Kentucky State Parks

The Kentucky State Parks Attract More Repeat Visitors Than Those Of Any Other State

There are twenty three State Parks in Kentucky as well as nineteen state resort parks, a number of historic sites and eighty two wildlife management areas.

All of these are maintained by the Kentucky Department of Parks. The state proudly boasts that their parks experience more repeat business from their visitors than that of any other state.

Officially designated as a "southern state," Kentucky is actually located in the east central part of America.

It is an area of diverse environments, stunning countryside, beautiful rivers, incredible wildlife and famous for horse racing, bourbon, fried chicken and bluegrass music - amongst many other things.

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A Horse Farm In The Beautiful Kentucky Countryside

Some of the largest rivers in the country make up part of the state`s borders. To the north is the Ohio River, to the west is the Mississippi and the east is the Big Sandy River and Tug Fork.

A number of the Kentucky state parks are to be found close to these wonderful rivers. Kentucky has seven other U.S. states as its neighbours and only Missouri and Tennessee each with eight, have more.

Kentucky is the only state in the whole of the country to have part of its land totally seperated from the rest of the state. A small part of Fulton County in the west of the state is divided from the rest of Kentucky by Tennessee. This came about in 1812 when an earthquake changed the course of the Mississippi River.

The area now known as Kentucky was traditionally the hunting lands of a number of Native American tribes, notably the Iroquois, Shawnee and the Cherokee.

With the arrival of the first settlers in the middle of the 18th century a running war broke out between them and the native tribes and many Kentucky settlers were killed in raids.

The Cumberland Gap From Virginia Into Kentucky

These first settlers had mainly followed a route from the neighbouring state of Virginia which had been blazed by Daniel Boone through the Cumberland Gap in 1775.

At first this trail could only be travelled on foot or by horseback but eventually, as more travellers passed, wagons could be used. Part of this trail is now preserved at one of the Kentucky State Parks, this is the Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park.

The land that these settlers had reached was known as Kentucky County and was part of Virginia. On June 1st 1792 Kentucky became a state in its own right and was the fifteenth to join the Union.

Kentucky was one of the border states during the American Civil War and ironically the leaders of both North and South in this bloody conflict, Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, were born in the state.

Kentucky officially remained neutral during the conflict, never actually seceding, but many inhabitants had Rebel sympathies and the central star in the Confederate battle flag represents Kentucky.

The Statue Of Abraham Lincoln And Jefferson Davis. Leaders Of The Opposing Sides In The American Civil War.

The Kentucky state parks are amazingly varied and include such things as a pre-historic animals salt lick, (Big Bone Lick State Park) a Confederate fortification controlling part of the Mississippi, (Columbus-Belmont State Park) the site of a frontier fort founded by Daniel Boone, (Fort Boonesborough State Park) the hometown area of a famous naturalist and painter, (John James Audubon State Park) and the building that inspired the creation of a famous song. (My Old Kentucky Home State Park)

Federal Hill Mansion. The House That Is Supposed To Have Been The Inspiration For The Song "My Old Kentucky Home"

Of the Kentucky state parks and resort parks over a dozen are located on lakes however, Kentucky only has three major natural lakes, the rest are all man-made.

One of them is the largest artificial lake east of the Mississippi and it is on its waters that you will find Lake Cumberland State Resort Park.

Other Kentucky state parks to be found on lakes include Kincaid Lake State Park, Lake Malone State Park, and Paintsville Lake State Park, to name just a few.

Kentucky is the only state to be bordered on three sides by rivers and with some 90,000 miles of rivers and streams it has the greatest length of navigable waterways in the whole of America with the exception of Alaska.

The Waterfall At Cumberland Falls State Resort Park

The state also has the longest cave system in the world at Mammoth Cave National Park and although it is not nearly so large, the caverns at Carter Caves State Resort Park are well worth a visit.

Kentucky is also notable for having achieved two of the most successful re-introductions of wildlife to their natural habitats. Both the the wild turkey and the elk were extinct in the area. In the case of the elk that had been the case for over 150 years.

Now there is the largest elk herd east of the Mississippi numbering close to 10,000 animals while the wild turkey numbers have reached a level that allows them to be hunted during a short season in the spring. Visitors to the Kentucky State Parks are often lucky enough to see one or other of these creatures.

Here is a list of the Kentucky State Parks

  • Big Bone Lick State Park
  • Carr Creek State Park
  • Columbus-Belmont State Park
  • E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park
  • Fishtrap Lake State Park
  • Fort Boonesborough State Park
  • General Burnside State Park
  • Grayson Lake State Park
  • Green River Lake State Park
  • John James Audubon State Park
  • Kincaid Lake State Park
  • Kingdom Come State Park

  • Lake Malone State Park
  • Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park
  • Lincoln Homestead State Park
  • Mineral Mound State Park
  • My Old Kentucky Home State Park
  • Nolin Lake State Park
  • Old Fort Harrod State Park
  • Paintsville Lake State Park
  • Pine Mountain Trail State Park
  • Taylorsville Lake State Park
  • Yatesville Lake State Park

And these are the State Resort Parks

  • Barren River Lake State Resort Park
  • Benham-Lynch State Resort Park
  • Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park
  • Breaks Interstate State Resort Park
  • Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park
  • Carter Caves State Resort Park
  • Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
  • Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park
  • General Butler State Resort Park
  • Greenboro Lake State Resort Park

  • Jenny Wiley State Resort Park
  • Kenlake State Resort Park
  • Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park
  • Lake Barkley State Resort Park
  • Lake Cumberland State Resort Park
  • Natural Bridge State Resort Park
  • Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park
  • Pine Mountain State Resort Park
  • Rough River Dam State Resort Park