The Pinnacles in The Berea College Forest
Written, Photographed, and Traveled by: Patrick Ellis, Land Specialist, Overland Properties Group
Tucked away just a few miles east of Berea College sits one of Madison County’s best-kept natural secrets, and One of America’s Oldest Managed Private Forests!
The Pinnacles in Berea College Forest have something to offer for everyone! Recognized in 2019 by Outside Magazine as a Best Hike in Kentucky, this beautiful combination of trails overlooks, coves, and challenging terrain make The Pinnacles an excellent alternative to the Red River Gorge when trails get busy!
A local diamond in the rough, The Pinnacles offers a myriad of Outdoor Adventure Opportunities, with excellent access to modern amenities just a few miles away! The majority of its trails are dog-friendly. While trail difficulties vary with several branches off the main trailhead hosting designated trail features along East-West Pinnacle named Devils Kitchen, Eagles Nest, Buzzards Roost, and not to forget several large rock structures parallelling the trails. These also offer unique climbing opportunities, and outstanding views to survey Madison County from. Overall, no matter what time of year you choose to visit, the main trails are very well maintained by Berea College and the Forestry Outreach Center
The Berea College Forestry Center located adjacent to the parking area/entrance to the Pinnacles was constructed just a few years ago. The Forestry Outreach Center was commissioned with the mission of providing a space for community outreach and involvement focused on conservation, and fostering the idea of stewardship!
The facilities offer multiple services beyond providing general information, and shelter such as -Ask a Naturalist – Tuesday-Saturday 10-4 where curious visitors can ask questions about the identities of different plants and animals they locate while out exploring! Group Hikes – Hosted Saturdays at 1 pm, along with several Volunteer Opportunities such as Becoming a Hike Leader, Trail Building, and Assisting Naturalists. More information about The Pinnacles, The Forestry Outreach Center, and Volunteer opportunities can be found at – https://forestryoutreach.berea.edu/
More than just a great day of hiking can be found In Berea. After a full day of Fun and Sun located within a few minutes’ drive sit several local historic restaurants to refuel, rehydrate, and relax.
Local Favorites include –
Papa Lenos Pizza – Located on Main Street Which has been serving Classic inspired Italian dishes, and Hot Satisfying Slices since 1984.
Historic Boone Hotel, and Tavern – Located on Main Street Which has Hosted Guests, and Patrons For well over a Century! Offering an Elevated Dining Experience, and Rich History.
Honeysuckle- This new, local Bourbon, and Dining house offers an impressive drink menu to compliment their modern take on Southern Cuisine.
Noodle Nirvana – A Favorite Local Third Place- A local between work, and home that fosters Community, and the exchanging of ideas; Not to mention some amazing build your own noodle bowls.
Afterward, you can explore the charm of Berea city center, or stop by one of the local artisan shops located within walking distance such as Appalachian Fireside Gallery, or the Berea College Student Crafts Center! More information can be found at visitberea.com
Kentucky (Named after the Iroquois word “Ken-ta-ten”) which translates as “Land of Tomorrow” is home to a gorgeous array of terrain and natural features. So take a break this Spring! Treat yourself to some fresh air, time in nature, and beauty that can only be experienced firsthand. The Pinnacles in the Berea College Forest have so much more to offer the visitor than what is mentioned here, and the only way to discover it all is to get out there! Adventure Awaits, What’s holding you back?