Department of Travel and Tourism
Adventures Are Plentiful in Kentucky this Summer
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- If it’s adrenaline-pumping adventure you seek, Kentucky is the place to be this summer. Soaking spring rains have combined with warm, sunny June skies to make Kentucky especially green and lush and ripe to explore.
From caving to kayaking, a wide choice of challenges is yours in the Bluegrass State. Rushing whitewater rivers, mysterious caverns, craggy rock faces, rugged ATV trails and more await you in Kentucky’s summertime outdoors.
“For several years, Kentucky has been building its reputation as an easily accessible outdoor sports destination,” said Mike Cooper, commissioner of the Department of Travel & Tourism. “Adventure travelers are one of the fastest growing tourism segments in the country. Kentucky is well-positioned to provide adventure tourists with the excitement they crave.”
A section of the Bluegrass State’s tourism web site (www.getoutky.com) is devoted especially to adventure travelers. You’ll find all you need to know to plan your encounter with Kentucky’s wild side. Here are a few examples:
Nine of Kentucky's rivers are designated as Kentucky Wild Rivers, which protects their right-of-ways from construction, mining, or any other man-made intrusions. The Wild Rivers corridors comprise a total of more than 100 miles of water where canoeists, rafters, and kayakers can enjoy their sports amid pristine surroundings. The Rockcastle, Russell Fork and Big South Fork Rivers in southeastern Kentucky feature some of the most challenging whitewater sections in the eastern United States. River outfitters offer guided excursions of varying lengths.
With miles of trails through breathtaking wilderness landscapes to choose from, ATV enthusiasts can ride over nearly any kind of terrain. From flat lands and bogs to steep mountainsides, you’ll find a challenge in Kentucky.
Kentucky is home to many rock climbing opportunities, including the world-renowned Red River Gorge. With approximately 26,000 acres nestled in the Daniel Boone National Forest, the Gorge offers thousands of climbs for all skill levels.
Great hiking trails can be found from Daniel Boone National Forest and Cumberland Gap National Park in the east to Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area in the west. Trails of every length and level of difficulty are available, and backpackers will find many backcountry trails through unspoiled wilderness great for camping. With more than 300 miles of trails, many of Kentucky’s 52 state parks also are well-known as hikers’ heaven. At 17 of these state parks, you’ll find resort lodges where you can rest your head in comfort overnight and hit the trail refreshed again in the morning.
Horse trail rides are also exciting adventures to be found in Kentucky’s unspoiled regions. In Land Between the Lakes, you can ride horses on 70 miles of trails that lead through forests teeming with waterfowl, deer, wild turkey, hawks and other wildlife. At trail’s end lies Wranglers’ Campground, the Southeast’s premier horse camp. Stalls, hitching posts, hot showers and other amenities make it a great place for horse and rider. You can make arrangements for a horse to ride at Wranglers Stables, open daily from April 1 through Oct. 31.
Kentucky is a spelunker’s paradise. Mammoth Cave National Park is the world’s longest cave system, with 365 miles of passages displaying underground wonders to be explored. South central Kentucky is also home to Diamond Caverns in Park City, Kentucky Caverns at Horse Cave and others with fascinating formations for viewing. Carter Caves State Resort Park in northeastern Kentucky is another mecca for cavers. With underground temperatures hovering in the low 50-degrees year round, caving is a great way to cool down when temperatures soar outdoors.
“Everyone has a different definition of adventure,” Cooper said. “For some, it’s climbing a rock wall. For others, it’s watching the elk herds graze in our mountainous terrain. We’ve got a full range of possible adventure activities in Kentucky, and now we’re getting the word out about all the things we have to offer.”
For more information on your next Kentucky adventure, visit www.getoutky.com or call 1-800-225-8747.
The Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism is an agency within the Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet, which promotes the Commonwealth as a travel destination. Tourism in Kentucky has an economic impact of nearly $11 billion, employs more than 176,000 people and generates $1 billion in taxes.