My old boots have traversed many a hiking trail across Kentucky, but there is one fellow who runs circles around me—31-year-old Cory Ramsey of Bowling Green. Ramsey is an outdoor TV personality and a respected outdoor writer for Adventure Tourism, a creation of the Kentucky Tourism Cabinet.
Ramsey has created a bucket list of trails—“trails that every Kentuckian should see,” he says. And I, for one, will listen to his recommendations because he has been on 47 hikes so far this year and 140 over the last two, constantly in search of the best of the best.
1. Trail No. 9 at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park Ramsey says this moderately strenuous trail offers some of the most spectacular views Kentucky has to offer, including breathtaking elevated views of Cumberland Falls and, at the end of the trail, the awe-inspiring Eagle Falls. He says if he had one choice of all the trails in the state he would choose Trail No. 9.
2. Red River Gorge Ramsey likes the American Scenic Byway that winds through the gorge with multiple pull-offs that are adjacent to short, easy trails leading to spectacular overlooks.
3. Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park The park, located in western Kentucky near Dawson Springs, offers a trail that circles Pennyrile Lake near the lodge. Ramsey says this trail offers continuous views of both the lake and the forest. With early morning fog over the lake or a sunlit reflection of the forest on the water, the trail is a photographer’s dream. Also, the park is adjacent to Pennyrile State Forest and Tradewater River with its canoeing opportunities.
4. Land Between The Lakes There isn’t enough space in this article to adequately describe the trail system at LBL. Pick a trail and it may lead you to Kentucky Lake on one side and Lake Barkley on the other. Ramsey talks of the countless opportunities here, including the elk and bison prairie, bicycle trails, and wildlife viewing opportunities.
5. Mammoth Cave National Park We all know that our Mammoth Cave is the longest cave in the world. But not all of us are aware of the more than 50,000 “surface acres,” as park officials describe them. Ramsey says hikers and horseback riders will be amazed at the many trails that lead to views of giant sinkholes, through forest where deer and turkey abound, and down to the beautiful Green River.
What’s next for Ramsey? He’s constantly on the lookout to expose another trail that might bump something out of the top five. I hope he does.
– Invest in good hiking boots and a daypack.
– Always bring water, snacks, and a flashlight.