Step Outside - Kentucky WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 http://stepoutside.org/ Step Outside - Kentucky 144 144 http://stepoutside.org/ https://cdnstep-americantownscom.netdna-ssl.com/img/stepoutside_logo.gif Sun, 15 Jul 2018 15:43:35 -0500 10 Best Bait and Tackle Shops in Kentucky There’s something very relaxing about sitting back and quietly enjoying the peace and quiet that comes from fishing. Until you feel the tug on your line, that is. Then you’d better have the right bait and tackle to land that fish! The best bait and tackle shops in Kentucky are great places to get what you need. Whether you’re saltwater or freshwater fishing, fishing for small mouth bass or the biggest trout in the lake, your experience will be better when you use trusted brands from a shop where customer service is more than just an expression.

If you never thought about a bait and tackle shop being the recipient of a city award, think again. Smyrna Bait & Tackle of Louisville, Kentucky, did just that. Perhaps it was because they’ve been serving Louisville and the surrounding area for more than 40 years. Or maybe it was because they have handmade lures that rival the best large box bait and tackle stores. It’s all of those reasons and more. 

Bandit and Storm are just some of the brands that are carried at Imperial Bait & Tackle in Middlesboro, Kentucky. If you love fishing and are looking for a great shop that has a wide selection of hooks, sinkers, rods, reels, and fly fishing supplies, stop by and talk to the friendly folks at Imperial Bait & Tackle. 

Prichard’s Outdoor Shop opened its doors in Grayson, Kentucky, in 2012, and has been selling fishing, hunting, trapping, and archery supplies to the public ever since then. Along with these products, they offer propane and other fuel, good, and boat rentals for that special fishing trip. Open every day from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., you won’t find a friendlier and more knowledgeable people than at Prichard’s. 

B&B Bait and Tackle in Nicholasville, Kentucky,  isn’t just your average bait and tackle shop. Winner of several awards including the “Best Bait and Tackle Shop,” the Readers Choice Best in Business Award, and “Best of Nicholasville” award since 2012 when they opened, you’ll find unsurpassed customer service and products from nationally-recognized brands. Open every day except Wednesday.

Chloe in our commercial for our bait and tackle store

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What started out as a simple bait shop in 2003 has grown to a fully-stocked bait and tackle store with online purchasing capabilities. With great nationally recognized brands like Strike King and Zoom, Winding Creek Bait & Tackle in Madisonville, Kentucky, is among the very best. Special orders are no problem at all. 

Crazy Horse Bait & Tackle in Campbellsville, Kentucky, opened in 1993 with the specific purpose of providing a local place where folks could come for all their outdoor and sporting goods needs. Helpful and community minded, the owners are happy to answer any questions you may have about anything related to fishing. Open every day except Sunday and Monday. 

It’s all about the bass at Cedar Creek Lake Outfitters in Crab Orchard, Kentucky. The only full inventory bait and tackle store that has everything you need to fish for that trophy trout, they carry brands like Zoom, Bandit, Shimano, and many more nationally-known brands. Check out their seasonal hours on the website before going. 

This one-stop family-owned shop located in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, Anglers Bait-N-Tackle, has been around since 1996. Serving the local area with great products and superior customer service, they have live bait and everything you need to have a successful fishing adventure, especially if you’re traveling to nearby Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. Open every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., they love to talk fishing. 

10ft PENN Battalion

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Backwater Outfitters is Lexington, Kentucky’s premier bait and tackle shop for all your fishing needs. With a great selection of brand names like Abu Garcia, G Loomis, Storm, and many more, you can trust that you’re not only getting quality in the products you buy, but excellent customer service, too. Backwater Outfitters also feature Hobie brand kayaks so you can fish hands free. With a mission to serve men and women, young and old, local and regional, Backwater Outfitters is open every day except Sunday to provide all your fishing needs. 

When you invest your time and money into the sport of fishing, you want to know that you’re getting the best gear, equipment, and supplies. With trusted national brands like Jenko, Rapala, and Strike King to name a few, you can depend on the quality and service that’s earned them a great reputation since 1984 at Fast Eddie’s Bait & Tackle Shop in Benton, Kentucky. Open every day.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-bait-and-tackle-shops-in-kentucky http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-bait-and-tackle-shops-in-kentucky Thu, 05 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Beautiful Backpack Camping Spots in Kentucky Kentucky provides a large number of great places to get outside and enjoy hiking, backpacking, and camping. If the idea of rustic camping appeals to you, check out these five beautiful backpack camping spots that will provide you with the ultimate primitive experience among beautiful Kentucky wilderness. 

Part of the Daniel Boone National Forest, Beaver Creek Wilderness became recognized as a top location for exploring nature in quiet and peaceful surroundings in 1975. This 4,877-acre is kept free from outside interferences and influences to protect the rugged beauty, and there is little signage to guide hikers and backpackers. Overnight primitive camping is allowed with certain restrictions, as well as hunting and fishing, and there are the remains of an abandoned coal settlement from the early 1900s that can provide an interesting hike. Remember that bears and other animals call this wilderness home, so caution must be used to protect yourself and food. You’ll need to register with the ranger’s station before embarking on your adventure since cell phones may not work in these areas. Another important requirement of wilderness areas is the “leave no trace” concept. The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources (fw.ky.gov) can provide additional information that will make your trip fun and safe. 

Three states are part of the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, and some of the 85 miles of hiking and backpacking trails that run the length of the Gap take you into the heart of the Appalachian backcountry and black bear territory. The trails are not always well-marked and care must be exercised to keep food away from bears and other animals when camping overnight. There is no charge for camping—however, you must obtain a permit from the visitor center and reservations can be made in advance up to three months. Make sure to check on weather and trail conditions, water access, and other important information that will help make your adventure fun and safe. 

Land Between the Lakes, a recreation area situated between Kentucky and Tennessee has been a recognized outdoor playground since 1963. The lakes referred to in the name are Kentucky Lake and Barkley Lake, and the area is known as one of the largest undeveloped forests in the country. The area is perfect for hiking, backpacking, fishing, birding, and water sports, and hunting is permitted with the proper licensing. Backcountry camping, recently renamed dispersed camping, is permitted with fees paid online or at a local visitor center. Escape into nature and experience more than 300 miles of shoreline and over 500 miles of trails. Bring your own water or filtration system and watch out for black bears that live in the area. The USDA Forest Service can provide helpful information about things you need to know before you take your trip.

Located in the south-central part of the state, Mammoth Cave National Park in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, contains parts of the longest cave system in the world. Visitors and especially those hiking or backpacking along the miles of trails in the park are often treated to local wildlife like white-tailed deer, wild turkey, chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons, and a variety of birds. Two kinds of backcountry camping are permitted in Mammoth Cave National Park, designated camping sites and floodplain sites. Both sites have restrictions, so be sure to review before venturing out as the rules are there for your protection. Permits are also required. 

