RICHMOND KY VISITOR ATTRACTIONS
I am compiling this list and map (in pdf format)
to help me find and record all of the natural treasures in this area,
from the well known and highly publicized parks to the hidden gems lost
amid the winding country roads. Almost all of the sites located on the
map are completely free of any fees or charges so they are perfect for
EKU and Berea College students on a strict budget.
Outdoor activities include: hiking, backpacking,
cycling, off-roading (OHV), caving, spelunking, canoeing, kayaking,
sight-seeing, climbing, fishing, and general exploring.
Sites include: public and city parks, state parks,
state forests, private parks, state and national historic sites, civil
war battleground sites, rivers, lakes, streams, creeks, forests, woods,
hills, mountains, trails, roads, waterfalls, caves, boat ramps, Madison
Jackson Rockcastle Fayette Estill Garrard Counties, Kentucky.
II. FEATURED SITES
A. RICHMOND AREA
1. LAKE REBA
Lake Reba is Richmond's largest park and recreational
facility. It includes an expansive playground, many sporting courts and
fields, a public golf course, miniature golf, a walking trail, and the
Lake. There is one paved boat ramp. Fishing is allowed with
restrictions. The lake is about a mile long and up to 1/4 wide and
offers a scenic and relaxing environment perfect for bird watching and
fishing (the opposite shore from the park is another park and bird
Located off the By-Pass and US 52. For more
information visit: http://parks.richmond.ky.us/Parks/LakeReba.html
2. RICHMOND WATERFALL
A small waterfall on Silver Creek a few miles out of
town directly off Barnes Mill Road. There is parking in an unpaved
pull-off. The waterfall is located just before Barnes Mill Road makes a
left turn and passes over Silver Creek. Not too much here but makes a
nice short trip from Richmond and offers a scenic landscape, possible
swimming, and when the water is high enough kayaking is possible.
3. BATTLEFIELD PARK
Located off 421, this historic site commemorates the
Battle of Richmond, one of the Confederacy's most overwhelming
victories and the second largest Civil War battle fought in the neutral
state of Kentucky. It is also used as the cross country course for
several local schools. Restrooms available (though they may not be open
year round). For more information visit: http://www.BattleofRichmond.org
(This site seems to take a long time to load as of late 2007).
4. FORT BOONESBOROUGH STATE PARK
Five miles off I-75 exit 95. There is a historic fort
with costumed re-enactors, a pool, campground and mini-golf, all for a
fee. There is also free hiking trails (short and paved but hilly), a
small beach, and a paved boat ramp. A short way down stream on the
Kentucky River is a derelict old river boat. I have yet to find out any
information about it but it looks at least 100 years old. The Kentucky
River is very scenic in this area with rocky cliffs and forested
shores. For more information visit: http://www.parks.ky.gov/findparks/recparks/fb/
You can see the paddle boat via satellite photo here.
5. RAVEN RUN
This nature preserve and park offers about 8 miles of
beautiful trails with a vista overlook of Kentucky River. There are
also some historical interpretive signs. This park is tucked away off
Jack's Creek Pike between Richmond and Lexington.
Directions from Richmond/Lexington Road:
Turn onto Jack's Creek Pike and then follow signs for Raven Run.
Directions from Tates Creek Road:
Turn onto Spears Road / KY 1975. Turn RIGHT onto Jack's Creek Pike.
Follow signs to Raven Run.
For more information visit: http://www.lfucg.com/parks/raven.asp
6. VALLEY VIEW FERRY
One of the oldest working ferries in the U.S., this
free ferry can carry 3 or 4 vehicles across the Kentucky River. It
connects Richmond and Lexington via Tates Creek Road. The ferry only
operates during the day (6am-8pm). A slice of Kentucky's pioneering
past still alive, next time you're traveling between the two cities,
consider taking the ferry. For more information visit: http://www.lfucg.com/trafficinfo/ValleyViewFerry.asp
B. BEREA AREA
1. PINNACLE / INDIAN FORT
An excellent place for an afternoon of hiking. These
trails are strenuous and include lots of elevation change. There are
benches periodically placed, but be warned, the start of the trail is a
steep uphill climb. This site is owned by Berea College and is
officially open from dawn to dusk. There are over 8 miles of trails
with some great vistas. Some rock climbing is necessary to reach one of
the two pinnacles. These trails also make for some very rugged running.
For an interesting historical read about the mountain
Please note that this article is dated and all the trails are open.
Here is a couple's online photo gallery displaying
some good pictures taken at the Indian Fort mountain: http://www.pbase.com/uloo/pinnacle_
And the Berea College Forestry's website: http://www.berea.edu/forestry/default.asp
2. OWSLEY FORK RESERVOIR
Motorized watercraft are prohibited on this lake (as
it's the source of the City of Berea's drinking water) but you are free
to canoe and kayak. There is also a "beach" and mud flats which can
offer some interesting walks. From Berea/Richmond, take 421 towards
McKee and take the first left after the Big Hill Rd intersection (there
is the gas station on the corner).
