If you are like me and have bad knees, but enjoy great hikes, I recommend three. All are in Kentucky State Parks and close to lodges. The first is Eagle Falls Trail at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. For me, it was the most strenuous. (Eagle Falls Trail Map)
I took exit 25 from I-75 and traveled west on US 25W to KY 90 to the park. Just beyond the turnoff to Cumberland Falls you drive over the Cumberland River on an old stone bridge. The turnout for the trail-head is on your right. Parking is limited and I find that off-season visits are best. The trail, at only a mile and a half, still took me on a half-day’s adventure. This was the busiest of the three trails. It hugs the west bank of the Cumberland River for a half mile, and then climbs quickly and steeply. You can expect to see a good variety of birds, Whitetail Deer, gray and fox squirrels, chipmunks, salamanders, and potentially venomous snakes. Steep drop-offs are also close to the trail, so be cautious. Stunning views of Cumberland Falls, the Cumberland River gorge, and Eagle Falls are worth the sweat.
Lake Shore Trail is located in Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Prestonsburg, KY. If traveling east on KY 80 go straight across US 23 and follow the signs, from US 23 take the KY 80 exit. The trail was moderately difficult. It is the longest at 2½ miles. It follows the shoreline of Dewey Lake for a mile. Watch closely around the lake to see waterfowl, deer, elk, and an occasional fish jumping out of the water. You may even see a Bald Eagle. The trail turns south as you leave the lake and climbs up a wooded ridge-line overlooking the lake. It loops back to the lodge via the paved cabin access road.
(Lake Shore Trail Map)
The combined Moonshine Hollow and Leatherwood trails are 1½ miles long. Take KY 28, from either KY 15 or KY 11, and follow the signs to Buckhorn State Park, for this solitary stroll through the trees. It led me into an oasis of peace between stands of hardwood and pine trees. It was the easiest of the three trails and I hiked it in thirty minutes or less. Birdsong captured my heart and the relaxing views soothed away my stress. (Moonshine/Leatherwood Trails Map)
Parking is not an issue for the last two hikes.