Connected to the Daniel Boone National Forest and the Red River Gorge, Clifty Wilderness has some of the most unique and breathtaking rock formations and natural stone bridges. Exploring the 12,646-acre wilderness area is not for the fainthearted or those with little hiking and backpacking experience. Many of the more than 20 miles of trails have no clear markings and orienteering skills are needed to navigate the wooded paths. Dispersed overnight camping is allowed by permit only and you must follow the guidelines for safe camping. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-beautiful-backpack-camping-spots-in-kentucky http://stepoutside.org/article/5-beautiful-backpack-camping-spots-in-kentucky Fri, 29 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0500
10 Best Outdoor Festivals in Kentucky With the Mississippi, Ohio and Kentucky Rivers, the Appalachian Mountains and all that lies in between, the Bluegrass State has much to offer those who love the outdoors. And what better way to celebrate the state’s natural beauty than a festival? From paddlesports to catfish celebrations, here are the best outdoor festivals in Kentucky! 

Taking place every August on the Ohio River between Kentucky and the Buckeye State, Paddlefest is the biggest celebration of paddlesports in the United States. It also includes several races that are part of the Kentucky Waterman Series. Ohio River Paddlefest features a paddler’s party and camping the night before the put in and a finish line festival after the paddle. Rental vessel  kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards—are available for those who need them. St. Elizabeth Healthcare is a major sponsor of this event, as well as Subaru, Great Parks of Hamilton County, Southern Paddlesports LLC, and more.

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Every summer (for over three decades), the river city of Ashland hosts its annual Summer Motion festival. In addition to live music, a carnival, art and a car show, there are plenty of other activities to get you outside and moving around. A 5K and a 10K race will take place during the festival, as well as a pickleball tournament. Health screenings and children’s games will also be on hand. Major sponsors include Summit RV, Glocknerof Ashland, Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, and Marathon Petroleum Corp..

Every summer, the city of Augusta celebrates its Ohio River heritage with the Riverfest Regatta. Sternwheel river boats will be on hand for exploration and rides. You can also get involved by running a 5K or a 10K or participating in the corn hold tournament. Wine tasting and a beer garden are there to help you cool off afterward.

The Whippoorwill Festival was launched to promote “earth-friendly” living skills in Appalachia. The family-friendly festival includes workshops that teach traditional, self-reliant mountain living, tent camping and food. Music and dancing cap off the entertainment, and a community campfire serves as the festival’s evening centerpiece. This year’s festival is able to commence thanks to Kentucky Heartwood and Earth Tools Inc..

Okay, so Lebowski Fest is not entirely and an outdoor festival, and movie watching is a big part of it, but it’s still a unique, quirky weekend of events that you ought to check out. You can participate by dressing as your favorite “Big Lebowski” character or knocking down some pins at the bowling party. Bowling and the after party take place at Executive Strike & Spare and Against the Grain Brewery will be proffering beverages during the festival.

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Apart from fireworks and food and all the other fine hometown festival fare, Morgantown’s annual Green River Catfish Festival offers up a softball tournament, a basketball tournament, a poker tournament, a road race, a corn hole tournament and a karaoke contest. There’s also a river float and of course, fishing tournaments. Sponsors include Renegade Marina & Outdoor Center, City of Morgantown, and Morgantown Chamber of Commerce,

An annual autumn celebration of the Bluegrasss State’s waterways, Paddle Palooza is the biggest group paddle on the Kentucky River. Historically, there have been two different trip opportunities. The first is a family-friendly trip on the Kentucky River and Benson Creek. The second includes a trip through Lock and Dam No. 4. Workshops, educational tents, food and live music will be on handduring the festival. Rentals are available with pre-registration. 

For more than six decades, the city of Corbin has been hosting its annual NIBROC (“A reflection of Corbin”) Festival. Apart from a parade, vendors, a carnival and a beer garden, participants can join in the fun: There’s a volleyball tournament, a ping pong tournament, a corn hole tournament, a three-on-three basketball tournament, a two-mile race, and of course, the “Fastest Kid in Town” competition. Partnering with this festival is Baptist Health Corbin, Forcht Group of Kentucky, 4ever Graphics & Design, and Eastern Kentucky University.

Every September, folks flock to Barlow for the annual Ballard County Waterfowl Festival. There are typically bicycle tours and at least one additional cycling event, a fishing event and an archery tournament. Bird dog competitions and helicopter tours of Ballard County occur throughout the weekend. But the featured events are the Southern U.S. Open Calling Contests—for waterfowl, of course. Horizon Lawn and Tractor, Padicah Shooter’s Supply, and Kentucky Lake Outdoors help to make it all possible.

Hosted annually as a fundraiser by Paddling for Cancer Awareness, the Kentucky Dragon Boat Festival takes place every September on Campbell County Lake. Teams of paddlers compete against one another on the water, while merriment ensues on shore. This event is all made possible by Paddling for Cancer Awareness and The Kentucky Thorough-Breasts.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-outdoor-festivals-in-kentucky http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-outdoor-festivals-in-kentucky Thu, 21 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Best Fishing Holes in Kentucky When anglers cast a line, it’s all about the big catch and the great story to go along with it. From enormous lakes to rushing rivers, Kentucky is a paradise for fishermen and women. After a trip to one of the state’s best fishing holes, you’ll have plenty of stories to tell. Here are our favorites. 

Taylorsville Lake is a prime fishing hole in Kentucky. There are plenty of bass, crappie, and catfish that have reached their keeper status. But before you keep what you catch, make sure to check with the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife regulations. Most people at Taylorsville Lake come to fish from the banks, but there are several fishing boats as well. Taylorsville Lake is just outside of Louisville, Kentucky, and tends to be pretty crowded during the summertime, so if you come fishing make sure to get your spot saved early in the day! 

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Lake Cumberland has a large variety of fish species ready to be snagged on your next fishing trip. Crappie, bream, walleye, trout, catfish, and five species of bass can all become part of your wall-collection or your next meal. You may want to just come fishing to Lake Cumberland for the sport though. The pristine water is reminiscent of a Great Lake. There are also quite a few fishing tournaments hosted every year here. If you want to compete, check out the Lake Cumberland Tourism website for more information.

Crappie, bass, and walleye all reside in the beautiful Nolin River Lake. Located on the edge of Mammoth Cave Park, Nolin River Lake is a prime fishing hole for many Kentuckians that like to eat what they catch. There are plenty of coves and secret nooks to claim your spot. During the holiday season, the lake can tend to get crowded, so plan accordingly. 

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Dale Hollow is one of the most beautiful fishing spots in Kentucky. Bass, trout, walleye, bluegill, muskie, catfish, and panfish can all be found in Dale Hollow. This is one of the deepest lakes in Kentucky which means a truly big catch could be lurking below. The water at Dale Hollow lake is crystal clear which means the visibility for fishing is excellent. If you’re a sport fisherman you will want to check out Dale Hollow on your next fishing trip to Kentucky. This prime fishing hole is the oldest man-made lake in the state. By the dam, the depths reach over 100 feet, which makes for a nice fish population.  

Rough River may not be well-known as a prime fishing spot in Kentucky, but it is a very relaxing destination. If you enjoy the peacefulness of just fishing for fun, Rough River is a prime spot for just that. Bass, crappie, bluegill, and sunfish can all be found at this great fishing hole. There are plenty of rock ledges for fishing. Whether you’re fishing for fun or enjoying the sun you can do it all at Rough River.  