3. ANGLIN FALLS
This hidden treasure offers some moderate hiking and
climbing. The trail is roughly a mile (if that) from the parking lot to
the waterfall. Lots of rocks, boulders, and cliffs to climb on. To get
there from 421/Big Hill Rd, take the first right at the top of the big
hill and then the first left. Drive along this narrow country road
until you see a sign for Anglin Falls Rd. It's almost a complete u-turn
and larger vehicles and trucks may have to do a 3-point turn to make
it, so be sure there is no on-coming traffic! Follow this road until
you see a sign for Anglin Falls on your left. The final road is nothing
more than a gravel driveway that leads past a few houses and terminates
at the trailhead. From Scaffold Cane Road, at the top of the hill
you'll go past a road that leads off to the left and immediately come
to a fork in the road. Take the left route (that descends a hill).
After a while you'll come to a stop sign and an old post office, take a
left. You'll come to Anglin Falls Road, but from this direction it'll
be more of a fork in the road than an intersection. Go right and then
left onto the final gravel road.
For a brief description and a few pictures visit: http://www.gowaterfalling.com/waterfalls/anglin.shtml
4. CLIMAX CAVE
This cave is popular among college students because
it's only about 20 minutes from Berea. There are two entrances, one
near the parking area and another is on private land and is gated. From
my limited experience, this cave has one main cavern with many side
passages. It's very easy to spend 3 or 4 hours crawling. The main
passages offer standing room, but most of the side passages are only
high enough for crawling on all fours or flat on your stomach. There is
not too much climbing involved but enough to keep the average caver
This cave is officially closed during the winter
months due to Indiana and Brown bats hibernating. Please be responsible
when caving and do not deface any property or disrupt the bats.
Please contact me for directions.
C. McKEE AREA
1. WIND CAVE
My personal favorite, Wind Cave is quite large and
offers a variety of underground terrain. Expect to get wet as a large
stream runs through this cave and some of the side passages are
knee-to-thigh deep in water (although it is possible to avoid getting
wet, it is not easy and you miss out on several portions of the cave).
There is one main passage that goes from the large entrance to the
lower entrance. Many side passages and rooms exist. The main passage
often offers 2 or 3 routes, a lower way (usually through water), a
middle route, and a high route. There are many places where, if you so
choose, and can climb the high route and walk over one of the lower
routes. Some of these high routes are dangerous because you are using
both walls to support yourself on a thin shelf, but there is no real
floor except the one 10 to 20 feet below you. There are some tight
crawling passages as well. The large entrance is huge and there are
many side caves, some only go a few feet, others several yards. The
lower entrance is tight and muddy. There is also a third entrance, the
spring. When the water levels are normal or high, this entrance is
impassable due to the rushing deluge of water, but during drought this
entrance *might* be passable. I've tried a couple of times but the
water has always been to high. This cave, like Climax cave, is home to
the endangered Indiana Bat, so please be responsible.
Please contact me for directions to Wind Cave.
A campground and outdoor area. I haven't been to it
yet so can't say much about it.
Here is somebody's short description: http://www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail.asp?trailid=HGD130-059
3. S-TREE CAMPGROUND
Another campground which I haven't been to. I think
it's free. There are also some four-wheeling trails which are open to 4
wheelers but not full-sized vehicles (anymore).
For OHV / 4-wheeling information visit the London
Ranger District of the Daniel Boone National Forest website: http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/boone/recreation/ohv_lon.shtml
(also relevant for Turkeyfoot and Cromer Ridge).
D. MT. VERNON AREA
1. LAKE LINVILLE
This is a very large man-made lake. You can fish and
boat on it. I haven't been to it yet so that's all I can say about it.
Here is somebody's informal review of the lake and
surrounding area: http://www.goingoutside.com/lake/103/1035282_Lake_Linville_Kentucky.html
2. CROMER'S RIDGE
This large area is part of the Daniel Boone National
Forest. It used to be a major 4 wheeling and 4x4ing place but is
officially closed to all OHV travel. Street legal vehicles are still
allowed as long as they stay on the forestry roads. Low clearance
vehicles are definitely NOT recommended on these roads. There are still
places to off-road, hunt, and hike (don't hike during hunting season)
as well as a road that goes to the Rockcastle river. I've only driven
through this area once so I don't have much to add, but it looks very
3. CAMP WILDCAT
This is the site of the first official battle between
Union and Confederate forces in Kentucky during the Civil War. There
are a few short trails with interpretive signs that do an excellent job
of illustrating the battle. Still preserved in the hillsides are the
trenches the Union soldiers dug. There are toilets and an interpretive
pavilion at the parking lot.
To get to Camp Wildcat from the Interstate, take exit
49 and turn towards Livingston (if you're coming from the north you'll
be turning left). This road comes to 25, take a right and then a left
onto Hazel Patch Road (about a half mile down 25). Follow this road and
after it crosses the railroad tracks it'll come to a fork, take a left.
From here you are driving on the historical wilderness road, the road
the Union and Confederacy were both trying to control. It is a gravel
road and the last section before Camp Wildcat is a steep incline with
ruts and washboards. Although a low clearance car could make it up, a
high clearance vehicle is recommended. In adverse weather, a 4x4
vehicle may be necessary.
