by: Rachelle Wright, Project Director for Cave Country Trails
Hiking is making a comeback, and we are fortunate to live in a place that offers a variety of trails to enjoy. At Cave Country Trails, we’re all about getting people on the trails in our region, so here’s some things we want you to know.
Mammoth Cave National Park has nearly 84 miles of hiking trails across their 52,830 acres. Their trail systems are divided into three areas: frontcountry, backcountry and the visitor’s center trail area.
The frontcountry and backcountry areas of the park are divided by the Green River. There are ponds to explore, cave entrances to peek into and many wildlife encounters to be had. Plus there are also accessible trails in the park, like the Sand Cave Trail, Sloan’s Pond Trail and the Heritage Trail. This makes hitting the trails something everyone can enjoy.
A complete list of the trails and trail maps for the national park can be found at www.nps.gov/maca Also, since the Green River Ferry will not be running again until late spring, check their website for more information before determining your driving route to the trailhead of your choice.
While Mammoth Cave National Park is often the first place we consider when think about hiking, our region also includes trail systems in two state parks. Nolin Lake State Park’s Brier Creek Trail System has just under 10 miles of trails, including their fan favorite, Waterfall Loop. The Brier Creek Trail system is also active with mountain bikes, which we will discuss in a future article. Their trail map can be found at: parks.ky.gov/mammoth-cave/trails/trails/brier-creek-trail-system.
Barren River Lake State Resort Park offers four trails with over 5 miles to explore. Peter’s Creek Trail, Connell Nature Trail, Lena Madesin Trail, plus the Paved Hike & Bike Trail offer a variety of seasonal streams, old farm remnants and views of the lake. Information about these trails can be found at: https: parks.ky.gov/lucas/parks/resort/barren-river-lake-state-resort-park
There are also some lesser known trails in our region like the Jenny Wilson Byrd Trail in Munfordville. The Jenny is a 4 mile trail located along the Green River with parking available at each end, Thelma Stovall Park and Johnson Springs Park. AllTrails has the Jenny marked as an easy trail, but there are some trickier spots closer to the edge of the river where cables are available that some may not consider easy. The views of the river from this trail make it unique in our area. Find trail information and reviews, head to: alltrails.com/trail/us/kentucky/jenny-wilson-byrd-memorial-trail
Another lesser known trail on the edge of Warren County is the Shanty Hollow Lake Trail, which is a bit over 2 miles. The trail begins by taking you along the edge of the lake, then greets you with large moss covered boulders as you turn into the “hollow.”. The centerpiece of the trail is the waterfall at the end of the hollow and the rock ledges surrounding it. For user information on this moderately rated trail and reviews of it, head to: alltrails.com/trail/us/kentucky/shanty-hollow-lake-trail
The last trail we will share this week is on the Brigadoon Nature Preserve, just south of Glasgow, off 31E. Brigadoon’s loop trail is also a bit over 2 miles through an “old growth forest” with nice lake overlooks and one stream crossing. Around this time of year it is loaded with wildflowers. The All Trails info for Brigadoon can be found at: alltrails.com/trail/us/kentucky/brigadoon-state-nature-preserve-loop
We also suggest cavecountrytrails.com for more information on a variety of trails in our region, which includes: Barren, Edmonson, Hart and Warren Counties. We have trail information for cyclists, mountain bikers, paddlers, hikers and trail riders as well. We recommend reading reviews of any trail before you go, printing a map to carry with you on the trail and pack water on the trail as well. Keep watching for future articles on paddling, cycling and horseback riding.
Cave Country Trails, Inc is a non-profit that focuses on creating a regional network of biking, hiking, equestrian, and water trails to connect communities and make the Mammoth Cave Area and South Central Kentucky a more attractive destination and place to live. This initiative promotes healthy lifestyles while attracting visitors and new businesses, managed with local flavor, resulting in regional economic growth. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org