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There’s More to Kentucky Than Just the Derby

- Molly

Bernheim Forest in Kentucky is easily one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever had the privilege of visiting, even during the summer. Not only can you enjoy the picturesque landscape in Bernheim Forest, but you can also participate in extravagant year-round events, hike, bike, fish, and so much more. Bernheim is a 14,000 acre nature park, arboretum, and arts facility. The park features over 50 miles of hiking trails, an arboretum containing more than 6,500 plant-life specimens, outdoor recreation facilities, and so many more exciting elements. Also — good news for parents — it only costs five dollars per carload to experience the breath-taking beauty of Bernheim Forest in Clermont, Kentucky.


The view at Bernheim Forest...absolutely gorgeous.

My favorite thing to do in Bernheim Forest is to have a picnic with my family. I grab a delicious, made-to-order sandwich from Isaac’s Café in the Visitor Center and head to a picnic table with my dad and sister. We’ve even had an old-fashioned picnic and brought along a blanket to lay on. But there are many other things to do in the park, as well. You can fish in certain parts of the main lake and you can even go for a pleasant bike ride along one of Bernheim’s many bike trails.


One of Bernheim Forest's many trails.

If you’d rather go hiking, there’s plenty of room for that in Bernheim. The forest has over 50 miles of scenic trails for year-round hiking. Looping through valleys, traveling along mountain sides, Bernheim’s trails offer a diverse variety of hiking opportunities for any hiker of any level. It has shorter, less vigorous trails for beginners or casual hikers, and it also has longer, more strenuous trails for more serious hikers.

For those who prefer to relax in air-conditioned areas, there’s a place for you, too. Bernheim’s Visitor Center was awarded the Top Green Building Honor, and it was the first in a several-state region to receive a platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building certificate. This is the highest level award one can receive for green building practices. Why is the Visitor Center so “green”? Well, the center was built with recycled wood, reuses roof water for toilets and purifies runoff though a peat-based treatment system, uses geothermal heating and cooling systems, and reduces the use of non-renewable polluting energy sources. I would say that’s pretty eco-friendly.


The award-winning Visitor Center.


Not only is Bernheim’s Visitor Center environmentally friendly, but it’s also a great place to find a variety of unusual (yet magnificent) merchandise to celebrate Bernheim. The Gift Shop in the Visitor Center specializes in one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted arts and crafts created by Kentucky artists, including hand-blown glass vases, paper weights, pottery, oil lamps, bracelets, and much more. Each piece is unique and sure to be enjoyed by many people for many generations. You’ll also find rocks and minerals, nature jewelry, children’s toys, coffee mugs, T-shirts, and living plants. You’re sure to find many wonderful and unique items in the Visitor Center’s gift shop, no matter your style or budget.

Whatever it is that you like, Bernheim Forest has something for you. You can hike, bike, picnic, fish, eat, shop, and so much more! Check out Bernheim’s website at to find a full list of upcoming events. Visit this breath-taking forest at 2499 Kentucky 245, Clermont, KY 40110 – just 20 minutes south of Louisville.

From one teenager to another, I can tell you that this forest is simply stunning. You won’t want to leave!


Visit the beautiful Bernheim Forest and see what it has to offer you.






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