Lexington locals love to spend their afternoons and weekends hiking among Kentucky's beautiful nature. There are a whole lot of trails to choose from, so to make things easier for our neighbors and customers, the team at Montgomery Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram (CDJR) in Nicholasville put together a list of the top hiking trails in and around Lexington for you. Whether you want to go with your pet and family or perhaps tackle a really challenging hike with a friend, the Lexington area is sure to have something for you.

Raven Run Red Trail


The Raven Run Nature Sanctuary is one of the most beautiful spots in the Lexington area, so it's no surprise that local hikers love to visit the Raven Run Red Trail. Active people and serious hikers enjoy this moderately challenging 5.4-mile loop trail, which usually takes between two and two and a half hours to complete. 

The trail can be a little difficult thanks to the elevation gain, which clocks in at over 700 feet. Also, you'll have to leave your pup at home, as dogs aren't allowed on this trail. If you want a really good workout, a peaceful hike, and the reward of some pretty jaw-dropping views at the end of your walk, check out this trail soon.

Veterans Park Trail

If you want to walk a trail without leaving the city of Lexington, you'll love Veterans Park Trail. The park contains almost 5 miles of trails winding their way through its 235-acre grounds, meaning it's home to the longest park trail within city borders, which usually takes an hour and a half to complete. If you walk along Veterans Park Trail, you'll encounter a mix of peaceful wooded areas and the babbling water of Hickman Creek. 

One word of caution: This hike has a lot of side trails and shortcuts along its path, so it's easy for visitors to get a little lost when trying to make their way out. Most people bypass this issue by opening their trusty Google Maps app and toggling over to satellite view. 

Make sure to visit the park's most important landmark, the Veteran's Oak tree, before leaving the area and heading home. 

Brighton East Rail Trail

Though the Brighton East Rail Trail  is 3.5 miles long, its easy, mostly flat surface means it takes just over an hour for most hikers to complete. Expect to share this trail with a fair amount of hikers, walkers, cyclists, and dogs. The path is very well maintained and mostly weaves through residential areas surrounded by beautiful, lush trees. 

McConnell Springs

This easy trail is just over half a mile long and takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. Though McConnell Springs is relatively small, most locals love to visit this site for its history, as it's the place that gave birth to the city's name. Pioneer William McConnell established a camp here in 1775. When he heard that the first Revolutionary War battle was taking place in Lexington and Concord, he named his camp "Lexington" in tribute. Eventually, that name was adopted by the entire city of Lexington.

Today, the trails at McConnell Springs offer a lovely nature retreat within city limits, where you'll find natural springs, such as the Blue Hole, the majestic Bur Oak (over 250 years old), and the ruins of old historic buildings from Lexington's early days.

The Legacy Trail

This relatively new trail is also one of the longest in the Lexington area. Completed in October 2020, the Legacy Trail stretches a full 12 miles between downtown Lexington and the Kentucky Horse Park to the north. Joggers, cyclists, and hikers all love to use this trail, so make sure you're giving everyone the appropriate amount of leeway and space to make for a good mixed-use trail experience.

Along the way, in addition to some pretty natural sights, you'll also see interpretive signs and art shown on the side of the trail. Start this hike at the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden, and enjoy one of the most fascinating, immersive hikes that the area has to offer. Though the trail may be long, it's generally not considered too difficult, thanks to most of it being relatively flat and paved.

The Pinnacles at Berea

The Pinnacles are part of 9,000 acres of wilderness located near the small town of Berea, south of Lexington. Getting to this wonderland requires a little bit of effort, as the drive from Lexington usually takes around 40 minutes, but the awe-inspiring nature you'll encounter makes every minute worth it. After all, there's a reason Outside magazine named the Pinnacles hikes the No. 1 hike in Kentucky. 

Most hikers traverse the various Pinnacles trails to experience some of the area's most sweeping views at the end of their hikes. Some of the best lookouts include West Pinnacle, Indian Fort, Eagle's Nest, East Pinnacle, and Buzzard's Roost. 

Generally considered one of the easiest, the hike to East Pinnacle is the most popular among local hikers, as is the West Pinnacle route. If you're looking for a little bit more of a challenge, continue the steep ascent up to the Indian Fort Lookout, and for an even higher view, check out Eagle's Nest or Buzzard's Roost, located even further up the trail. 

The Overlook Trail at Camp Nelson

This last hike is a historic one located half an hour south of Lexington. During the Civil War, Camp Nelson functioned as one of the largest training grounds in the country for black soldiers fighting for their emancipation. Wander around the 5 miles of trails within Camp Nelson to discover the area's history. The Overlook Trail itself is 1.2 miles long and takes you through Civil War fort ruins and wooded areas. At the end of the trail is a beautiful vista where you can look down on Hickman Creek. 

The Lexington area has a variety of hiking trails to offer, from the easy and historical to the challenging and majestic. If we left your favorite local hiking trail off the list, let us know so we may include it in a future post. Contact us at Montgomery CDJR or visit our dealership in Nicholasville, Kentucky.

Raven Run by Rich Bowen is licensed with CC BY 2.0

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Tags: hiking