The Best Places to Hike in Northern Kentucky

I love to go hiking, especially as a “timeout” from my online work projects. Sometimes fresh air and exercise are just what I need to recharge and reset.

I’m sharing some of my favorite places to hike in Northern Kentucky that you’ll want to add to your list.

view from Devou Park Overlook

Hiking Trails at Devou Park

The Overlook

1201 Park Dr, Covington, KY

Enjoy a great view from the Overlook and then walk the paved paths throughout the park on muddy days.

Devou Backcountry Trails

On dry days, explore the backcountry hiking trails that are also used for mountain biking.

Be prepared to jump over to the side quickly if you hear a mountain biker coming down the path.

train bridge Devou Park

There are two different parking lots on opposite sides of the Sleepy Hollow Rd. 

Devou Park Backcountry Trails

The Sleepy Hollow Montague Trail is one of my go-to trails. I like the vantage point beneath the train bridge and the inclines are a great workout.

Hiking Trails at Highlands Cemetery

Hiking Trails at Highlands Cemetery

2167 Dixie Hwy, Fort Mitchell, KY

This is one of my other favorite hidden hiking gems. I have relatives buried at Highlands and I only discovered their trails in the last few years. 

sign for Hiking Trails at Highlands Cemetery

There are 5.2 miles of trails on the 150 acres cemetery property.

It’s one of my favorite places to hike because it is so convenient to get to, located right off of the expressway at the Fort Mitchell exit off of I-75.

To get to the parking lot inside the cemetery, take all right turns as soon as you enter the cemetery and you will find the parking lot on the left.

The trailhead starts near the creek and there are a few spots where you can relax on a bench to watch nature along the water or at the top of a hill. 

Hiking Trail at Highlands Cemetery

Kids and superhero fans will also love discovering the “Batman” themed trail signs.

Many of the trails connect to each other which makes it fun to “choose your own adventure” and see where you end up. 

Boone Cliffs Nature Preserve

Hiking Trails at Boone Cliffs Nature Preserve

4700 Middle Creek Rd, Burlington, KY

The “cliffs” weren’t as dramatic as I anticipated on my first visit because I was picturing something more like Red River Gorge because of the name, but I did still enjoy hiking the trail. 
The 74 acre preservice has 20 to 49-foot cliff formations, 2.4 miles of unpaved walking trails and beautiful wildflowers. 
wild columbine flower at Boone Cliffs Nature Preserve

Be on the lookout for the wild columbine flowers in bloom at Boone Cliffs Park that naturally grow out of limestone cliffs. 

The parking lot of the preserve is really small and make sure that you pay attention to the parking signs to make sure that you are in the designated location. 

Big Bone Lick State Historic Site

Hiking Trails at Big Bone Lick State Historic Site

3380 Beaver Rd, Union, KY

Big Bone Lick State Historic Site has 4.5 miles of hiking trails ranging from easy to moderate in a variety of terrain from paved to unpaved. 

paved trail Big Bone Lick State Historic Site

Yes, we know the name of the park that our local hidden gem sounds odd. The name inspiration came from the Pleistocene megafauna fossils found there.

during pre-historic times mammoths frequented this location by the salt licks deposited around the sulfur springs.

With that understanding the name it makes a little more sense.

You can learn more about prehistoric history during the Ice Age on markers placed along the Discovery Trail behind the visitor center on the paved trail.

Afterward, you might want to explore some of the unpaved hikes. 

bison viewing at Big Bone Lick State Historic Site

Visit the Bison

Kentucky had wild bison around the 1800s and the current bison herd at the park is a reminder of the park’s more recent history.  

While you are at the park you definitely want to take the paths that lead to the bison viewing. 

Dinsmore Woods State Nature Preserve

Hiking Trails at Dinsmore Woods State Nature Preserve

5700 Burlington Pike, Burlington, KY 

The Park entrance is on the right, located just past the Dinsmore Homestead. You can park at Middle Creek Park Parking lot across the road.

cemetery at Dinsmore Woods State Nature Preserve

This 107-acre park has a mature forest and a cemetery at the top of the hill. 

bridge on hiking trail Middle Creek Park

Hiking Trails at Middle Creek Park

5655 Burlington Pike, Burlington, KY

If you are feeling extra ambitious you could hike at the Dinsmore and Middle Creek Park on the same day because of their close proximity. 

creek at Middle Creek Park

The 3-mile loop trail can get really muddy in the lower sections so be mindful of what the weather has been a few days prior to your hike. 

Gunpowder Creek Nature Park in Kentucky

Hiking Trails at Gunpowder Creek Nature Park

6750 Sperti Ln, Burlington, KY

There are 1.2 miles of unpaved hiking trails but the best part is the creek.  

Gunpowder Creek Nature Park in Kentucky

Challenging yourself to find a rock path in the creek to walk across without falling in is still fun as an adult.

Gunpowder Creek Nature Park in Kentucky

This is a popular hidden gem with limited parking and a very steep hill gravel trail to go down to access the trails to the creek. Be prepared because you will also have to walk up the steep hill when you leave.

Gunpowder Creek Nature Park in Kentucky

I would suggest wearing old shoes that can get wet and bringing towels because your kids will want to get wet if it’s a nice day.

grassy area Gunpowder Creek Nature Park

There is also a large grassy section where you can toss a ball or plan a picnic.

Doe Run Lake Park

Hiking Trails at Doe Run Lake Park

1501 Bullock Pen Rd, Covington, KY

You’ll want to visit the hiking trails at Doe Run after several days without rain because the trails can get really muddy and the trail is often closed.

hiking trail at Doe Run Lake Park

The 2.8-mile loop trail takes you around the 50-acre lake but many areas along the trail can be washed out and hard to find.

I’m still mentioning it because it’s a scenic small lake and you could walk along the road and toward the end of the trail closer to the road where you drive in. 

Try them all and decide which Northern Kentucky hiking trails are your favorite. 

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