Bad Branch

Whitesburg, Kentucky 41858

Bad Branch

Bad Branch Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"The bare-rock crest of Pine Mountain provides spectacular vistas to the north.You also visit a 60-foot waterfall on this walk through a little-known preserve on the state’s southeastern edge. The 2,639-acre Bad Branch State Nature Preserve is one of the prettiest hiking spots in eastern Kentucky, just outside the Whitesburg area.

Bad Branch, a designated Kentucky Wild River, is a clear stream flowing down the south side of Pine Mountain. It empties into the Poor Fork of the Cumberland River just below the parking area. On this hike you follow Bad Branch upstream part of the way as you climb Pine Mountain to a sandstone cliff known as High Rock."

Bad Branch Trip Reports

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Just getting to the trail head is a wonderful scenic trip. Once there I found one car. About ten minutes into my hike I meet the couple from that car on their way out. Once clear of them I had the trail to myself. I continued hiking freestyle to the falls where I was able to take a cold invigerating shower. I didn't have time to do the rest of the hike, but the hike to the falls was perfect.
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Great area for hiking and the water fall was very nice.
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Considering the region in which it is located, this trail is an unexpected delight. It is located in the coal fields of Eastern Kentucky, but don't let this fact deter you from visiting and hiking this trail. The trail is worth the effort required to visit and hike it. You won't find the grand vistas of trails in the Western states, but you will experience the lushness of a Cumberland Mountain second-growth forest, the mist rising from a Kentucky waterfall, and a decent view of the Cumberland Mountains. I also saw bear tracks, bear scat and the season's first ripe huckleberries in the vicinity of High Rocks. As the author indicates, summer is the least enjoyable time to hike in Kentucky, as it was hot and humid, but I've never been one to let a little discomfort stop me from enjoying a hike. A real bonus in visiting this area of Kentucky is the genuine friendliness of the local Kentuckians. They are great people and they will make you feel welcome.

Bad Branch Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
5 hours
Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, (502) 573-2886
Local Contacts
USGS Whitesburg
Local Maps

Trail Log