Winter hiking near Lexington, Kentucky

the inside of a cave
The view from a rock shelter along Bark Camp Creek Trail | Photo by @krophotography

In a previous newsletter, we made the bold claim that cold-weather hiking is some of the best hiking.

While many Lexingtonians need no motivation for hiking in the cold, we wanted to give you some of our favorite reasons for embracing cold-weather hiking.

  • Waterfalls are often their biggest in the winter, and frozen waterfalls are especially beautiful
  • Fewer people hike in colder months 
  • Visibility is often clearer from lookout points
  • Fewer bugs + less humidity 
  • With no foliage on the trees, Kentucky’s stunning cliff lines are less obstructed while hiking at lower elevations.
a photo of landscape
The view from the top of Lily Mountain | Photo by The LEXtoday team

Our winter hiking tips:

  • Check Daniel Boone National Forest’s alerts + notices before you go — winter conditions often cause road closures.
  • Invest in a good pair of waterproof hiking shoes — they’ll keep you warmer + provide better support and balance. J&H Lanmark offers hiking shoe options for every experience level.
  • Pack extra snacks. Your body uses more energy to stay warm when it’s cold outside. 
  • Treat yourself. You just simultaneously braved the cold + the wilderness. Plan a post-hike meal at your favorite local restaurant. You deserve all the calories.

Our winter hiking recommendations: 

  • Veterans Park | Start small — this 235-acre city park offers mixed-use hiking trails that will make you forget downtown is only 20 minutes away.
  • Sheltowee Trace to Rough Trail | Start at Red River Gorge’s famed suspension bridge + hike straight into the heart of The Red. Dramatic cliff lines will quickly reveal themselves as you meander along the banks of Chimney Top Creek. 
  • Lily Mountain Nature Preserve | If you are looking for seclusion, look no further. This trail offers epic vistas of Bluegrass farmland + the Cumberland Plateau.
  • Bark Camp Creek | Explore caves, rock shelters + cascades as you hike along Bark Camp Creek.