Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge

DSC03198Sunday afternoon I was searching for a quick hike to go on that would be fairly close to where I live in Danville, Ky.  I was about to call it a day when I stumbled across the Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge which is located just 13 miles from Danville.  After reading about it on the website I found that it is a 500 acre nature preserve that is open to the public from dawn to dusk.  Also to my luck they allow dogs as long as they are leashed.

So my dog Oz and I set out on a cold but beautiful morning to check out the refuge and get a little exercise.  There are several trails that you can go on all with different features and for different ability levels.  The trails that I used are Bluebird Trail, Yellow or Waterfall trail, Circle Trail, and the Green Heron Trail.  This place was very well marked and at no moment did I have any doubts as to what trail I was on, every split in the trail came with at least one sign and sometimes multiple signs.  Your day starts at the Cheek Nature Center which at the time I was there was closed but this place would be wonderful for school groups as it offers many educational experiences that are aligned with Kentucky Core Content.We started on the Bluebird trail which took us beside Island Pond which is just one of many ponds that you will find on this preserve.  After the pond you come to a clearing that makes a great place to see deer.  We followed this until it met up with the Circle Trail.  We weren’t on the Circle Trail for more the a couple of yards when I saw signs for the Yellow or Waterfall Trail, the Yellow trail takes you down to what would normally be a small waterfall but since it was about 25 degrees when I was there it was mostly ice.  As I was walking back I noticed two deer about 25 yards through the trees, I watched them for a little while and they watched me until I bored them and they went back to grazing, and since Oz is deaf he had no idea there was anything else around and lay down for a little rest:).  Finishing the Yellow trail takes you back up to the Circle trail which is rated moderate and based on the first 200 yards really earns that rating.

Circle trail takes you up and over a ridge which definitely had my blood pumping and then mellowed out as you went down the other side of the ridge.  I am eager to see what this trail offers in the spring as this was my first time on it because it seemed to have great habitat for many forms of plant life.   This trail meets back up with the Green Heron Trail or at least that is what the map off the internet will tell you, the signs at the refuge referred to it as the Brooks Hollow Trail.  Either way it was a great way to end the day as it was a easy walk through forest and fields which allowed me to see about 6 more deer in a clearing.  The trail finished by taking me beside Green Heron Pond (again a place I can’t wait to see in the spring), Woodland Pond, and a return to Island Pond to return back to the Nature Center.

It was about 4-5 miles(not exactly sure because my GPS was acting up) and took about an hour and a half.  Again they allow dogs if leashed and are open from dawn to dusk.  This is a great trip for school groups but they also offer events every so often so check out the website at www.ckwr.org.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself on this hike as did Oz and I am really excited about finding a place like this so close to home.  So go check it out and as always happy hiking.

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