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-best-fishing-holes-in-kentucky http://stepoutside.org/article/5-best-fishing-holes-in-kentucky Tue, 06 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0600
5 Best Dirt Motorcycle Trails in Kentucky In Kentucky, dirt biking is a way of life. From the wide-open grasslands to its rolling hills, Kentucky makes for a glorious place to explore on a dirt bike. From designated off-road parks to motocross tracks, the riding community is strong. Here are the five best dirt motorcycle trails to explore in Kentucky. 

Dirty Turtle Offroad Park in Bedford, Kentucky, has some of the most serious trails for motocross in the Bluegrass State. A gathering place for friends and family in the off-roading community, Dirty Turtle Offroad Park boasts trails for “anything offroad.” According to the website, there is something to accommodate all levels of skill, whether you’re new to the game or “have been wheelin for years.” 

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Wildcat Adventures is a top-notch place to bring dirt bikes in Kentucky. Not only are the trails excellent, but the tracks showcase the stunning natural beauty Kentucky has to offer. On site, riders will also find a general store and opportunity for canoeing and kayaking! You can really make a whole trip of Wildcat Adventures.  

Word of mouth holds a lot of significance when it comes to knowing which dirt bike tracks are the best, and SoggyBottom is a favorite. One of the greatest aspects about SoggyBottom is that it offers classes and training for all skill levels. With a series of professional trainers, everyone from children to more seasoned riders can sign up for a class to hone their skills. 

Nickota Motorsports in Bedford, Kentucky, is right next to Dirty Turtle. You can bounce back and forth between the two on any given day. Nickota Motorsports is a well-maintained, family-oriented course. During open practice days, which take place on weekends between noon and 6 p.m., the track is pretty empty for all dirt bikers. If the track has a race they will post it on their Facebook page, so be sure to state updated! 

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The track at Willie Rays offers lots of great jumps if you like getting some serious air when you ride. With an expert staff and well-maintained trails, you’ll have a professional and memorable experience at Willie Rays. Dirt biking enthusiasts will be impressed by this track. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-best-dirt-motorcycle-trails-in-kentucky http://stepoutside.org/article/5-best-dirt-motorcycle-trails-in-kentucky Tue, 06 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0600
Camping Done Right: 7 Best Outdoor Stores in Kentucky When it comes to enjoying the outdoors, preparation is the best way to make sure you have a great time. And the best way to prepare is to visit and talk to people who make that their mission in life. Listed below are the seven best outdoor stores in Kentucky where you can go to find the brands that will make your next outdoor adventure successful. 

Camping is a wonderful outdoor activity, whether you’re doing it alone, with friends, or as a family. Having the right equipment and supplies can make the difference between a great camping experience and a bad one. J&H Lanmark in Lexington, Kentucky, is a local outdoor store that features trusted name brands like Patagonia, Black Diamond, Marmot, and many more. Opened in 1972 as an army/navy surplus store, it quickly became a source for all things camping related with the goal of having the best customer service anywhere. Open from seven days a week. 

Camping, hiking, climbing…whatever your favorite outdoor activity is, Quest Outdoors in Louisville, Kentucky, is the place to get all your supplies and equipment. When Quest Outdoors opened their doors in 1983, their mission was to help lovers of nature successfully complete their adventures. No matter what season or type of activity, you’ll find a full line of nationally recognized brands like MSR, Big Agnes, and Osprey. Stop by Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 6 p.m. where friendly and knowledgeable folks will help you find exactly what you need. 

Hooper’s Outdoor Center is a large two-story store that is your local center for recreational activities in Kentucky. Located in Paducah, the store is open every day to help you find what you need for your next camping trip, fishing or hunting expedition, or family hiking adventure. Carrying famous brands like Terramar and Columbia for apparel, CamelBack and Black Diamond for gear, and the North Face for outdoor footwear, if they don’t have what you want, they’ll help you find it. 

Woody's favorite store 😏

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With a desire to give the best customer service and provide quality outdoor gear to individuals and families in the Louisville, Kentucky area, Water and Oak Outdoor Company stocks a large selection of apparel, equipment, and other supplies for just about any activity you can want. They believe that happy customers are repeat customers, so they go out of their way to be a trusted place with great products from companies like Patagonia, Barbour, and more. Whatever you need, stop by Water and Oak any day of the week. 

What would a camping trip be without swimming, fishing, hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, or other fun activity? Make sure you have everything you need for your next adventure by stopping by Prichard’s Outdoor Shop in Grayson, Kentucky. Staffed by friendly people who know about the outdoors, if they don’t have what you want, they’ll find it. 

Campcraft Outdoors, located in Bethlehem, Kentucky, isn’t your typical outdoor store. More than a supply and equipment store, Campcraft Outdoors is a professional survival school offering skills courses, certifications, and maker of handcrafted products for wilderness survival, camp cooking, survival self-defense, and more, including accredited classes for people of all ages who camp, hike, or lead groups. Partnering with Escape the Woods, the largest competitive training event in the country, you’ll find everything you need from Campcraft Outdoors for outdoor survival.

There’s nothing better to teach strong wholesome values than in the great outdoors. This is the thinking behind Kentucky Lake Outdoors. Located in Calvert City, there’s something for everyone here, and a love of being outside is at the core. The friendly staff can help you find what works best for you. Open every day.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/camping-done-right-7-best-outdoor-stores-in-kentucky http://stepoutside.org/article/camping-done-right-7-best-outdoor-stores-in-kentucky Wed, 10 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0600
9 Best Winter Cabin Camping Spots in Kentucky Don’t let the cold keep you away from the stunning natural beauty Kentucky has to offer. Whether you’re looking to explore sprawling state parks or you’re seeking a sparkling lake-side retreat, Kentucky has a cabin campsite for you. Escape the winter weather without removing yourself from the beauty of nature with these nine great cabin camping spots in the state.  

Located a little south of the Ohio River in Henderson, Kentucky, John James Audubon State Park has five one-bedroom cottages and one ADA-accessible cottage available for rent year-round. If you’re into birding, winter is the perfect time to see a large variety of birds including woodpeckers and waterfowl, and once you arrive, you’ll see why the park was received the 2016 Reader’s Choice Award for an Outdoor Recreation Spot in 2016. Each cabin has a fully operational fireplace and kitchen complete with everything to make your stay comfortable. 

no more “i wish”

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Mountain Laurel Lake in Garfield, Kentucky, is about an hour’s drive southwest of Louisville. This charming location is where you’ll find your own private getaway for peace and tranquility. You can choose from five different cabins ranging from one to three bedrooms available year-round, all with hot tub, gas fireplace, fully-equipped modern kitchens, linens, and a beautiful view of the lake and surrounding area. Who wouldn’t leave refreshed and relaxed after a stay here? 

