Can you believe it? We’ve reached the last official post in the Trail of the Week series. We’ve gone through all 23 of the area trail locations we present on the JCTA web site. It is coincidental that tomorrow is also the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day.

The Riney B Park Trail is a linear paved trail that you have to do as an out and back. I like starting from the northeast side of the St. Joseph Jessamine parking lot, but you can start from the Riney B Park parking lot and do all or just part of the trail. Its a good trail to take on a lunch break if you work in the area. Parks and Rec would like to extend the trail to form a loop trail, but I don’t know the details of where it would go or when it may be started. As usual, getting the funding is an issue.

That’s about it. Let us know of any publicly accessible trails over 3/4 miles we don’t cover that you’d like to see on the site. And you may notice we don’t have much information on horseback riding trails. We could use someone with expertise to help us out with that.

Although this is the last weekly trail post, we plan to keep up with posting something every Friday on Facebook. Our default topics will be something we have photos of, so animals, birds and wildflowers. We may have some other special topic from time to time, so stay tuned.


– Don Perkins


Spring Beauty

These two preserves are some of the best places for spring wildflowers. Like most of the other locations in the palisade region, the elevation change and rocky outcrops provides different habitats for the different kinds of flowers. The slopes the trails pass through on these preserves also face mostly east, which may also influence the number and types of flowers over some of the western and northern facing preserves in the area have.

Take the Sally Brown trail to eventually go down to river level at its furthest extent, or take the Crutcher trail which goes up a creek bed. Or do both for a good 5.7 mile workout.

TNC volunteers changed the Crutcher Trail last December. It used to dump you out on the road at its furthest extent and the usual route from there was a half mile walk back to the parking lot on the road or you could double back and do the majority of the same trail back. Now you can loop back most of the way back, with a little more than a 1/4 mile back on the trail you did on the way in.

– Don Perkins

Devil’s Pulpit

Yes, you can carry your canoe or kayak down and put in at the ferry. Just don’t interfere with ferry operations. There are a few parking places at Donaldson Park you can use.

You can almost see Dam 9 downstream of the ferry, so the easiest paddle is upstream. There are several small palisades and one long one in that direction, and you can go up Tates Creek a little. After the big palisade, it pretty much flattens out into farmland.

To me, the more interesting paddle is downstream. Dam 9, since a new dam has been built slightly upstream of the old dam, is the only dam I’ve come across on the Kentucky River that you can portage easily. At least at low river levels. I wouldn’t recommend doing it solo, but there is a decent place to take out on river right, and there is a retaining wall on just on the other side of the dam that can be used as steps down to pool 8. You get good views of the dam, Marble Creek and several palisades. It is the best scenery in pool 8.

– Don Perkins

View of park
View of Park

Lake Mingo is a little park tucked just off Main St just outside of downtown Nicholasville. It has a short paved walking trail that is perfect for those just getting started in an exercise regime. You can also utilize some of the neighborhood roads, or do multiple laps for a longer workout. It has basketball courts, skate park, and FINS lake.

– Don Perkins


The great thing about the Jim Beam Nature Preserve is that it is so close and easily accessible from Nicholasville. The bad thing is that the trail is so short. The Preserve is on a great piece of property, and the JCTA, working with The Nature Conservancy, has proposed 3 trail extensions to provide access to some of the areas you can’t get to now. That has been put on the shelf for now, but will be reconsidered in 2017. Half of the preserve is on the other side of the river. That will never be accessible, but it does protect the views you can get when the leaves aren’t on the trees.

– Don Perkins

Off trail view of Overstreet Creek
Overstreet Creek

Jessamine Creek Gorge is one of the most unique places in Jessamine County. Unfortunately, the Jessamine Creek Gorge Preserve Trail only gives you some tantalizing glimpses of the beauty of this area from the trail itself. Still, its well worth the hike.

Overstreet Creek is one of the main attractions. Its a very picturesque creek with lots of little waterfalls on it. After the trail crosses the creek, it stays up on top of the gorge so you never really get to see Jessamine Creek itself, except maybe when the leaves are off the trees. There are lots of wildflowers here in the spring.