The Daniel Boone National Forest has a good website on
Camp Wildcat here: http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/boone/districts/london/wildcat.shtml
E. SHELTOWEE TRACE
I just recently discovered this 260+ mile long
trail. It offers hiking and in certain sections: mountain biking,
horseback riding, 4 wheeling, and 4x4ing. I plan to spend a lot more
time exploring this trail when the weather gets warmer and the days
The Sheltowee Trace's official website is: http://www.sheltoweetrace.com/
I have found that searching through the Daniel Boone
National Forest website to yield good information as well.
Unfortunately it is broken up into the different districts. Their
homepage is: http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/boone/
F. NATURAL BRIDGE STATE PARK / RED RIVER GORGE
This area is huge and full of great outdoor
activities, from hiking to canoeing to 4 wheeling to rock climbing. I
suggest researching it on the internet as there are numerous good sites
dedicated to this area and it's possible to find great trail maps for
free with a little searching.
Red River Gorge and Clifty Wilderness sites can be
found here: http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/boone/districts/cumberland/redriver_gorge.shtml
Natural Bridge State Park information can be found
Here's a great map (1.62 MB pdf file) showing roads,
trails, and sites for Natural Bridge, Red River Gorge, and Clifty
III. OTHER SITES OF INTEREST
Lexington has many nice parks. Jacobson park is
off Richmond Road and has rolling hills and a lake open for
non-motorized boating. Masterson Station Park is located on the far NW
side of Lexington. It's quite large and great for running. The
University of Kentucky gardens, located off Alumni Drive, are very
scenic and offer some paved walking trails and many gardens to enjoy.
Shillito Park, located off Nicholasville Road, near all the malls, is a
welcome relief from the hectic traffic just a few blocks away.
Lexington's Division of Parks & Recreation
Besides Lake Reba, Richmond also offers the
bird sanctuary, located on the opposite side of the lake. There is a
trail about a half mile long that loops around and skirts the edge of
the lake. An 18 hole frisbee golf course has recently been added that
loosely follows the trail. There is also a pavilion and picnic area.
Off Tates Creek Road, near the St. Andrews Retirement
Community is a privately owned park that has some short walking trails
and is very meditative. This is not a park for playing but for studying
plants and trees, walking, and escaping the bustling world for a short
time. It's a lot like a mini UK gardens in Richmond. There are a few
other parks in Richmond but nothing of much note. There is also a cave
in Richmond but is on private land and is now barred.
Richmond's Park and Recreation department has a
website with additional information: http://parks.richmond.ky.us/
Use the "Parks" drop menu from the upper left title
bar to navigate to specific park pages.
Located only a short drive from Richmond is Wilgreen
Lake and Marina, a pay lake. There is a fee to park and use the boat
ramp so I have only driven to it but have not used it. Wilgreen Lake is
at least the same size as Lake Reba or larger. You can get to this lake
by taking Barnes Mill Road west past the Interstate. In a couple of
miles you should see a sign for Wilgreen Lake on your left. If you come
to the Richmond Waterfall (as described above), you have gone to far on
Barnes Mill Road and missed your turn.
Berea has some parks but they are not very
interesting. The Berea College Cross Country trails, located behind the
Alumni building, off Scaffold Cane Road, is a good place for hiking and
running. A metal foot bridge takes you over the creek and leads you to
several miles of well-kept trails. You can stay on the gentle sloping
portions, or climb some steep and tall hills.
IV. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES & LAST NOTES
- Motor Vehicle usage maps for the Daniel Boone
National Forest: http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/boone/maps/mvum.shtml
- Spend some time searching through the Daniel Boone
National Forest website. I have found that there is a great wealth of
information on it but it is not always easy to get to. Often times you
will not be able to get to a page with information unless you follow a
linear path through several pages.
- This is a work in progress. As such, I am more than
happy to receive additional information on the sites and locations
listed or to learn of new places to explore.
- I am sorry for any mistakes or errors in the map or
descriptions. I have done everything to the best of my knowledge
without spending copious amounts of time researching. This is, after
all, intended for recreational purposes, not academic.
- Additional information can usually be found on the
internet. I've included links to websites and pages which I have used
and I feel are good places to get enough information to start you on
your adventure or point you in the right direction for further study.
- The map
contains several small icons of a canoe and two paddles. These are
established water access sites (boat ramps). I have not used all of
- There are several websites devoted to one particular
outdoor activity, such as hiking or canoeing/kayaking. Try searching
these for more information, pictures, and trip reports.
- Print a few copies of the map out and
share them with friends. Ask them to add to the map and we'll see if we
can't continue refining the collection of outdoor treasures in this
central Kentucky region!
V. ADDITIONAL CAVES IN THE AREA
Here are some caves in the surrounding counties. I have
yet to find these and am not sure if all are accessible.
Prairie Hall Cave
Bowman Saltpeter Cave
(near Mt. Vernon)
War Fork Cave
Goochland (Crooked Creek) Cave