Outdoor Adventures Around Lexington

hiking trails Lexington

Lexington, Kentucky, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. From scenic hiking trails and serene waterways to thrilling ziplining adventures and picturesque picnic spots, Lexington offers a diverse array of outdoor activities that cater to all interests and skill levels. Whether you’re looking to explore the natural beauty of the Red River Gorge or enjoy a relaxing day at one of the city’s many parks, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Key Takeaways

  • Lexington boasts over 90 parks and green spaces, offering a variety of outdoor activities for all ages.
  • The Red River Gorge is a must-visit destination for hiking, climbing, and camping enthusiasts.
  • Water adventures such as canoeing, kayaking, and fishing are popular activities on the Kentucky River and Elkhorn Creek.
  • The city offers unique experiences like ziplining at Boone Creek Outdoors and horseback riding at the Kentucky Horse Park.
  • Seasonal outdoor events, including summer concerts, fall festivals, and spring flower shows, provide year-round entertainment.

Hiking Trails to Explore

Raven Run Nature Sanctuary

Raven Run Nature Sanctuary offers a serene escape just outside of Lexington. With over 10 miles of trails, you can enjoy a variety of hiking experiences, from easy walks to more challenging hikes. The sanctuary is also a great spot for bird watching and enjoying the local flora and fauna.

Legacy Trail

The Legacy Trail is a popular choice for both locals and visitors. This 12-mile-long trail is perfect for a leisurely walk, a brisk run, or a scenic bike ride. The trail winds through beautiful landscapes, offering a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.

McConnell Springs

McConnell Springs is a hidden gem in Lexington. This historical site features a 26-acre nature park with several short trails that are perfect for a quick and easy loop around town. The springs themselves are a fascinating natural feature, and the park is rich in history and natural beauty.

From quick and easy loops around town to drives that take you to fantastic lakes and mountains, our city has so many options to hit the trail.

Water Adventures Await

kayaking in Lexington

Canoeing on the Kentucky River

Experience the serene beauty of the Kentucky River by canoe. Paddling through the calm waters, you’ll encounter stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife. Perfect for all adventure seekers, this activity offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Kayaking at Elkhorn Creek

Elkhorn Creek is a popular spot for kayaking enthusiasts. The creek’s gentle rapids and clear waters make it an ideal location for both beginners and experienced kayakers. Don’t miss out on this exhilarating water adventure.

Fishing Spots Around Lexington

Lexington boasts numerous fishing spots that cater to anglers of all skill levels. From well-stocked lakes to tranquil rivers, there’s a perfect spot for everyone. Grab your fishing gear and explore the best fishing locations around the city.

Whether you’re canoeing, kayaking, or fishing, Lexington offers diverse outdoor activities including water sports that are sure to delight any nature lover.

Discover the Red River Gorge

The Red River Gorge is one of Kentucky’s greatest treasures, offering a variety of outdoor adventures for nature enthusiasts. You can chase waterfalls, hike into absolute seclusion, and explore one of the best-kept geological wonders in America.

Parks and Green Spaces

Jacobson Park

Jacobson Park is a local favorite, offering a serene lake perfect for paddle boating and fishing. The park also features expansive picnic areas, playgrounds, and even a dog park. It’s an ideal spot for a family day out.

Masterson Station Park

Masterson Station Park is known for its equestrian facilities, making it a unique destination for horse lovers. The park also has multiple sports fields, playgrounds, and walking trails. Don’t miss the annual horse shows and events that take place here.

The Arboretum

The Arboretum, also known as the State Botanical Garden of Kentucky, is a beautiful place to explore a variety of plant species. With themed gardens, walking trails, and educational programs, it’s a haven for nature enthusiasts. Plan a picnic under a shade tree and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

Horseback Riding Experiences

horseback riding Lexington

Kentucky Horse Park

The Kentucky Horse Park is a must-visit for any equestrian enthusiast. This working horse farm and educational theme park offers a variety of horseback riding tours in Kentucky. Visitors can enjoy guided trail rides, pony rides for children, and even horse-drawn carriage tours. It’s a perfect spot for families and horse lovers alike.

