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.



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 sanctuary).

Located off the By-Pass and US 52. For more information visit:

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.

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: (This site seems to take a long time to load as of late 2007).

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:

You can see the paddle boat via satellite photo here.

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:

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:


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 visit: 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:

And the Berea College Forestry's website:

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).

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:

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 entertained.

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.


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:

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: (also relevant for Turkeyfoot and Cromer Ridge).



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:

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 promising.

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:


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 longer.

The Sheltowee Trace's official website is:

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:


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:

Natural Bridge State Park information can be found here:

Here's a great map (1.62 MB pdf file) showing roads, trails, and sites for Natural Bridge, Red River Gorge, and Clifty Wilderness:




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 website:


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:

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.


  • Motor Vehicle usage maps for the Daniel Boone National Forest:
  • 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 them.
  • 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!



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



Indiana bats

Isons Cave



Gray bats

1813 Cave



Indiana bats

Bowman Saltpeter Cave
(near Mt. Vernon)



Indiana bats

War Fork Cave



Indiana bats

Goochland (Crooked Creek) Cave



Indiana bats

Smokehole Cave



Indiana bats

Waterfall Cave



Indiana bats