Natural Bridge Five Star Cabin Rental is exactly what you need to escape. With 50 one to three-bedroom cabins with fully equipped kitchens that include appliances, microwave, cooking utensils, pots and pans, gas or electric fireplaces, large flat-screen TVs, and linens, each cabin has a spectacular view of one of the most beautiful places in the state. Located in Slade, Kentucky, you’ll experience peace and tranquility and best the winter blues without compromising convenience. Large cabins have hot tubs or Jacuzzis, washer and dryers, and other amenities, but ask about bring pets when you make your reservation.

Looking for heaven on earth? You just might find it at Yatesville Lake Cabin Rental in Louisa, Kentucky. Secluded on the mountain near Yatesville Lake, this comfortable cabin is available year-round for a family vacation, friends’ getaway, or a private romantic retreat. This home away from home features Amish-made furniture and plenty of comfortable amenities. There’s a washer and dryer for your use, and a beautiful stone fireplace perfect for snuggling and sipping your favorite beverage. The cabin can accommodate up to 10 overnight guests, and has been rated the No. 1 cabin rental in Eastern Kentucky.

Settle down for a long winter’s night in style at Peaceful Valley Cabins in Russell Springs, Kentucky. You have the choice of three beautiful lakeside cabins that can accommodate from two to eight people, making this great for a weekend getaway for family, friends, or a romantic trip with your loved one. Everything you need is included in the full-size kitchen, and there’s a washer and dryer, gas fireplace, all linens, and TV provided. Open year round.

Family holiday or romantic weekend, Paddlers’ Inn in Butler, Kentucky, is the perfect place to escape during the winter months. Open year-round, winter is especially beautiful and tranquil at this rustic riverside paradise in the northern part of the state along the Main Licking River. Cedar cabins include all the kitchen equipment, linens, and supplies you need except food, and you will enjoy the hot tub and amazing view.  

Have you ever experienced a fresh snowfall at a gorgeous winter retreat in the comfort of your very own cabin? Then look no further and book your winter getaway at Lighthouse Landing Resort and Marina in Grand Rivers, Kentucky. There are plenty of things to do in the area during the day, and you can look forward to snuggling up to a cozy fire in the evening with your favorite drink, play a game, or just enjoy the peace and quiet. Wheelchair-friendly cabins are available, and the staff is more than happy to assist when booking. 

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Western Kentucky is the place to head if you’re looking for a place to get away for a weekend or longer. Winter doesn’t have to be mundane when you stay at one of the cozy cabins at Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park in Dawson Springs, Kentucky. Hike during the day and relax by the fireplace at night in one of the cabins available for rent this winter. This back-to-nature getaway is just what you need to escape the winter blues. 

Deluxe accommodations and a relaxing atmosphere is what you can expect when you book this single private cabin at Lake Woods Log Cabin in Grand Rivers, Kentucky. This hilltop location lets you experience a gorgeous lake, and is perfect for whatever reason you need to get away. Up to 12 people can stay overnight, and you’ll have conveniences like full bathrooms, electric fireplace, and central heating and A/C, complimentary coffee and condiments in the fully-equipped kitchen, wash and dryer, and plenty of parking. Open year round, this will be your new home away from home.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/9-best-winter-cabin-camping-spots-in-kentucky http://stepoutside.org/article/9-best-winter-cabin-camping-spots-in-kentucky Wed, 10 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0600
9 Best Ski Destinations for Families Around Kentucky Ready for a wintertime adventure? Explore the neighboring states of Kentucky for a memorable skiing trip with the family. From Indiana to North Carolina, you’ll find some truly unique and well-maintained slopes. The skiers, snowboarders, and snow tubers in your family will love every moment of it. Here are the 10 best ski destinations for families around Kentucky. 

Tired of the winter doldrums? Get your family packed and head for the Perfect North Slopes in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Located about three hours away from Lexington, Kentucky, the only thing more fun than going yourself is taking everyone with you! If you have little ones, you’ll want to sign them up for the Doodles Program where professional and very patient instructors will guide them through the art of skiing. You can rent equipment if you don’t have it, take skiing or snowboarding lessons, enjoy great food, and exchange stories with other families. It’s an adventure waiting to happen. 

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Only 4-6 hours from Lexington, Kentucky, Ober Gatlinburg in Tennessee has everything thing you need for winter fun for your family. Because safety is a prime concern here, first timers need to take a short skiing or snowboarding lesson and have approved equipment (either your own or rented there) before heading out on the slopes. And if you’ve never gone tubing, you have to add that to your list of things to do while here. Appropriate for ages three and up, it’s just like sledding without the long walk back uphill. Special lifts take you up the mountain so you can slide down again and again. Open from mid-December to mid-March, Ober Gatlinburg is the place to be in the winter time. 

With over 90 acres to enjoy, Winterplace Ski Resort in Ghent, West Virginia, is a winter lover’s delight. New to winter sports and want to expose your family to something different? Sign up for one of the lessons available, even for the little ones. Kinder Care entertains children aged six months to four years-old while the older kids and Mom and Dad learn how to navigate the slopes or have fun sliding down the tubes on the largest tube park in the state. 

Family-friendly, kid-friendly, and fun-friendly. That’s how you describe Snowshoe Mountain Resort in Snowshoe, West Virginia. Just a short six-hour drive from Lexington, Kentucky, you and your family can be on the slopes or going down the tubes while having a blast this winter. And after a great day enjoying the winter wonderland, you can cozy up to a warm meal and swap stories about your favorite parts of the day. 

You have to see it to believe it at Canaan Valley in Davis, West Virginia. Load up the family and head for this fun-filled family resort where you can ski, snowboard, go tubing, cross-country ski, ice skate, and snowshoe. If you want to rent equipment, you can do that, too. Lessons are available at reasonable rates and there are packages for ages seven and up that include a one-day lift ticket, ski or snowboard rental, and a lesson. There’s so much to here that the only problem you’ll have is deciding what to do first. 

If you’re looking for a great new place to take the family for some amazing winter fun, Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, is just the place. Open from early November through March each year, there’s a skiing area and a tubing park just a few miles away. Over 50 acres await you and your family in this winter wonderland, and there are slopes for beginners and experts. What’s even more fun is going down the slopes at night. 

There’s always snow on the mountain at Wolf Ridge Ski Resort in Mars Hill, North Carolina. You and your family can enjoy exciting outdoor winter fun from the first week of December until mid-March each year. The resort keeps the snow coming even when Mother Nature isn’t cooperating with giant Snow Guns located around the slopes. The tube run is just a little down the road and can always be counted on for fun.

Pack up your family and head to Sugar Mountain Resort in Sugar Mountain, North Carolina. You’ll have a blast with so many things to do. You can go tubing down the 700-foot long tube lanes during the day or at nighttime. You could go ice skating on the resort’s 10,000-square-foot outdoor skating rink. You could put on a pair of snowshoes and walk across the frozen landscape in this winter wonderland with one of the daily tours. And if you forget anything at home, you can stop by the Sugar Mountain Sports Shop Annex. All this outdoor activity will stir up an appetite, but no worries. There’s a great restaurant inside the resort where you can find a cozy spot and enjoy a hot meal or cup of cocoa. 

