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National Parks in Kentucky: Explore the 7 Kentucky National Parks (2021 Update)

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    The national parks in Kentucky include the world's longest cave along with a range of Civil War History.  These 7 Kentucky National Parks are amazing sites.

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    Map of National Parks in Kentucky

    Keyuck’s National Parks are spread out along the central and southern regions of the state. Any of these sites make a great addition to a Kentucky weekend getaway.

    Kentucky National Parks

    Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park

    Things to do:

    How to get there:

    Where to Stay: >> Check prices of nearby hotels on Booking.com or Hotels.com

    Entrance Fee: Free

    Official Website: Click Here

    Map: Download

    Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area

    Things to do:

    How to get there:

    Where to Stay: >> Check prices of nearby hotels on Booking.com or Hotels.com

    Entrance Fee: Free

    Official Website: Click Here

    Map: Download

    Camp Nelson Heritage National Monument

    Things to do:

    How to get there:

    Where to Stay: >> Check prices of nearby hotels on Booking.com or Hotels.com

    Entrance Fee: Free

    Official Website: Click Here

    Map: Download

    Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

    Things to do:

    How to get there:

    Where to Stay: >> Check prices of nearby hotels on Booking.com or Hotels.com

    Entrance Fee: Free

    Official Website: Click Here

    Map: Download

    Fort Donelson National Battlefield

    Things to do:

    How to get there:

    Where to Stay: >> Check prices of nearby hotels on Booking.com or Hotels.com

    Entrance Fee: Free

    Official Website: Click Here

    Map: Download

    Mammoth Cave National Park

    Things to do:

    How to get there:

    Where to Stay: >> Check prices of nearby hotels on Booking.com or Hotels.com

    Entrance Fee: Free but cave tours are extra and not covered by the America the Beautiful Pass.

    Official Website: Click Here

    Map: Download

    Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument

    Things to do:

    How to get there:

    Where to Stay: >> Check prices of nearby hotels on Booking.com or Hotels.com

    Entrance Fee: Free

    Official Website: Click Here

    Map: Download

    Affiliate Sites of Kentucky

    Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail

    The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail follows the route Meriwether Lewis and William Clark took across the United States’ newly purchased territory.  The trail starts at Camp Dubois, Illinois and passes thru Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and ends in Washington.  The trail is a combination of auto, land and water routes.

    The Lewis and Clark expedition started in May 1804 with the goal to find a practical route across the western region of North America. They were to lay claim to these lands to limit European expansion.  The expedition was a success.  Lewis and Clark crossed the Louisiana purchase and made it to the Pacific Ocean.  They recorded the plants, animals, and landscapes as they traveled.  They laid the foundations for future relationships with the American Indian tribes of the relationships.

    The trail was established on November 10, 1978.  There are over 100 stops along the trail.

    Things to do: Hiking, Auto Tours, Museums,

    How to get there: The sites are located in the 16 states the trail runs through.

    Where to Stay: There are various places to stay along the trail.

    Entrance Fee: Free but various attractions along the trail may charge an entrance fee.

    Official Website: Click Here

    Map: Download

    Photo Credit – NPS

    Trail of Tears National Historic Trail

    The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail follows the different routes members of the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Ponca, and Ho-Chunk/Winnebago nations were forced to march for resettlement as part of the Indian Removal Act.  The Trail of Tears follows the four main routes from Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia through Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas on their way to Oklahoma.

    The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail stands as a reminder of the horrific treatment the American Indians suffered at the hands of the U.S government.  It is estimated between 2,000 – 8,000 Cherokee died along the trail (that doesn’t include deaths of any of the other tribes or deaths in the Seminole wats).

    Today, visitors to the Trail of Tears can drive any one of the four main autoroutes and visit sites such as the Cherokee County Historical Museum, Brainerd Mission Cemetery,  Cherokee National Museum, and Fort Payne Cabin Site to learn more about the journey the American Indians were forced to make and the challenges they faced.

    Trail of Tears National Historic Trail was created in 1987.

    Things to do: Historical Sites, Museums, auto touring, walking

    How to get there: The trail follows several routes as it pass through Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia through Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Oklahoma

    Where to Stay: There is no lodging on the trail itself, but multiple options are located along the route the trail.

    Entrance Fee: Free but various attractions along the trail may charge an entrance fee.

    Official Website: Click Here

    Map: Download

    List of National Parks in Kentucky

    There are 7 National Parks in Kentucky and they received 1.52 million visitors in 2020 and generated over 1.2 million in tourism economic benefits. The majority of visitors (693,400 thousand) visited Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.

    • Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park
    • Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
    • Camp Nelson Heritage National Monument
    • Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
    • Fort Donelson National Battlefield
    • Mammoth Cave National Park
    • Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument

    Affiliated Areas

    • Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
    • Trail of Tears National Historic Trail

    Kentucky National Parks also provides support and management to 3,479 National Register of Historic Places Listings.

    There are 32 National Historic Landmarks, 7 National Natural Landmarks, 426 Places recorded by the Heritage Documentation Program, and over 1.93 million objects in the Kentucky National Parks Museum Collections. There are 1,636 Archaeological Sites in the Kentucky National Parks.

    Kentucky is home to 45 State Parks.

    Kentucky’s Neighboring States

    Planning to visit a few of the National Parks in Kentucky and wandering about what national parks are in neighboring states. Here are the list of National Parks in surrounding states.

    Check out this great list of the 63 National Parks and get a FREE National Park Checklist. Count how many National Parks you have visited.

    Final Thoughts on the National Parks of Kentucky

    I hope this guide to the National Parks of Kentucky is helpful as you plan to explore these amazing National Parks.

    Pin for Later: National Parks in Kentucky: Explore the 7 Kentucky National Parks (2021 Update)

    The national parks in Kentucky include the world's longest cave along with a range of Civil War History.  These 7 Kentucky National Parks are amazing sites.

list of national parks in kentucky / ky national parks / national park in kentucky / national parks in ky / national parks kentucky / national monuments in kentucky

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