Kentucky is a beautiful state that has plenty to offer to landscape and nature photographers. Here we’ll look at some of the most noteworthy places in Kentucky to photographing, including some waterfalls, scenic vistas, natural bridges/arches, and a cave. The interactive map below shows the location of each spot mentioned on this page.
This page will continue to be a work in progress, so please feel free to leave a comment with your own suggestions of great places to photograph.
Red River Gorge
The Red River Gorge is in eastern Kentucky. Part of the gorge is designated as the Red River Gorge Geological Area and is within Daniel Boone National Forest. The gorge is filled with beautiful sandstone cliffs, natural arches, and waterfalls. It is a very popular area for rock climbing, and also one of the best spots in Kentucky for photographers. There are over 60 miles of hiking trails for experiencing the Red River Gorge Geological Area.
Natural Bridge State Resort Park
Located just south of the Red River Gorge is Natural Bridge State Resort Park. The natural bridge that is 65 feet high and spans 78 feet is the main attraction of the park. There is a half-mile trail that leads to the natural bridge, and more than 20 miles of other trails within the park. While the natural bridge is the main attraction, other rock formations in the park are interesting and worth photographing.
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
In southeastern Kentucky, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park is entirely within the Daniel Boone National Forest. It is about a 2-hour drive southwest from Natural Bridge State Resort Park. The park is home to Cumberland Falls, which is nearly 70-feet high. Eagle Falls, a 40-foot waterfall, is also within the park. Cumberland Falls is known for it’s common spray-induced moonbow that is visible at night during full moon, making it a unique place in the Western Hemisphere.
Land Between the Lakes
Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area includes the area between Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake in southern Kentucky and extending a little bit into northern Tennessee. There are over 200 miles of scenic roads and 500 miles of hiking trails that provide endless photographic possibilities. You can find information about the different trails here. You can also find wildflowers and wildlife at the Land Between the Lakes.
Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park is located in southern Kentucky between Louisville and Nashville. The national park covers part of Mammoth Cave, the longest known cave system in the world. Several different tours ranging from 1 – 6 hours are available through the National Park Service. Other more adventurous tours are also available.
Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is in southern Kentucky and northern Tennessee along the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River. The area is full of natural beauty, including many natural bridges., waterfalls, and sandstone bluffs. Several overlooks, many trails, and the river itself lead to great photo-worthy views.
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park includes parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. This area is full of historical significance and beautiful nature. One popular spot is Pinnacle Overlook. It is actually located in Virginia but provides a view of Kentucky, as well as Virginia and Tennessee. Skyland Road provides access to Pinnacle Overlook.
Breaks Interstate Park
Breaks Interstate Park is a bi-state park in both Kentucky and Virginia. The Breaks is the deepest gorge east of the Mississippi River, and here you can find some spectacular views. Many different overlooks are easily accessible by road, and hiking trails lead to others.