Deer Run Stable

Deer Run Stable provides a serene and picturesque setting for horseback riding. Nestled in the heart of Kentucky, this stable offers guided trail rides through beautiful landscapes. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, you’ll find the perfect ride to suit your needs. The friendly staff ensures a safe and enjoyable experience for all.

Big Red Stables

Big Red Stables is another fantastic option for horseback riding tours in Kentucky. Located just a short drive from Lexington, this stable offers a variety of riding experiences, from leisurely trail rides to more adventurous outings. The well-trained horses and knowledgeable guides make for an unforgettable experience. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to explore Kentucky’s natural beauty on horseback.

Ziplining Thrills

Experience the natural beauty of Boone Creek in a thrilling, minimally invasive manner. Featuring 6 zip lines, 3 sky bridges, a rappel, a spiral, and a floating staircase, this adventure is perfect for all ages. Soar up to 1,400 feet on the longest zipline and reach speeds up to 42 mph. The knowledgeable guides will share insights about the local history and ecosystem as you zip through the treetops.

For those seeking an adrenaline rush, the Treetop Adventure at Levi Jackson offers an exhilarating experience. With multiple zip lines and aerial obstacles, this adventure park is designed to challenge and excite. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors while testing your limits.

Red River Gorge is not just for hiking and climbing; it also offers some fantastic ziplining opportunities. The zipline tours here provide stunning views of the gorge and surrounding forest. Feel the wind in your hair as you glide over the scenic landscape, making memories that will last a lifetime.

Biking Around Lexington

Legacy Trail Biking

The Legacy Trail is a 12-mile multi-use greenway that stretches from downtown Lexington to the Kentucky Horse Park. It’s perfect for both casual riders and serious cyclists. The trail is well-maintained and offers scenic views of Lexington’s beautiful landscapes. Don’t forget to check out the trail maps available at various points along the route.

Mountain Biking at Veterans Park

Veterans Park offers a variety of trails suitable for mountain biking enthusiasts. The park features challenging terrains and beautiful wooded areas, making it a favorite spot for local bikers. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, you’ll find a trail that suits your skill level.

Family-Friendly Bike Paths

For families looking to enjoy a day out, Lexington has several family-friendly bike paths. These paths are generally flat and safe, making them ideal for kids and beginners. Some popular spots include the Arboretum and Jacobson Park, where you can also enjoy other outdoor activities like picnicking and bird watching.

Picnic Spots for Families

Shillito Park

Shillito Park is a fantastic spot for a family picnic. With its wide open spaces and numerous playgrounds, it offers plenty of activities for kids. The park also features several picnic shelters, making it easy to find a shaded spot to enjoy your meal.

Keeneland Grounds

For a more unique picnic experience, head to the Keeneland Grounds. This historic location is not only known for its horse racing but also for its beautiful, well-maintained grounds. Plan a picnic under a shade tree and enjoy the serene environment.

Thoroughbred Park

Thoroughbred Park is another excellent choice for a family picnic. The park is beautifully landscaped and features several sculptures of horses, making it a visually appealing spot. There are plenty of benches and open areas where you can lay out a blanket and enjoy your meal.

Lexington offers a variety of parks and green spaces, each providing a unique setting for a family picnic. Whether you prefer a park with playgrounds or a more serene environment, you’ll find the perfect spot in this charming city.

Golf Courses with a View

Griffin Gate Golf Club

Griffin Gate Golf Club offers a premier golfing experience with its meticulously maintained greens and fairways. Designed by renowned architect Rees Jones, this course provides a challenging yet enjoyable round for golfers of all skill levels. The scenic views of the surrounding landscape make it a must-visit for any golf enthusiast.

Kearney Hill Golf Links

Kearney Hill Golf Links is a public golf course that offers a links-style layout, providing a unique golfing experience in Lexington. The course is known for its rolling hills and open fairways, which are reminiscent of traditional Scottish courses. Golfers can enjoy the picturesque views while navigating the strategically placed bunkers and water hazards.

