Situated among the forested highlands of the Appalachians, the town of Harlan is a hub for experiencing breathtaking world-class outdoor adventure, the region’s coal mining heritage, historic architecture and tours, and unique shopping and dining.
You can take an all-terrain vehicle out and tear it up on more than 7,000 acres and 150 miles of varying off-road trails, or you can zipline the 11-line treetop canopy tour at nearby Black Mountain Off-Road Adventure. Hike the scenic Blanton Forest State Preserve (one of 13 large old-growth tracts remaining in the eastern United States with many trees more than 100 feet high) and trek up to Knobby Rock for a sweeping bird’s-eye view of the forest. Also nearby are Kingdom Come State Park and Martins Fork Lake.
See the significance of coal to eastern Kentucky and the world firsthand by taking a real rail car tour of an actual coal mine at the Portal 31 Exhibition Mine. Then learn more about the area’s mining legacy with a visit to the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum right down the road.
Tour the historic downtown and take in more than 40 buildings built between 1910 and 1936. Stop in for a slice at The Portal Pizzeria, named after the infamous local coal mine built in 1917 and featured on the hit television show, Justified. Linger over a specialty coffee at Lamp House Coffee, find a genuine Appalachian keepsake at Craftin’ Around, and shop the many local shops and boutiques along Main Street.