Tom is terrific. #skisugar

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The winter season is in full swing and there’s no reason to let the blues get you down. Pack up the family and head six hours down the road to Hawks Nest in Seven Devils, North Carolina. You’ll have hours of fun frolicking and romping in the snow, and everyone three years-old and older can enjoy tubing, but better make reservations before you come because Hawks Nest is one of the most popular winter destinations in the state and spots fill up fast.   

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http://stepoutside.org/article/9-best-ski-destinations-for-families-around-kentucky http://stepoutside.org/article/9-best-ski-destinations-for-families-around-kentucky Tue, 26 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0600
A beginner’s guide: Ice fishing Vin T. Sparano, as excerpted from Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia: Camping, Fishing, Hunting, Boating, Wilderness Survival, First Aid

 

 

Ice fishing differs greatly from open-water fishing, and it is a demanding sport. It requires an understanding of and an ability to cope with winter weather, knowledge of the cold-weather habits of the fish, and the use of an unusual assortment of gear, most of it unique to ice fishing.

There are two basic ice-fishing methods: tip-up fishing and jigging. In general, tip-ups are usually used on larger fish—pike, pickerel, walleyes, trout, and such—that prefer bait and require the angler to play the waiting game. Jigging is usually preferred for smaller fish that tend to school up—bluegills, perch, crappies, and the like. But these are merely generalizations, not hard-and-fast rules. For example, jigging (sometimes called chugging) is often quite productive on big lake trout and salmon in the Great Lakes. 

Also called tilts, these come in various styles, but they all perform two basic functions: they hold a baited line leading from a revolving-type reel spool, and they signal the bite of a fish. The most common type of tip-up consists of three strips of wood, each about 18 inches long. Two are cross pieces that form an X as they span the hole. The third piece is an upright; at its bottom end is attached a simple line-holding spool, while the upper end holds the signaling device. The signal is usually a piece of very flexible spring steel with a red (some anglers prefer black) flag on the end. After the hook is baited and lowered to the desired depth, the steel arm is “cocked”—bent over and down and hooked onto a “trigger.” When a fish strikes, an arm on the revolving spool releases the steel arm and it flies erect.

In this type of tip-up, the reel is positioned underwater. In other variations, the reel is positioned above the ice. Each type has its advantages. The above-the-ice reel can be more sensitively adjusted for light-biting fish, but the line tends to freeze on the reel once it gets wet. The underwater reel largely eliminates the problem of freezing, but the fisherman must remove the tip-up from the hole before he can grab the line.

Baits for tip-up fishing are usually live. In general, it pays to match the size of the bait to the size of the fish you’re after. Baits range from tiny maggots (often called mousies) and grubs for panfish, to worms and small minnows for walleyes, and up to 6-inch baitfish for pike. 

As done by ice fishermen, jigging is simply a method of imparting an up-and-down movement to a lure or bait. Jigging can be—and is—done with any sort of line-holding rod or stick. 

Some jigging rods—more appropriately called sticks—are simply pieces of wood 18 inches or so long, with U-shaped notches in each end. The line—10-pound-test monofilament is very popular—is wound lengthwise onto the stick around the U-shaped notches and is paid out as needed. There are other types of jigging sticks of varying designs, and many ice anglers use standard spinning or spincast rods or the butt half of a fly rod. 

Rods made specially for ice jigging are simple affairs consisting of a fiberglass tip section that is 2 or 3 feet long seated in a short butt. The butt may have a simple revolving-spool reel or merely a pair of heavy-wire projections around which the line is wound. The tip section may have two to four guides, including the tip guide. The shortness of such a rod lets the user fish up close to the hole and have better control over the lure or bait at the end of his line. 

There are many and varied jigging lures and baits, but flashiness is built into most of them. Others produce best when “sweetened” with bait. Two popular jigging lures are: an ungainly looking critter with a heavy body shaped and painted to resemble a baitfish, a hook at each end and a treble hook in the middle of its underside, and a line-tie ring in the middle of its upper surface; and a long, slim, three- or four-sided, silvery model with a treble hook at one end and a line-tie ring at the other. 

Jigging methods vary with the fisherman and with the fish being sought. However, a productive way to fish many jigging lures, especially flashier types, is to twitch the lure slightly and then jerk it suddenly upward with a quick upward movement of the arm. The proper interval between jerks is learned with experience. 

Popular jigging baits include a single perch eye (either impaled on a small hook or used to sweeten a tiny hair or rubber-bodied ice fly), worms, grubs, maggots, insect larvae, minnows, and cut bait (pieces of skin or flesh that are cut from the tail or body of such fish as smelt and perch). 

Jiggers tend to move around more than tip-up fishermen, boring holes in different areas until they find a productive spot. 

Like most other forms of fishing, ice angling requires some auxiliary equipment. Most ice anglers prefer to keep such gear to a minimum, for they have to haul it with them wherever they go on the ice. 

If you’re going to fish through holes in the ice, you need something to make those holes. The ice auger is a popular tool for this job. Augers come in different designs. One has a long handle with a U-shaped bend at the top, and a rounded cutting blade at the bottom. The handle is turned much like that of a manual drill, and the blade cuts a round hole through the ice. Another type looks like a giant ice drill with sharp, widely spaced threads. It is used in the same way. Gasoline-powered ice drills are also available. 

Then there’s the ice spud or chisel. This is a heavy metal handle with a large, chisel-type blade at the bottom. The spud’s weight helps the angler punch down through the ice, but the user must shape the hole once he has broken through. 

An indispensable item of accessory gear is the ice skimmer, a ladle-type device that is used to keep the hole clear of ice chips and chunks and to skim ice. A heavy sinker will serve the same purpose. 

Many ice anglers like to use an attached spring clip. It is attached to the fishing line and used to determine the water depth—an important factor because in winter most game fish are found on or near the bottom. 

Winter is the time of year when ice fishermen venture out onto frozen waters. Most will have fun, but a few will get into trouble because they don’t know how to make sure that the ice is safe. The first rule is never take chances. There are two periods when accidents are likely to happen: early in the season when slush ice doesn’t freeze uniformly and late in the season when ice melts at an uneven rate. It takes prolonged periods of freezing to make ice safe. Here are some rules to remember: 

Be cautious of heavy snowfalls while ice is forming. Snow acts as an insulator. The result is a layer of slush and snow on top of treacherous ice. 

Clear, solid river ice is 15 percent weaker than clear lake ice. 

River ice is thinner midstream than near the banks. 

River mouths are dangerous because currents create pockets of unsafe ice. 

When walking with friends, stay 10 yards apart. 

Lakes that have a lot of springs will have weak spots of ice. 

 

 

 

 

About the author:

Vin T. Sparano is the author of Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia as well as three other guides for Rizzoli

He has been an outdoor editor and writer for more than fifty years. He is editor emeritus of Outdoor Life, and has written and edited more than fifteen books about the outdoors. In 2013, he was inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/a-beginners-guide-ice-fishing http://stepoutside.org/article/a-beginners-guide-ice-fishing Tue, 26 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0600
7 Best Ice Skating Spots in Kentucky What could be more fun than a spin around the ice rink for family night, with a group of friends, or as a first date? Below are 10 of the best ice skating spots in Kentucky and most of them offer skating lessons for anyone who wants to develop better balance and self-confidence on the ice. For a cool time, check out the suggestions below. 

