My favorite place, in my area, is Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill. It lies in the rolling hills, on highway 68, going from Harrodsburg Kentucky to Lexington. Part of their property is on the Kentucky River, where they have a paddle boat you can ride. They have 14 trails, 37.5 miles of beautiful scenery, wonderful sounds and smells, and diverse wildlife. There are miles of stone fences, and old mill sites, and waterfalls, and creeks.
Hiking the trails is free, but donations are encouraged to defer the cost of the trail maintenance. The Preserve is open daily, sunrise to sunset.All trail users are required to sign a property usage waiver. (You can do this at the Trustees House.)
They also have wonderful events, and programs going on all year long, like the Chamber music of the Bluegrass, (which some of the concerts are held in the event barn, where you will hear the quail and other wildlife chime in with the music.) You can learn about bees and honey production. There are many wildlife programs, and craft fairs. There is the Craft Brews and Bands event, and so many more exciting things to see and do. Something for everyone!
I am posting this a couple weeks after I went on this cold morning hike at dawn. It is suppose to be 77 degrees today, on February 24th, 2017. I thought I might remind everyone what it was like, in case you forgot
I went on a hike at dawn, to see the creeks and waterfalls, since we have had quite a bit of rain lately. I saw 4 deer on, on the road, before I even got to where I parked. I saw 10 deer total today.
The creeks and waterfalls were lovely, especially since we have had so much rain! I was out there 3 1/2 hours, but I wished I could have been there longer, but the battery on my phone probably would not have lasted much longer, from all the pictures and videos I took!
Here are a few sights along the way:
There were several interesting mushrooms along the way.
I went hiking at dawn this morning. It was misty and very foggy, and a little cool, but above freezing. It was great seeing the creeks up. I only saw one deer today, but there were a lot of birds singing, and I saw I Downy woodpecker. I hear them all the time, but I have never seen them out there. I wish I had more time to hike other trails, but I had already been out there 3 hours, and I had things to do.
I hiked to the waterfall from the village via the Tanyard trail, which allows you to get to the waterfall without crossing the creek. I went back across the creek, just past the waterfall, where the stepping stones are. Getting to the waterfall on the Tanyard takes longer, and is hilly, but I wanted to get a decent hike in anyway.
Here are a few pictures of the creek and waterfall:
The last couple of days I have had the pleasure of being able to hike the trails at Shakertown. (Friday and Saturday) It was a bit cold, (high of 16, with just a little wind and snow on the ground), but it was magical! With all the foliage gone, you can see so much more. Also with the rain that we have recently had, the creeks are flowing pretty good. There were also a lot of deer around. Unfortunately I do not have pictures of deer, just some video, which I am not able too post.
The trails at Shakertown are closed during the week, during November and December except the river trail. It is also a lovely trail with beautiful views. I see less deer here, but I have seen them on this trail. There is a neat waterfall near the landing, but unless it had been raining a few days before, it is usually dry.
You can either walk down the road, or go on the trail, which is what I do. You can drive down to the landing, but you would need to get a key from the reception desk in the Trustee’s house, (where the restaurant is.) You need to sign a waiver anyway before you go on any of the trails. If you go as often as I do, you can sign an annual waiver, so you do not have to sign every time.
If you drive to the landing, take a left on 68 as you drive out from Shakertown, and you will see a road on the right after that first curve. There should be a sign, but keep an eye out for it, because it is easy to miss.
If you walk to the landing, as you leave the Trustee’s house, take a right down the main road/pathway through Shakertown, going East. (You do not need a key, if you are walking. Also if you have small children, be sure you stay close with them, because you will cross a main road, and there are cliffs along the trail.) You will pass the farm on the right, and you will cross the Shakertown road that goes to the parking behind the East Family Dwelling. You want to cross that road and go down the path between the two fences, to the rock fence, just up from HWY 68. There are steps to go over the rock fence. You will cross HWY 68, but be extremely careful and listen to make sure there are no cars coming. They come around that corner pretty fast, but you can hear them coming. On the other side, you will see the road going down to the landing.
There is a smaller gate on the right for hikers. It may be chained, but it does not have a lock. If you want to hike the trail, instead of the road, the trail starts a couple of hundred feet on the left. You cross over the stone fence, where there are steps. There is a sign, and usually there is a traffic cone there too. There is a pond right there. follow the trail down the scenic path. At one point at a curve in the trail, you will get a spectacular view of High Bridge.
When you get to the bottom of the stairs, at the end of the trail, follow the road on down to the landing. Instead of turning right towards the landing, go straight into the trees for a short distance to the waterfall on the left.
There is another trail that you can take, if you are coming down from the trail, across from the red barn, just as you coming into the landing area, there is a road on the right going back to the pump station on the river. follow that road until you are almost to the pumping station, you will see the trail turning off to the right. You can follow that straight back to the landing area, or just a short distance, after you turn back down this trail, you will see another trail going off to the right. (It is easy to miss, so watch for it.) This trail goes down along the river, and comes back up in the landing area. (Right now there is one place, along this trail, where a tree is down and you will have to walk around the tree, which is a little rough, but not too bad.)
There is a porto-potty at the landing. The trial can be strenuous for someone that can not walk up hills, because you are walking down to the river, but for most people that hike, it is not bad. If you go I hope you enjoy it and have a great time!
Some pictures along the river trail.
(I have a lot more pictures I wanted to post, but I can only access about 1/2 the pictures in my December 2016 folder, on WordPress. I am not computer savy, I just love to hike.):