I am so afraid to blink as I anxiously await autumn’s spectacular show of colors and seemingly perfect weather. It is even more stunning in the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky where you can feel like you’re on the top of the world yet right at home. Before Fall blows past, be sure to make some mountain memories before it’s gone.
Go for a Hike…and don’t forget your camera!
With some of the most breathtaking views East of the Mississippi, my very favorite place in Eastern Kentucky is atop the Pine Mountain Trail in Letcher County. At heights surpassing 2,000 feet, you can easily see most everything surrounding you and get a magnificent view of the fiery Fall landscape. Don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch for your hike or stop by the Pine Mountain Grill for some incredible food on the way down.
Don’t miss the beauty of Jenny Wiley State Park this time of year. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced hiker, there are several trails to enjoy. Looking for a leisurely stroll? Try the ¾ mile Sassafras Trail or the 1.3 mile Moss Ridge Hiking Trail. Both offer diverse vegetation and the occasional wildlife sighting. For the more adventurous hiker, buddy up and trek up the 4.5 mile Jenny Wiley Trail. After working up an appetite, feast at the Music Highway Grill. Also call for information on their annual Elk Night.
Aside from the beautiful colors of fall, Natural Bridge State Park in Powell County offers amazing sandstone formations including several arches also known as bridges naturally formed in the mountains. Though most of their 12 trails are less than a mile, give yourself an extra challenge with the 7.5 mile Sand Gap Trail. Rest up at the Hemlock Lodge or one of several cottages on the property. Want to get back to nature? There are two campgrounds at the Park as well to accommodate your needs.
The Red River Gorge Geological Area next door to Natural Bridge State Park also offers breathtaking views and awe-inspiring formations of nature. Don’t miss some of my favorites – Angel Windows, Whistling Arch, Chimney Top, and Rock Bridge. Red River Gorge is also a perfect place for rock climbing, canoeing, and caving.
Festivals and Recreation
Make another trip back to Jenny Wiley State Park in Prestonsburg for one of their several Elk Viewing Tours. Held on select Saturdays and Sundays October – December, the cost is $20 for adults and $10 for children.
With Halloween inching closer and closer, don’t miss the haunted activities such as the Haunted Trail at Carter Caves State Resort Park in Olive Hill or the Haunted Hay Ride at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park.
Don’t miss one of Eastern Kentucky’s last festivals of the year – Court Day in Mount Sterling. Scheduled around the third Monday in October, you’ll find a variety of arts, crafts, and antiques for sale as well as taste the goodness of harvest time.
For more great recreation ideas across Eastern Kentucky, check out the Kentucky Department of Tourism’s Official Website.
One Last Bonfire!
There’s nothing better to knock off the Autumn chill than a good ole fashioned bonfire. Tell ghost stories and sing campfire songs like “Home on the Range,” “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” and “Kumbaya”. Gather up your family and friends, the wieners and marshmallows, and some good dry kindling to make one of your coziest memories of the season.