Essay

8 Most Remote Spots in Kentucky and How to Safely Get There

Despite having thriving towns like Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky also has a lot of remote, unspoiled areas to explore. The bluegrass state is home to numerous national parks, wildlife refuges, and expansive wilderness areas surrounded by numerous mountains and rivers. Discover the eight most isolated locations in Kentucky as well as safe travel routes there by continuing to read.

1. The Skeet Rock Knob

Part of the broader Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail, which is a part of the even larger Great Eastern Trail (GET), is the climb to Skeet Rock Knob. The 1,800-mile GET connects Alabama and New York. One of the largest untouched forest sections in Kentucky is traversed via the Skeet Rock Knob trail.

Take US-119 north from Payne Gap to Skeet Rock Knob. After making a left turn into Raven Rock, proceed one and a half miles on US-23 S. The trailhead is on the left; as you ascend, look for signs that lead to a picturesque loop side route that accesses Skeet Rock Knob.

2. Natural Arch Scenic Area

The largest forest in Kentucky is the Daniel Boone National Forest, which is located in the southeast of the state. The forest covers an area of more than 700,000 acres and is home to both large wilderness areas with waterfalls and marshes and heritage monuments.

Stone arches, such as the almost 100-foot-long Natural Arch, are among the forest’s most remarkable natural creations. Travel 14 miles south on Highway 27 from Burnside to reach the Natural Arch. After that, take State Highway 927 to the right. Turn right again to arrive at the arch’s parking lot after traveling approximately two miles.

3. Red River Gorge

The Red River, natural arches, and rock formations define the Red River Gorge Geological Area, which is a portion of the Daniel Boone National Forest. There are other waterfalls in this area, such as Creation Falls. This renowned swimming spot is located at the end of a two-mile journey, and you can discover the waterfall there.

Numerous hiking paths, wildlife observation spots, and fishing access on the Red River are all found in the Red River Gorge Geological Area. Travel five miles north on KY-715 from Pine Ridge to get there. After that, bear right to stay on KY-715 and drive five more miles. Make a left turn to access the Red River Gorge Geological Area’s Gladie Visitor Center.

4. Cumberland Gap

Known as the nation’s first “gateway to the West,” Cumberland Gap National Historical Park straddles the border between Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. This region, which has a natural break in the Appalachian Mountains, served as a major route for Native Americans and subsequently pioneers and settlers to cross.

The 26-mile Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is one to four miles wide. Second and third growth forests predominate in the region, providing habitat for wildlife such as black bears, deer, raccoons, and wild turkeys. The forest also has a large number of historical sites, including Civil War ruins, and caverns.

Travel east on W Cumberland Ave in Middlesboro to reach Cumberland Gap. After 0.5 miles, US-25 E S will be on your right. To get to the visitor center, take the first exit toward US-25 E S and then turn right onto Pinnacle View Road.

5. Land Between the Lakes

The Land Between the Lakes is a protected wilderness area that spans the narrow peninsula between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. This region, which runs from Tennessee into Kentucky, is home to more than 500 miles of hiking trails, 300 miles of immaculate shoreline, and 170,000 acres of untamed property.

On a range of picturesque drives, visitors can take in the expansive woodlands, wetlands, and open coastal landscapes. Travel west on US-68 from Cadiz to reach the Land Between the Lakes Golden Pond Visitor Center and Planetarium. After 13 more miles of driving, take the Woodlands Trace exit. Take the first left turn into the visitor center after turning left onto KY-453 S.

6. Kentucky Bend

The Mississippi River divides the isolated region of Kentucky known as Kentucky Bend from the rest of the state. This 27-square-mile area borders Tennessee to the south and is encircled by the river to the east, west, and north. Most likely, a surveyor’s mistake in the nineteenth century led to this extremely unique state boundary.

Although you can go to Kentucky Bend by boat, taking TN-22 north from Tiptonville, Tennessee, is the most straightforward way. You’ll enter Kentucky Bend and pass the state line after traveling for roughly ten miles.

7. Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge

Two of the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge’s islands are in Kentucky, but the majority of the refuge is in West Virginia. Established in 1990, the refuge serves as a home for a diverse range of fish, animals, and birds due to its 360-mile stretch of the Ohio River.

The protected islands are accessible to visitors via boat ramps located at Maysville and Vanceburg. Alternatively, you can take US-52 eastward and depart from Manchester, Ohio. Proceed a little over a mile and make a right turn to arrive at a public boat ramp.

8. Big South Fork

The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, which spans 125,000 acres of wilderness in Tennessee and Kentucky and features sandstone bluffs, gorges, and a significant tributary to the Cumberland River, is undoubtedly one of the most isolated locations in Kentucky. Adventure sports available to visitors include hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, and whitewater kayaking.

Bear Creek Overlook is a lonely location with breathtaking views of the Big South Fork River. Take State Highway 742 south from Barthell to get there. Bear Creek Road will be on your right after three and a half miles. Proceed two miles and bear right to remain on Bear Creek Road. Keep an eye out for a parking area after 1.5 miles. From the parking lot, it’s a quarter-mile stroll to the overlook.