Although Paducah, Kentucky, has many cultural, arts, and historical activities to enjoy, it is also a fantastic place to visit for those who enjoy spending time outdoors. The city’s location at the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers means that there are many riverside walks to enjoy, along with urban trails and hiking trails in the surrounding countryside. So, there is plenty to explore outdoors. If you enjoy hiking when you visit a new location, here is a traveler’s guide to hiking in Paducah, KY.
Indian Point Loop Trail
According to GAIA GPS, one of the most popular trails in Paducah, KY, is the Indian Point Loop Trail. It is an easy two-mile trail that takes most people a little more than an hour to complete. Although the walk is mostly flat, it is surrounded by bluffs, some of which are easy to climb. The trail also has a little cave and a picnic area with bathroom facilities.
Canal Loop Trail
Those who enjoy a longer hike should go to the Canal Loop Trail, as this trail is 10.5-miles long. The hike is between the Land Between the Lakes Recreation Area, and there are water views for most of the trail. One section of the trail runs alongside the Tennessee River, while another part runs along the edge of Lake Barkley.
Hematite Lake Loop
The Hematite Lake Loop trail is a 2.5-mile trail that runs around the perimeter of the lake. It is an easy trail to complete, and some sections of the trail have wooden walkways. However, if the weather is wet, some parts of the hike can become a little muddy and slippery, so it is advisable to wear sensible footwear to complete the walk. The surroundings are pleasant, as there are views across the lake, and the trail runs through woodland that is home to diverse wildlife.
High Knob Campground via Connector and Grindstaff Trail
A short yet moderate hike to enjoy is a trail in Shawnee National Forest that takes you to High Knob Campground. The trail goes by the High Knob natural landmark, and there is a section that runs alongside Grindstaff Hollow. There are scenic views and pretty natural features to enjoy along the way. The trail is 1.9-miles long, and it takes just over an hour to complete.
Rimrock National Recreation Trails
There are several trails in Rimrock National Recreation Park, and these vary in length. However, most are short and easy trails, and most are under three miles. Therefore, the trails in this recreation area are an excellent way to spend a couple of hours while you are in Paducah. Most trails begin at the Rimrock National Recreation Trailhead. One of the most popular trails is a loop trail that takes you past Ox Lot Cave. It is 2.5 miles long and classes as a moderate trail due to some uneven terrain.
Jackson Falls Trail
Jackson Falls Trail is one of the many hiking trails in Shawnee National Forest. It is an easy out-and-back trail that forks halfway, so you have two options for which way you wish to walk. You can even take one fork, turn back, then complete the second fork. Regardless of which fork you take, the trails are fairly equal in distance, as both are just short of 3.5-miles long. The first section of the trail, before the fork, takes you past the Primitive Campsite Jackson Falls. If you take the right fork, one of the highlights of the walk is seeing the scenic Jackson Falls.
Devil’s Kitchen Lake Loop
Devil’s Kitchen Lake Loop is a popular trail in Shawnee National Forest. The trail is a figure of eight shape, and there is one section that you will complete twice, once on the way out and again on your return. However, it is possible to complete only the outer sections of the trail if you prefer. The terrain on the trail is varied, and you will walk along creeks, past the lake, and through forested areas. If you choose to complete the full route, it is 6.7-miles long, and it takes most people around four hours to complete. Therefore, you should set aside a full morning or afternoon if you wish to complete this walk.
Benham Hill Trail
The Benham Hill Trail is an out-and-back trail in Shawnee National Forest that passes by Benham Hill. It is an easy trail of 1.6 miles that you can complete in under an hour. As the trail is predominantly in a forested area, it is a nice walk to enjoy nature and wildlife. Although the hike is only short, there is an elevation gain of 282 feet, which some may find challenging.
All Trails says that the local authorities created the Greenway Trail to increase outdoor recreation opportunities in Paducah. The trail connects four of the city’s parks, and it is possible to walk between all four trails or to only complete one or two sections of the trail. To complete the whole hike takes approximately three hours, as the trail is just over 7.5 miles long. Although it is a long trail, it is relatively easy as the trail is flat and well-maintained.
Taylor Bluff Trail
Those who are experienced hikers may prefer to enjoy a longer trail with challenges along the way. One of the best options near Paducah is Taylor Bluff Trail. It is a 24-mile trail that takes approximately 14 hours to complete. Therefore, you will need to set aside a full day and get an early start to complete the trail. Despite the length of this one-way trail, it is considered moderate as there is minimal elevation, and the trail goes through pretty wooded areas and along creeks. The trail passes by Taylor Bluff and Bay Creek Structure Number 5 Dam.