Downtown Bowling Green, Kentucky, is once again the spot for frolicking family fun with the freezing of 6,000 square-feet into the best ice skating rink in the city. A community effort with dozens of businesses participating to make this great event happen between mid-November and the first week in January, admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children under age 12. Discounts are available for military personnel, emergency responders, and WKU students, and skate rental is included in the admission fee. Skaters can enjoy the rink for up to two hours, and there’s a concession stand nearby with hot drinks and holiday goodies. 

Located in Moreland Park in the city of Owensboro, Edge Ice Center is a winter wonderland and the only municipal rink in the state. Open year round, the unique center has public skating, skate rentals and sharpening, a concession shop, pro shop, and offers Learn-To-Skate classes in the winter months as part of the Ice Skating Institute’s WeSkate program. 

The Northern Kentucky Ice Center is home to Northern Kentucky Skating Club and the Youth Hockey Association, and is the only indoor rink open year-round in this part of the state. There are two rinks, one of which is a full-size hockey rink that’s used for hockey games, figure skating, and public ice skating. The smaller rink is used for practice, beginning skaters, and private parties. Admission is $6 per person and skate rental is $2 with children 10 and under only $1. Group and family rates are available by calling the office.

Like baba like son. 👨🏻👦🏻 #adventuresofaugustjay #fieldspartyoffour

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If you love ice skating, you’ll love the Iceland Sports Complex in Louisville. This spacious rink is open year-round and offers families the chance for a fun evening adventure. Enjoy the clean smooth surface and take a spin around the rink in Kentucky’s only dual ice arena. Do you want to learn to skate? Lessons are available and instructors can show you how to have better form and technique, and make your skating experience even more enjoyable. General admission for public skating is $7 per person, figure skates can be rented for $2, and hockey skates for $3. 

❄️⛸

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Louisville, Kentucky, is home to Alpine Ice Arena and the great Zamboni ice resurfacer seen in the movie, “Ice Princess.” Open for public skating and available as a birthday party rental location, you can visit the pro shop, have your skates sharpened or repaired, sign up for figure or hockey skating lessons, or just come with friends and family for a fantastic time. Admission is $6 per person and skate rental is $3. 

Winter's hanging on

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You have to see it to believe it! That’s what people say about the Lexington Ice Center. This spacious facility combines an indoor and outdoor ice skating area that also has a Bible-themed miniature golf area that’s open during the year except in winter. General admission for public skating is $8.25 per person with kids 10 and younger being $7.25. Skate rental is $2.25. Group rates are available and if you’re looking for a great place for your next birthday event, consider renting one of the courts. Overnight interdenominational youth events can be scheduled and reserved, and skating lessons are given on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays with pre-registration. 

Fun times in rink 2 with Delia and Ian

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Parks are wonderful places for relaxation and leisurely walks in the spring, summer, and fall. But they come alive in the winter months when the ice skating rink opens to the public. The Unified Trust Company Ice Rink opens from the beginning of winter until mid-January, and the $12 per person admission fee includes the skate rental and gives 90 minutes of skating fun.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/7-best-ice-skating-spots-in-kentucky http://stepoutside.org/article/7-best-ice-skating-spots-in-kentucky Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0600
10 Best Archery Outfitters in Kentucky Whether you’re an expert archer or you’re just starting out, sportsmen and women of all skill levels have to stock up on the best gear. Kentucky has an abundance of excellent places to do just that. Find everything from quivers and sights to crossbows and arrows at these 10 awesome local archery outfitters in Kentucky. 

Located in Northern Kentucky, M&M Archery is your one-stop shop for all things archery. This unique family-friendly spot is open every day except Sunday and Monday and offers everyone excellent service and quality products like Bear, Mission, and Black Eagle. Carrying a full line of bow, recurves, and crossbows with all the accessories for each like quivers, sights, and release aids, they also have bow tuning and repair services. Visit the custom arrow center, and try out one of the NFAA indoor archery practice ranges or the 3D target range. Lessons and rental equipment are available for any age, and they’ll even host special events like team-building exercises and birthday parties. 

Form is everything #archery #getyourmoxieon #moxiearchery #aeparchery #truball

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Serving the local community since 1996, and with a nice selection of arrows, bows, and related equipment from top manufacturers in the archery field like Mission, QAD, and Mathews, King’s Archery Outfitters in Louisville, Kentucky, takes service and customer satisfaction to a new level. If you’re a beginner, want to brush up for hunting season, or get ready for a tournament, there are classes and instructors that will help you prepare. King’s is open Tuesday through Saturday.

Family owned and in business since 1978, Bent Arrow Archery in New Haven, Kentucky, has made a name for themselves with the top-notch service and great products they sell. You can find brands like Genesis, PSE, and Mission for your bow needs, and they have custom-made arrows in store, but if you have a specific need, the owners will be happy to special order it for you. Whether you’re getting ready for bow season or the NASP, use right or left-landed equipment, want to purchase new or repair what you have, Bent Arrow is the place to go.  

In business for more than 16 years, and known as one of the best archery supply shops in western Kentucky, Hunter’s Den in Russellville is the place to go for the latest equipment and great brands like Rage and Genesis. Hunter’s Den was also voted a “Top 100 Retailer” four years in a row by Mathews, Inc., and they pass their extensive knowledge and experience on to their customers. You can trust that this pro shop will deliver excellent and fast service at reasonable prices. Visit the outside shooting range for practice and have your bow serviced for best results from an experienced bowman.

Open every day except Sundays and in business for over 21 years, Mike’s Guns & Archery in Frankfort, Kentucky, has everything you need related to firearms and archery accessories. If they don’t have it, they can often find it at better prices than the larger retail stores, saving you dollars in the process. The quality of their products is matched by the excellent customer service you get. 

Looking for a new bow? Need to have your current bow serviced? Arrows and Antlers Archery in Butler, Kentucky, is the place to visit. Open daily from 6:30 p.m. until 11 p.m. except on Sunday, this local archery shop is an authorized Mathews dealer with plenty of products in stock, but if they don’t have it, they can order it. You can test your bows for accuracy in the indoor shooting range. 

For a top-notch place to get all your archery needs, stop by On Target Archery and Outdoors in Mayslick, Kentucky. Whether you’re a professional archer, an avid sportsman or sportswoman, or you want to take up a new recreational hobby, you’ll find helpful people who can guide you to the best products on the market from trusted brands like Viper, Hoyt, Mission, Stryker, Bowtech, and many more. Open every day but Sunday, try the great indoor range to improve your technique. 

Herndon Archery in Herndon, Kentucky, is a veteran-owned business that specializes in one-stop shopping for professional and custom-made bows and arrows. An authorized Elite dealer, Herndon Archery also has custom-made bow strings and takes the time needed to make sure you have what you need. Safety and understanding of correct techniques are important and stressed for every customer, and no matter how busy they are, you’ll have individual attention that will make you leave satisfied. 

