By Kari Lutes, Features Editor, and Hannah Schultz, Executive Editor
Fall is the perfect time for hiking. The changing leaves are gorgeous, the weather is crisp, and the sunshine is warm. Everyone in Kentucky knows you can go to Red River Gorge for a good hike, but there are places even closer to campus where you can bust out your Chacos and a sweatshirt and get your hike on. Here is a list of hiking locations close to campus that will help you make the most of the season.
- Asbury Trails
Location: The Palisades Farm at Shanty Hill Road, Wilmore KY 40390
Time of Drive from Campus: 5 min.
A part of campus, the Asbury Trails are the closest location on this list. It’s surprising how few people have been to, or even heard of, these trails. The trails are narrow and on a hill, so the incline can get pretty steep, but the surprises of the hike make it worth it. The Kentucky River is at the bottom of the hill, and if you explore a bit, you can find a waterfall or two, perfect for wading into with your Chacos.
- Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
Location: 3501 Lexington Road, Harrodsburg KY 40330
Time of Drive from Campus: 18 min.
Shaker Village is another close location that is surprisingly little used by students. The drive is straight down Harrodsburg road, so these trails are easy to find. The trails at Shaker Village are a little more maintained than the Asbury Trails, and there are a few more trail options throughout the property. Shawnee Run is one of the longer trails, but it gives you options to add to or shorten the length through connectors with other trails. The waterfall and creek bed you’ll find is worth the longer hike—just be sure to stop at the inn to sign a waiver and pick up a trail map before you start on your adventure.
- The Pinnacles
Location: Berea, KY
Time of Drive from Campus: 45 min. to 1 hr
The Pinnacles are maintained by Berea College’s Department of Forestry, and they consist of a variety of easy to strenuous trails through a beautiful Kentucky mountainside. I suggest the Indian Fort Lookout trail, which leads to a beautiful outcropping of rock from which you can view the gorgeous rolling farmlands below. Afterward, the tiny town of Berea is a great destination for lunch. Try Papaleno’s (The Pinnacles’ version of Miguel’s) and be sure to get an authentic Italian garlic breadstick.
- Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest
Location: Clermont, KY 40110
Time of Drive from Campus: 1hr 20 min.
Just 20 minutes south of Louisville, Bernheim is a great weekend hiking trip destination—though they do charge a $5 parking fee on weekends. As the name suggests, the trails at Bernheim are mostly forest trails, so it’s the perfect location for a hike shrouded in the red and golden leaves of fall. Bernheim has a wide array of trails ranging from a ten minute to a 7-hour hike. The Lake Nevin Loop is a must-see in the fall—the reflection of the red, orange and yellow leaves in the lake will stop you in your tracks.