The sun is shining, flowers are blooming, and birds are chirping… it’s finally springtime! After a cold harsh winter, we invite you to step outdoors and explore Hopkins County by foot! Our area is home to the most diverse outdoor adventure in the region, including Kentucky’s first certified Trail Town, Dawson Springs! Travel through native wooded forests, stroll along the banks of a lake, wander through a cascading waterfall, or trek through a natural arch. In Hopkins County you’ll find beauty around every bend. See for yourself, from beginner to advanced, find a path and take a hike!
Saltpeter Cave and Falls Trail
This unique 1 mile trail in Dawson Springs features a stunning cascade that is nearly 70 feet tall! The Jones-Keeney Wildlife Management Area features the Saltpeter Cave and Falls and it is worth the trip! Explore the cave from the top or bottom and walk around the waterfall! The trip to the bottom does offer a rope ladder, but it can be a little difficult in certain conditions. (Please note, this area was impacted by the December tornados and you may have to navigate over or around fallen trees along the trail.)
Length: 1 Mile (out & back)
Average time to complete: 29 minutes
Pennyrile Forest State Park Resort
With over 7 different trails to choose from, ranging from beginner to advanced, the sights and sounds you will experience at Pennyrile Forest State Park Resort are uniquely Kentucky. These trails also provide a great opportunity for birding with over 110 unique species observed.
Cane Trail- A 1.3 mile loop/linear trail begins a the end of Cottage Loop. It intersects with Lake Trail or you can return back to Cottage Loop. It is named from patches of wild cane that naturally occur streamside. It has a steep ascent to the forest ridge and descends to the loblolly pines and lake level. It is rated moderately strenuous.
Clifty Creek Trail- This 1/4 mile linear/looped trail features several species of trees, dense vegetation, wildflowers, and a small waterfall! It can be accessed at the entrance of the Pennyrile Golf Course, it has an outlet near Cottage Rd, or hikers can return to the trailhead or head to the State Park Lodge. This trail is rated easy.
Indian Bluff Trail- A 1/4 mile linear trail is a must-hike! It passes through the “Indian Window” natural arch and features limestone dwellings. This trail is rated easy, but it does have a moderately steep climb at the beginning, but then levels off for easy walking through the native oak-hickory trees. The trail begins at the lodge parking area and ends near the entrance of the golf course.
Lake Trail- This 1.8 mile trail winds around the lake and up stone steps to the bluff line. Featuring wooden bridges and hand-hewn steps, the trail will take you to the intersection of Lake & Pennyroyal Trails, where there is a remote shelter.
Macedonia Trail- Hike or bike this 6.5 mile looped trail, with loops ranging from 1.4-4.5 miles. Access this easily rated trail across from the Macedonia Cemetery. (This trail is located on the Pennyrile State Forest, but is not maintained by State Park Staff.)
Pennyroyal Trail- This 1.4 mile looped trail is rated mildly strenuous. begins at the top of the sandstone steps along the buff line overlooking the beach. This trail offers a couple of different paths. Move upstream and pass through woodlands of hickory-oak and mixed hardwood forests from the ridgetop to the intersection of Lake Trail, or take a turn that will lead you back to the trailhead or the beach and boat dock area.
Thompson’s Hollow Trail- This moderately strenuous .1 mile linear trail begins at the campground picnic area and descends down a sandstone bluff to steps constructed by W.P.A laborers in the 1930s.
Pennyrile Nature Trails
Featuring over 13.5 trail miles, the Pennyrile Nature Trail is a must-see! This trail can be hiked in sections and features several bluffs with scenic overlooks! 1.5 miles of this trail is located in the Pennyrile State Forest, the rest of the trail winds through the Tradewater Wildlife Area.
Length: 13.5 miles (can be hiked in sections)
Marh Park Arboretum is a gorgeous place to go for a hike! With over 265 acres, the park trail features a forest, lake, and plenty of wildlife. The park features a paved trail with wooden bridges and numerous benches along the route. Enjoy an educational hike with species identification tags on many of the trees lining the trails. They also welcome you to explore off the beaten path through over 40 acres of soft wooded trails. Open year-round from dusk to dawn.
Length: 2.5 miles (out & back)
Average time to complete: 1hr 5 min
Grapevine Lake Trails
On a 188 acre park, this moderately challenging route is a great trail for hiking and so much more! Offering plenty of wildlife and a great scenic lake view. Great for mountain biking, paddle sports, hiking, and fishing!
Length: 8 mile (loop)
Average time to complete: 3hr 25min
What are you waiting for?! Put some SPRING in your step and hit the trails! Once you finish a hike, check out over 80 local dining spots, unique shops, and historical attractions in Madisonville-Hopkins County!