I like to combine this little over 2 mile trail with another to get some extra miles in. I usually go over to the Hickman Creek Nature Center and hike their trails either before or after this one.

– Don Perkins

On trail
View from Trail

Centennial Park may be well known to Wilmore residents, but I’d never heard of it until working on the JCTA web site. It has a very short shared-use loop path, perfect for those just starting out on an exercise regimen, but those that need a longer walk/jog can use the spur trail that connects the loop to the neighborhood the park is tucked in behind, and/or do multiple laps. If you take the spur trail out to Kinlaw Dr, go all the way to W Main St, you can cross over and add the Asbury Cross Country Trails to your workout.

– Don Perkins

Perhaps you have taken a boat ride on the Dixie Belle, eaten some delicious farm to fork food in the dining room, or seen a sheep being sheared on the farm. What you might not know is that Shaker Village also has some wonderful trails on their 3,000 acres. There are about 40 miles of trails for you to explore that begin at three different trail heads. Pick a trail that crosses Shawnee Run and you will hop on rocks to cross the creek a few times and see a beautiful waterfall. Head down to the Palisade trail this Spring and spot tons of wildflowers. Trails are open for hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian. Make the short trip to Shaker Village soon and see what all there is to discover!

–Lindsay, JCTA member

If you only paddle one spot on the Kentucky River, this is the one most people would recommend. Its got just about everything. It has fhe man-made wonders of Dam 7, High Bridge, and the dam on the Dix River that forms Herrington Lake. It has the natural beauty of the palisades and waterfalls on both the Kentucky and Dix Rivers, and a lot of wildlife if you are very patient and know what to look for. You’ll usually see a lot of canoes and kayaks here on weekends, along with the fishing boats.

Deposit your ramp fee in the blue metal box that is welded near the tongue of the camper trailer on the right of the parking lot as you come in. The ramp is usually cleared of mud quickly after the river falls, and there is a large parking area.

You can see Dam 7 from the ramp, so you can’t go very far downstream. Upstream, past High Bridge, you’ll see the Dix River on the right. If they are releasing from the dam on the Dix, you won’t be able to get up to the ‘rapid’ on the Dix that a lot of people use for a lunch spot, and a lot of fly fishermen use. There is a good stretch of water to paddle above the rapid if you have the energy to portage your boat up there. Or, if you can hit the sweet spot of the Kentucky River being at 3500 to around 6000 cfs and they are not releasing from the dam on the Dix, you can usually paddle up past the rapid without portaging. Just be aware, they can release from the dam at any time, and you need to be prepared for the 1300 to 2000 cfs of water that may come at you.

Going up the Kentucky River from the Dix is not as intimate, but there are a lot of palisades, and once you get past the last house on Dix Dr, its a very remote section of river. One main feature is the Blue Heron Rookery that usually has 60 or more nesting pairs of birds. Courting, nest building and egg laying goes on usually from mid-February for several weeks. Thereafter, the chicks can be seen and grow rapidly to adult size by June. Best viewing is done right before the leaves emerge on the trees. Unfortunately, this is also the rainy season and the river is often times too high to paddle.

– Don Perkins

Out of the woods

In Wilmore, Asbury’s Luce Physical Activities Center has just about every possible indoor and outdoor athletic facility that you can imagine. While access is mainly for Asbury students, faculty, and staff, memberships are available for alumni and community members. Community member access is limited when school is in session to certain hours.

Around the complex, there is a series of trails used by the cross country teams for home meets that is available for use the rest of the time by anyone. They are mostly mowed trails through the fields around the complex, but there is one wooded section in the back of the property. Its an easy 2.2 mile walk around the perimeter of the trails. If you don’t want to run or jog on pavement, you can carve out a several mile run easily. For a longer run including a distance on pavement, you can head down Kinlaw Dr towards Centennial Park and include its multi-use path on your route.