Description - Kentucky is mostly rural with the economic centers of Lexington and Louiville in the center of the state. The Appalachian Mountains dominate the eastern portion of the state with the Mississippi River creating the western border.
Copyright: National Park Service
Mammoth Cave National Park
- Kentucky is mostly rural with many regions steeped in U.S. political, military and industrial history. Natural areas pervade this state, which contains 49 state parks, 114 miles of wild and scenic rivers and many navigable lakes. Kentucky can be separated into four region with distinct characteristics and attractions.
Eastern Kentucky contains the Appalachian Mountains and the most significant amount of public lands in the state. The Daniel Boone National Forest encompasses nearly 530,000 acres through the mountains of eastern Kentucky. Other natural areas in the region include Jefferson National Forest and Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, both on the Virginia border, and Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, which is shared with eastern Tennessee.
Central Kentucky rests on a large limestone bed that continually erodes to form caves, sink holes and waterfalls. Mammoth Cave National Park lies in the middle of this region and preserves the largest cavern system in North America. The Green River flows through this park and is one of many waterways in the region. Rough River Lake, Barren River Lake, Lake Cumberland, Green River Lake and Taylorsville Lake are the larger, navigable lakes within central Kentucky.
Northern Kentucky contains the economic and population centers of Lexington and Louisville. This is also the Bluegrass region of the state and consequently the equine center. A drive through the rural areas will treat you to white fences and lush meadows of horse farming country.
Western Kentucky is contained by the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers in the west, which contributes to the low elevation and sedimentary soil of the region. Several state parks of natural and historical significance dot the landscape. The largest public reserve in the region is the Land Between the Lakes Recreation Area. This large area includes Lake Barkley, the Tennessee River and the land that lies between them. Several facilities for recreation exist in this large parcel of public land.
Recreation - This state supports a large variety of water sports on its large lakes and wide rivers. Visitors and locals alike can enjoy canoeing, kayaking, boating, water skiing, swimming and fishing. Private and public administered campgrounds provide accommodations throughout the state.
Climate - This state experiences a temperate climate with nearly 50 inches of rainfall annually. Thirteen inches of snow is an annual average in Kentucky. There are four distinct seasons here with summer temperatures reaching 90 degrees F frequently in July and August. Low summer temperatures dip near 70 degrees F at night. Winter high temperatures often reach 45 degrees with lows dipping below freezing. Spring and fall are particularly pleasant seasons in which to visit Kentucky. Fall months are the driest. The humidity levels in the state average near 54 degrees throughout the year. The humidity during the winter months averages somewhat higher.
Kentucky is located in the South Eastern United States, directly north of Tenessee.