Got my new Prime Rival today! The guys at Herndon Archery got me set up. #G5, #prime, #goldtip#carter #qad

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Established in 1945, Pape’s in Louisville, Kentucky, has over a million square-feet of space and inventory that includes new products, specialty services, discontinued items, and promotional offers. They also have muzzle loading products, camping, and ATV supplies for the complete outdoors experience. Unmatched service and selection is what you can expect at Pape’s, and everyone on staff is experienced with bow hunting and the desire to serve the archery community. 

Locally owned and operated, Blevins Gap Outdoors is a specialty archery gear shop that is dedicated to providing the best equipment, supplies, and resources for a great hunting and fishing experience. Louisville, Kentucky, is home to this small-town shop with big service. Proud supporters of the NASP program and promoting archery as a sport, they prefer to remain independent from single brands and offer the best of all companies like Easton, Beman, Gold Tip, and Carbon Express. With over 50 years of experience, you can trust that you’ll get the guidance and knowledge you need.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-archery-outfitters-in-kentucky http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-archery-outfitters-in-kentucky Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0600
5 Energizing Hikes in Kentucky There’s nothing more exhilarating than being out in the great outdoors and challenging yourself with a brisk hike in one of Kentucky’s most beautiful wilderness areas. Below are suggestions for five energizing hikes that require intermediate-level experience to complete. Not known as the easiest trails, the rewards for traveling and finishing these routes will give you more endurance, confidence, and a sense of accomplishment, and provide lasting memories. 

Part of the Cumberland Ranger District in the Red River Gorge, the Auxier Ridge Trail in the southeastern part of Kentucky is known for panoramic views and magnificent rock formation along the way. Rated as an intermediate trail, hikers who travel this two-mile route can do it easily in a day or decide to spend the night and take their time viewing the sunrise and sunset along the way. Overnight camping permits are required and can be obtained at the local ranger’s station. You’ll want to bring plenty of water and snacks with you, and you definitely don’t want to leave your camera behind. There are plenty of interesting sandstone formations and several rock bridges along the way that are worth stopping to enjoy and photograph. Keep an eye on changing weather conditions, too, since part of the trail covers a ridge in backwoods that can be somewhat challenging in bad weather. 

Almost any time of year is perfect for hiking the Siltstone Trail, but fall may be the most beautiful season with the changing leaves creating a rainbow of color. Part of the Tom Wallace Recreation Area near Louisville, Kentucky, and located in central Kentucky, the trail is approximately 6.5 miles-long. Hikers will get a workout on this intermediate trail, the longest in the Jefferson Memorial Forest, with plenty of elevation changes and uphill climbs as much as 3,000 feet. This trail is amazing, though, because it gives a perfect idea of the magnificence of the Great Smoky Mountains. Bring water and watch out for poison ivy.

Part of the largest protected areas in the state, Tom Dorman State Nature Reserve in eastern Kentucky is where this moderate/intermediate trail is found. A lightly traveled 2.4-mile loop that features opportunities to see wildlife like deer and many species of birds along the trail, this is the ideal place to explore nature. Managed by the Kentucky River Authority, the nature preserve includes a 220-foot palisade along the Kentucky River, giving the trail its name. There are difficult sections of the trail, and care should be exercised when hiking during wet seasons and on high cliffs since they tend to get slippery.  

One of the most scenic areas along the Central Hardwoods Scenic Trail near Golden Pond, Kentucky, is Lake Barkley. With more than 11 miles of trail to hike, travelers will journey through the Land Between the Lakes in the western part of the state. This is a multi-use trail, so you may see bikers enjoying the route as you hike through, but the trail was designed to be six-feet wide to accommodate both. The trail is particularly nice to travel during the summer months because the tall hardwood trees create the perfect canopy overhead. 

Perfect for so many outdoor activities including rock climbing, trail running, walking, and hiking, the Courthouse Rock Trail near Stanton in the southeastern part of Kentucky joins the Auxier Ridge Trail in the northern section of the Red River Gorge trail system. This intermediate trail is known for high cliffs and hollows that meander through the thick forest trees, creating a spectacular panorama of beauty. The trail gets its name from the rock formation that resembles an old courthouse that you pass along the way. Dogs are permitted on the trail as long as they are kept on a leash. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-energizing-hikes-in-kentucky http://stepoutside.org/article/5-energizing-hikes-in-kentucky Tue, 24 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0500
5 Cool Rock Climbing Spots in Kentucky The Bluegrass State can impress when it comes to rock climbing. Bordered in the north by the Ohio River and in the west by the Mississippi River, much of Kentucky is in the Appalachian Mountains. All this makes for great climbing when you see the ridges and natural rock formations that dominate the horizon. Below are five cool rock climbing spots in the state that are well worth investigating. Rock on!

The Red River Gorge near Stanton, Kentucky, is located inside the Daniel Boone National Forest, and the 29,000-acre area was declared a geological area of significance and a world heritage site in 1975. The gorge, which is comprised of sandstone cliffs, rock walls, waterfalls, and natural stone bridges, is a rock climber’s dream and one of the most popular sites in the state and surrounding region. There are numerous hiking and backpacking trails in the gorge that range from easy to challenging, and the beautiful landscape provides stunning opportunities for photography. Red River Gorge is also a popular fishing area, and visitors should use caution and wear orange vests if visiting during hunting time. Overnight campers must obtain a permit, and there are certain areas where rock climbing is prohibited without prior permission, such as the Sky Bridge and Chimney Rock. 

Whether you’re new to the sport of rock climbing or a seasoned climber, Torrent Falls is the perfect place for an adventure. Situated in the beautiful Red River Gorge near Campton, Kentucky, Torrent Falls uses a state-of-the-art method called Via Ferrata to guide and help climbers practice before venturing out on their own. With the ability to customize for individual use or groups, AMGA-certified guides will walk you through the basics of climbing and rappelling with the goal of improving the safety and enjoyment of your adventure. New climbers should make sure to wear comfortable clothing, but there is a shop on-site that carries items you may want to purchase. 

Courthouse Rock near Stanton, Kentucky, is part of the Daniel Boone National Forest and offers spectacular autumn hiking and rock climbing opportunities. This 7.4-mile trail is rated moderately difficult for hiking and more challenging for climbing, especially without rope and harness help. You’ll see breathtaking views as you ascend up the steep cliff wall and there’s a large crack at the peak with amazing natural rock formations all around. Adding the Double Arch Trail is an added bonus, and the views from the top are unforgettable. 

Clack Mountain, with an of elevation 1,312 feet, offers several great top-rope climbs in this part of Kentucky, each with a nice variety of challenge. The best time for climbing is in the fall, but since there are numerous places that are adjacent to private land, hikers and climbers need to stay on the marked trails. Climbing aspects sun details range anywhere from sandstone and sedimentary boulders with all-day sun to big wall climbing with all-day shade, depending on the section you climb. The part hosts an annual Living Archaeology Weekend every September that’s great for learning more about the history of the area and how Native Americans and early pioneers navigated the rugged landscape.

