Outdoor activities abound in Kentucky, although it may be a little harder to settle on outdoor-related activities in the colder months, so my gift to you is a 2015 roundup.
January and February are great months to check out some of those outdoor expositions, whose organizers know you have cabin fever and are in dire need of a psychological boost. Here are three of the big expos:
– The Louisville Boat, RV and Sport Show, January 21-25, at the Kentucky Exposition Center.
– The Louisville Deer & Turkey Expo, January 30-February 1, at the Kentucky Exposition Center.
– The Kentucky Sport, Boat and Recreation Show, February 5-8, at Rupp Arena and Heritage Hall in Lexington.
You might consider the three eagle-viewing events on the big lakes in western Kentucky. Hop aboard a heated yacht or ride in a warm van as your guides seek out bald eagles that have flown south for the winter. Don’t forget your camera and binoculars. Eagle weekends are: January 9-11 at Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park; January 23-25 at Lake Barkley State Resort Park; and February 6-8 at Kenlake State Resort Park.
In eastern Kentucky, thousands of reintroduced wild elk now roam the hills, and the elk tours out of Jenny Wiley State Resort Park and Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park are on my list of recommendations. Much like a safari, the tours take participants by van or all-terrain vehicle on dirt and gravel roads for excellent views of these creatures that are once again a part of Kentucky’s landscape.
Elk tours run most weekends in January, February, and March this year and resume in the fall.
June is National Camping Month, so I’m saying unpack the tent, roll out the sleeping bag (or, if you’re my age, the air mattress), and find your spot under the Kentucky stars. I’ve camped in too many beautiful places to pick just one or two, so I’m leaving it up to you to choose from the hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands that await you. Don’t forget the marshmallows.
National Trails Day is June 6 and I recommend going on a hike that Saturday, just like I’ll be doing. Again, too many trails to narrow down, but you might find me at Red River Gorge or Mammoth Cave National Park.
Finally, I suggest visiting Breaks Interstate Park or Pine Mountain State Resort Park sometime around the middle of October for spectacular shows of fall color. The sight always uplifts me before we head into winter. After that, I’ll start formulating a whole new great outdoor to-do list for 2016.
DAVE SHUFFETT is a public speaker and host of Kentucky Life on KET, airing Saturdays 8 p.m. ET and Sundays 4:30 p.m. ET.
For details on Kentucky State Parks’ Eagle Watch and Elk Viewing Tours, search for “Kentucky safari” on KentuckyLiving.com.
At www.kentuckytourism.com, click on Adventure Tourism for information on a variety of other outdoor recreation activities.