waterfall.


Illinois, Jackson County

01 :19 hrs
3.3 mi
114.1103 ft

Located in the Mississippi River valley, the Little Grand Canyon is a unique and scenic destination where visitors will enjoy hiking through deep canyons and lush ravines that are habitats to abundant wildlife and interesting flora and fauna. The hike is steep along sections including a stairway of sandstone steps that can be slippery. The trail also passes along some high cliffs above sheer canyon walls that provide some impressive views down below but also require some careful footing.


Kentucky, Carter County

00 :20 hrs
0.9 mi
14.615997 ft

Carter Caves State Park is located in the forested hills of northeastern Kentucky and is home to 20 underground caves that provide unique and awesome sightseeing opportunities. The state park campground includes 3 separate sections; one for primitive tent camping only, one with electric and water hookups, and equestrian sites. All sites have picnic tables and fire pits. Additional amenities include restrooms, showers, a dump station, swimming pool, playground, and more. There are also a few bunkhouses located in the tent camping area that sleeps up to 8 people in on beds without mattresses. They have one light and electric outlets. Nightly rates are $18-$55 per night depending on site selected. Reservations are available but must be made at least a day before arrival.


Illinois, Saline County

00 :15 hrs
0.6 mi
23.618408 ft

This overlook trail travels through an area known for its interesting geologic history and unique rock formations as it leads along sandstone cliffs that provide excellent views down to the forest terrain below. There are lots of side spur trails off the main trail that lead to good overlook points that are optional but worth the extra mileage. The trail is a good option for hikers of all levels but there may be some exposed areas so pay close attention to younger hikers. The trail is very popular, especially on weekends, and parking may be limited so arrive early or visit during times that might be less crowded.


Illinois, Pope County

01 :17 hrs
3.5 mi
35.679657 ft

Located in the Bell Smith Springs Recreation Area, this scenic hike follows multiple trails through a quiet creek in a rugged canyon setting along rocky bluffs with interesting rock formations. The area provides lots of opportunity for viewing beautiful wildflowers and abundant wildlife. The trail does require some stream crossings which can be slippery so be cautious. The trail also follows some steep exposed areas that require paying close attention. There are other connecting trails in the Bell Smith Spring Recreation Area providing hikers with numerous hiking possibilities.


Kentucky, Boone County

02 :12 hrs
11.2 mi
14.880844 ft

This classic route begins in the parking lot of the Anderson Ferry. You will ride along the Kentucky side of the Ohio River. Views are excellent of the river and the surrounding farmland. It is mostly flat with a few rolling hills.


Ohio, Scioto County

02 :21 hrs
12 mi
149.85909 ft

This terrain is some of the most scenic in the state. The quick out-and-back takes you through Shawnee State Park where you will see a variety of trees, wildflowers, and butterflies.


Illinois, Saline County

03 :20 hrs
33.9 mi
127.72211 ft

This loop ride travels along the hilly terrain surrounding the Garden of the Gods recreation area providing riders with one of the most challenging rides in all of Illinois. The area of Garden of the Gods is known for its interesting rock formations and miles of scenic woodland and rolling hill landscape. There are some nice places along the route to stop, rest, and take in the scenery. There are some sections of very hilly and curvy roads as well as some busier roads that require lots of caution and paying extra attention to traffic. The starting and ending point for the ride is at Garden of the Gods which provides some nice hiking trails and lookout points that are worth a visit.

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