Outdoors

Boundless opportunities for recreational activities and fun can be found in the great outdoors of The Kentucky Wildlands. Hike through untamed forests. Boat and fish in pristine lakes and rivers. Go horseback riding, off-roading and mountain biking over majestic mountaintops with breathtaking views. Explore deep underground caverns. Zipline over forest canopies and sandstone cliffs. View elk grazing at sunset. And so many more outdoor adventures await your discovery in this Appalachian region’s incredible natural wonders.

Trek the numerous local and regional trail systems throughout The Kentucky Wildlands, including more than 600 miles of connected trails in the heart of the beautiful, unspoiled Daniel Boone National Forest. Cast your line in dozens of clean-water lakes, such as Lake Cumberland, known as the Houseboat Capital of the World and home to the state-record 58-pound caught striped bass (with 40 and 50 pounders caught regularly). From luxurious houseboats to ski boats, kayaks and canoes, boaters of all kinds are attracted to Lake Cumberland, Dale Hollow Lake and Laurel River Lake, also known as a scuba-diving destination because of its crystal-clear water.

Saddle up for hundreds of miles of scenic horse paths, such as the 18-mile-long German Bridge Horse Riding Trail along Dewey Lake, and take advantage of many available horse stalls and centers, such as the Prestonsburg Equine Center featuring 188 horse stalls and performing horse shows. Kick it in gear with awe-inspiring mountain biking on the 20-mile Sugarcamp Mountain Trail or try singletrack gravel riding on the Limestone Loop. Descend four levels deep into Gap Cave to see one-of-a-kind underground flowstone cascades (guided tours available). Strap in for a thrilling ride at several ziplines operating in the Appalachians, including the exciting 500-foot-high, 60-mph Black Mountain Thunder Zipline run.

Witness incredible natural wonders, such as the 69-foot-high, river-spanning Cumberland Falls, known as the Niagara of the South and home to the Western Hemisphere’s only regularly occurring moonbow. And with its iconic sandstone cliffs, arches and countless routes to challenge any climber, the Red River Gorge is a national treasure, world-renowned as one of the best climbing destinations on the planet.

With so many activities and opportunities for exploring this area’s rugged natural beauty and expansive natural assets, The Kentucky Wildlands may be the country’s lesser-known biggest outdoor playground.

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