Tates Creek Golf Course

Tates Creek Golf Course is a favorite among locals for its relaxed atmosphere and beautiful setting. The course features tree-lined fairways and well-manicured greens, making it an ideal spot for a leisurely round of golf. The affordable rates and friendly staff add to the overall appeal, making it a great choice for both beginners and seasoned golfers.

Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or just starting out, Lexington’s golf courses offer something for everyone. Enjoy the stunning views and challenging layouts that make golfing in this region a truly memorable experience.

Bird Watching Hotspots

Raven Run Bird Sanctuary

Raven Run Bird Sanctuary is a haven for bird enthusiasts. With its diverse habitats, it attracts a wide variety of bird species. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars to catch a glimpse of some rare birds. The sanctuary offers well-marked trails and informative signs to enhance your bird-watching experience.

Jacobson Park Birding

Jacobson Park is not just a place for picnics and paddle boating; it’s also a fantastic spot for bird watching. The park’s serene lakes and wooded areas provide a perfect habitat for many bird species. Keep an eye out for waterfowl and songbirds as you stroll through the park.

Lexington Cemetery

Lexington Cemetery might seem like an unusual spot for bird watching, but its mature trees and quiet atmosphere make it a hidden gem for birders. The cemetery is home to a surprising variety of birds, making it a peaceful and rewarding place to visit.

For a comprehensive bird list and recent checklists, explore hotspots like Lexington Reservoirs #2 & #3 on birding websites.

Seasonal Outdoor Events

Summer Concert Series

Experience the artistic side of Lexington with the Summer Concert Series. These events feature live performances from local and national artists, making it a vibrant cultural hub. Bring a blanket, some snacks, and enjoy the music under the stars.

Fall Harvest Festivals

Celebrate the bounty of the season at Lexington’s Fall Harvest Festivals. These events are perfect for families, offering activities like pumpkin picking, hayrides, and corn mazes. Don’t miss out on the delicious seasonal treats and the chance to explore the artistic side of Lexington: galleries, murals, and live performances.

Spring Flower Shows

Welcome the arrival of spring with Lexington’s beautiful Flower Shows. These events showcase stunning floral displays and offer gardening workshops. It’s a great way to get inspired and learn more about horticulture while enjoying the fresh spring air.


Lexington, Kentucky, is a treasure trove of outdoor adventures waiting to be explored. From the scenic trails of Raven Run Nature Sanctuary to the exhilarating zip lines at Boone Creek Outdoors, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re hiking, biking, or simply enjoying a picnic under the shade of a tree, the natural beauty of Lexington will captivate you. With over 90 parks and green spaces, the opportunities for outdoor fun are endless. So, pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and come discover the wonders of Lexington’s great outdoors. We can’t wait to share our little slice of heaven with you!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best hiking trails in Lexington?

Some of the best hiking trails in Lexington include Raven Run Nature Sanctuary, Legacy Trail, and McConnell Springs.

Where can I go canoeing near Lexington?

You can enjoy canoeing on the Kentucky River, which offers beautiful scenic views and a peaceful experience.

Are there good spots for kayaking around Lexington?

Yes, Elkhorn Creek is a popular spot for kayaking with gentle waters and beautiful surroundings.

What are the top parks to visit in Lexington?

Top parks in Lexington include Jacobson Park, Masterson Station Park, and The Arboretum.

Where can I go horseback riding in Lexington?

You can go horseback riding at Kentucky Horse Park, Deer Run Stable, and Big Red Stables.

Is there a place for ziplining near Lexington?

Yes, Boone Creek Outdoors and Treetop Adventure at Levi Jackson offer thrilling ziplining experiences.

Are there family-friendly bike paths in Lexington?

Yes, the Legacy Trail and various paths in Veterans Park are great for family-friendly biking.

What are some good picnic spots in Lexington?

Shillito Park, Keeneland Grounds, and Thoroughbred Park are excellent spots for a family picnic.

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