Come explore one of Kentucky’s most beautiful preserved areas at Bad Branch Nature Preserve. Dedicated in 1985 as a preserve, these 2,785 acres of wilderness feature breathtaking views and hold one of the biggest concentrations in the state of rare and uncommon species.
The preserve is located on the south face of Pine Mountain and provides a rugged, densely-vegetated habitat teeming with life.
Nature enthusiasts flock to the area to see the Bad Branch Gorge, a 60-foot tall waterfall, and sweeping sandstone cliffs that make this location a hidden gem.
Visitors can hike on well-developed trails throughout the preserve that take them through hemlock forests to views of the gorge, waterfall, and surrounding cliffs on Pine Mountain.
A 1.2 mile hike to Bad Branch Falls is a popular route and takes hikers to the Bad Branch Gorge and stunning waterfall that flows over the slabs of rock. The hike is strenuous and offers sightings of rare flowers, rock shelters and overhangs.
A longer route takes hikers to the crest of Pine Mountain for views of sandstone cliffs and the surrounding area.
The preserve hosts an abundance of rare and uncommon plant and animal species and is a haven for wildlife native to the area.
Those looking for a glimpse of rare plant species can see small enchanter’s nightshade, Fraser’s sedge, longtail shrew, painted trillium, and blackside dace.
Visitors may also be able to view Kentucky’s rare nesting pair of ravens, black bears, and the Cumberland Arrow Darter- an endemic fish species that swims beneath the falls.