After hiking through what Steve Gilbert considers “one of the most beautiful spots in Kentucky,” Gilbert and his companions pitched their tents along the Cumberland River.

Temperatures dropped that evening and they awoke to snowfall the next morning. “The hike out was really pretty,” said Gilbert, a naturalist at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park near Corbin.

Gilbert’s two-day hiking trip in January near Cumberland Falls is part of the Kentucky State Parks new “Backcountry Adventure Series.” More than a dozen trips are scheduled for March and April at six participating state parks.

The Backcountry Adventure Series has four types of adventures to choose from: one-day excursion, one-overnight backpack trip, one-overnight canoe camp, and a two-overnight backpack or backpack/canoe combo trip.  Participate in three out of the four types of excursions offered and each adventurer will receive a $50 Kentucky State Park Gift Card.  Participate in all four types of trips and each adventurer will receive a $100 gift card. 

Gift cards can be used at any Kentucky State Park for lodging, dining, camping, gift shops and more.  In addition to the gift card, if you participate in all four types of adventures, your name will go in a drawing for a future one-night adventure excursion for two people at the park of your choice.

Upon arriving at your first adventure the naturalist trip leader will give you an Adventure Passport that you will keep and must take with you on all trips.  This will be stamped by your trip leader and will be your verification of participation.

Trips require registration and have participation limits, so check them out in advance. The Kentucky State Parks offer guests a chance to “Choose Your Own Adventure” this year with three programs. Besides the Backcountry Adventure Quest, state parks also offer the “Family Adventure Quest” and the “Kentucky History Adventure Quest.”

Here’s a list of the parks, phone numbers, events and dates for the Backcountry Adventure Series. For more details visit and click on the “Backcountry Adventure Series” link or call one of the participating parks.

•Barren River State Resort Park (800-325-0057)

Backpacking Mammoth Cave National Park – March 10

Day Hike Mammoth Cave – March 24

Barren River's Wild Cave Days – March 31

Green River Overnight Canoe Trip – September 29 and October 6


•Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park (800-443-7008)

Licking River Overnight Canoe Trip – April 21, June 16, July 21 and September 22


•Carter Caves State Resort Park (800-325-0059)

Tygarts Creek Regretta- March 31 and April 14

Bat Cave Extreme – June 2 and July 14

4 C’s Fall Trek – September 29th


•Cumberland Falls State Resort Park (800-325-0063)

Backpacking 101 at Cumberland Falls – March 12

Backpacking/Canoe 2-night Combo – March 16

Hiking the Cumberlands - April 7, May 5, June 2, and November 3

Cumberland River Overnight Canoe Trip – October 6


•Greenbo Lake State Resort Park (800-325-0083)

Carpenter’s Run Trail Day Hike – February 24

Beginner’s Backpacking – March 10-11, Sept. 29-30, Oct. 13-14, Nov. 10-11.

Michael Tygart Trail Day Hike – April 21

Claylick Loop Trail Day Hike – April 7


•Natural Bridge State Resort Park (800-325-1710)

Beginner Backpacking – March 3, 10, 17, 24, September 22, 29, November 10-12, and 17

Exploring Arch Country – June 9, July 14, August 11, and December 1

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