Be a Trailblazer
Article Written by Jeff Wagoner
With the weather changing and the temperature dropping, now is the perfect time
to go out into nature and hike some trails. Colors are changing and hiking is one of the
best ways to see it all. The following list is some of the great places you can go. The list
has a mixture of easy, family hikes to some more intense hikes. (Based on All Trails
difficulty rating) Also, all trails are dog friendly unless stated otherwise.
University of Kentucky Arboretum:
Length: 2.5-mile loop
This trail is a favorite of a lot of students at the University of Kentucky. It is right next to campus, it may not be within walking distance but there is plenty of parking at the Arboretum. It will be a perfect place to take in the changes of Fall. If you need more information, you can visit the link here.
Raven Run Nature Sanctuary:
Length: 3.8-mile loop
Raven Run is a park near Lexington that has a few trails in it. This loop trail takes you by a few waterfalls and includes an overlook of the Kentucky river. As something that is a need to know that Raven doesn’t allow dogs on their trails. Making it out to this park is a must, especially with the cooler weather coming in. For more information, you can go to this link.
Raven Run Red Trail:
Length: 5.4-mile loop
Continuing the Raven Run park trails, Red Trail is the main one of the park. This trail is a great trail for the family wanting to go out and see nature. This trail takes you up and down through the park, passing a small, waterfall area. This trail can also take you to an outlook looking over the Kentucky river as well. If you are looking for more information about a trip to this trail, you can look at this link here.
Red River Gorge:
Double Arch, Courthouse Rock, and Auxier Ridge Loop:
Length: 6-mile loop
Moving away from Lexington, about an hour and a half drive, you can go to Red River Gorge. This is home to many trails and great views. This trail loop takes you to see three of the landmarks of the Gorge, all of which are naturally occurring. Unlike Raven Run, this trail does allow dogs, only if they are on a leash. This link here will give you more information.
Creation Falls via Rock Bridge Trail:
Length: 1.4-mile out-and-back
This is the first trail on this list that isn’t a loop, so you’ll get to see two different perspectives of this scenic trail. This trail, similar to the last one, has two naturally occurring landmarks, The Rock Bridge that goes over the creek that is along the trail, and just past that you will see Creation Falls. These landmarks surrounded by the colors of fall will make this trail stand out even more. For more information, you can visit this link.
Gray’s Arch Trail:
Length: 2.3-mile out-and-back
This trail may seem short but be ready for a workout. This trail is beautiful, especially in the fall, there is one thing that might deter many from this trail, the super steep steps. They are tough to walk back up once you are coming from the end of the trail, but it is worth it in the end. If you want more information, you can go to this link.
Length: 0.8-mile loop
This trail also has a lot of stairs but they are nowhere close to the previous one. With a great view of the whole gorge and all the different colors of fall, you will not want to miss this hike when you visit. For more detailed information, you can visit this link.
Indian Staircase Trail:
Length: 3.1-mile loop
Warning…this trail is not an official trail, meaning it is not maintained by the park. This is the only hard trail on this list and the reason it is hard is that there are parts where you are going up a rock face. If you are up to the challenge, the reward is worth it, which is an amazing view. For more information on this crazy trail, you can visit his link.
Natural Bridge State Park:
Original Natural Bridge Trail:
Length: 1.1-mile out-and-back
Only an hour from Lexington, this trail is a must-do. The trail starts with an incline, but once you see the natural bridge, you’ll forget all about it. Hiking under the shadow of the bridge and then getting to walk on top of it is an amazing feeling and really lets you see all of nature and a great view of Red River Gorge. For more information, you can visit this link.
Balanced Rock Trail:
Length: 1.6-mile out-and-back
If you make it to the top of the Natural Bridge, using the trail above, you can turn the trip into a loop trail. This is a great way to extend your trip to the bridge and take in more of the park. If you want more information, you can visit this link here.