Beautiful Muir Valley Nature Preserve occupies approximately 360 acres of regal landscape that has earned it the name of the “crown jewel of the Red River Gorge.” The Valley is open to the public to enjoy even though it is privately owned, and there are many recreational uses of the area including hiking and rock climbing. Less known for his ability as a rock climber, it’s very fitting that the area is named after well-known conservationist, John Muir, who believed that nature should be protected for all to enjoy. Today’s rock climbers are still treated to the amazing waterfalls and breathtaking views that Muir was so many years ago. One of the things that make Muir Valley unique is that there are strategically placed practice anchors throughout the area that climbers can use to practice ascending the steep cliffs and crags found in the valley. There are several rock climbing 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-cool-rock-climbing-spots-in-kentucky http://stepoutside.org/article/5-cool-rock-climbing-spots-in-kentucky Thu, 05 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0500
5 Perfect Fall Camping Spots in Kentucky When most people think of Kentucky, they think of bourbon, horses, and bluegrass music, but that’s not all for which the state is known. Part of the Appalachian Mountain range, Kentucky has some of the best areas for fall camping on the eastern side of the country. Below are five of the most perfect camping spots throughout the state where you can relax, take a hike, fish, or watch a beautiful sunset reflected in the quiet waters of a lake. 

Surrounded by the beautiful Daniel Boone National Forest near the eastern part of the state, the Natural Bridge State Resort Park near Slade, Kentucky, is a camper’s delight. With over 2,200 acres and a nature preserve with more than 22 miles of great hiking trails, a large fishing lake, and plenty of space for camping, you won’t have any trouble except deciding where to spend the night. There are two camping areas with 86 sites available, some with electric and some for primitive tent camping only. Within the park, there is boating, kayaking, and canoeing, swimming when the weather permits, a nature center, picnic area, children’s playground, a miniature golf course, and seasonal activities like live music performances and ranger-presented programs. Reservations can be made in advance, but there are minimum night stays required. Check the website for additional information on applicable fees and any alerts before setting up camp. 

Otter Creek, the waterway for which the park is named, lies on the eastern side of the recreation area near Braedenburg, Kentucky, and is owned and maintained by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. In addition to upgraded and primitive cabins, an archery range, disc golf course, shooting range, and trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, there are also campground sites available, some with electric and some suitable for tent camping. The campground is open from April 1 through October when staff is on site, but at other times of the year with registration. 

Considered one of the best family campgrounds in the state, the Red River Gorge is where you can find Callie’s Lake and Campground. Complete with a four-acre lake, 50-acre campground, hiking trails, and rock climbing locations, there is nothing better than the sunset reflected in Callie’s Lake. There are over 50 primitive camping sites with fire rings and picnic tables, and the lake is fully stocked in case you want to spend some time fishing. 

Recognized by Kentucky Living Magazine as a Reader’s Choice Award winner for best horseback riding trail and best vacation getaway, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park near Corbin, Kentucky, has a unique feature that you won’t find anywhere else. Called the “Niagara of the South” with good reason, the dynamic 125-foot waterfall is breathtaking by day, but on moonlit nights, there’s an otherworldly moonbow haze surrounding the falls that is worth seeing.

Reserve a spot at this 39-site campground situated among breathtaking mountain vistas. Pets are allowed if they are leashed. There is a glistening, 750-acre lake for fishing with good bass, crappie, and walleye. Wildlife in the area includes wood duck, ruffled grouse, wild turkey, red-winged blackbird, warblers, raccoon, skunk, and more. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-perfect-fall-camping-spots-in-kentucky http://stepoutside.org/article/5-perfect-fall-camping-spots-in-kentucky Thu, 05 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0500
5 Stunning Foliage Hikes in Kentucky Getting outside during the fall months in Kentucky will prove to be a rewarding adventure. Trails provide the opportunity to take in the crisp autumn air and the rainbow of color that the trees and foliage offer. Here are five stunning foliage hikes in Kentucky that will take your breath away.   

The beautiful 1,200-acre Dewey Lake is the backdrop for this well-known heritage trail in Jenny Wiley State Resort Park near Prestonsburg, Kentucky. The park and trail are named for Jenny Wiley, a young pioneer woman who escaped from the capture of Native Americans in the late 1780s and the path she took to freedom. The trail is best hiked between May and the end of September when the leaves and foliage burst with color. As you walk the trail, you’ll see a forest of maple trees turning from shades of green to vibrant yellow and orange to fiery red. The lake is great for fishing and contains many varieties of fish like crappy and tiger muskies. There are parts of the trail that are challenging, but the gorgeous scenery and peaceful surroundings are worth the effort. Make sure to take your camera for some unforgettable photos. 

There are several trails within the 300-acre Dupree Nature Preserve and if you hike the trail early in the morning or later in the evening, you’ll have the best chance of seeing animals local to the area. Founded in 1975, the Nature Conservancy’s Kentucky Chapter has been working to preserve and protect the land, water, and wildlife within the state’s borders by conservation and clean-up efforts, and by providing a place where people can enjoy nature in its glory. All of the trails are easily done, and you don’t have to be an experienced hiker to navigate the gently sloping hills and valleys along the journey. 

The forests, meadows, and wildflowers come alive with hues of yellow, oranges, reds, and browns all over the 734-acre Raven Run Nature Sanctuary located not far from Lexington, Kentucky. Bordering the Kentucky River, the area has over 10 miles of well-marked hiking trails that meander up and down hills, beside sleepy streams, and past the homes of local wildlife. There are seven trails in the sanctuary and they range in difficulty from easy to moderate. Visitors need to register at the nature center upon arrival, and no pets are allowed on the trails. There are other rules that should be followed to preserve the area for future generations. 

Narrow ridges and deep ravines are what hikers will find at the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail in the Daniel Boone National Forest near Morehead, Kentucky. Fall is a particularly good time to visit as this 319-mile series of trails meanders through the colored landscape, and the area still looks much the same as when Daniel Boone, American pioneer and explorer, traversed the countryside. Many parts of the trail follow shallow flat rocks jutting up in the creeks and streams through the woods, and there is beauty everywhere. Often called the backbone of the Daniel Boone National Forest, the Sheltowee Trace Trail is used for practice for hikers who want to take on longer trail adventures like the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail. There are many recreational activities that take place near the area, and it is easily traveled in a weekend at a steady pace.

Natural Bridge State Resort Park near Slade, Kentucky, gets its name from the natural 78-foot-high sandstone arch bridge in the center of the park. Owned by L&E railroad company in the late 1800s, the park became one of Kentucky’s four original state parks, and is comprised of 2,200 total acres with 22 miles of trails and a large 60-acre lake. Camping and overnight lodging is allowed, but pets are only permitted on specific ones. Besides the stunning scenery in the fall, hikers will enjoy the sandstone rock formations, waterfalls, cliffs, and caves around the area. This is not an adventure to miss. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-stunning-foliage-hikes-in-kentucky http://stepoutside.org/article/5-stunning-foliage-hikes-in-kentucky Tue, 03 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0500