The Kentucky State Parks system in partnership with the Kentucky Sports Authority and Orienteering USA, invites you to discover the Kentucky State Parks Orienteering Trail – the first permanent orienteering trail network of its kind in the United States, and one of only a few in the world.
For those of you new to the sport of orienteering, it is a physical and mental challenge that involves a woods hike using a map and compass to complete a course. With your map (which you can download from the individual park website or purchase in the park gift shop) and your compass, you navigate your course visiting various checkpoints (called “controls”) along the way. Often, a course marker will take you to places you have never seen in a park or that you have visited many times before.
You can orienteer by yourself or with the whole family. You can run the course or you can hike it. In some of our parks you can complete the course on horseback or mountain bike (see your local park for rules and limitations).
The Kentucky State Parks system offers some of the finest orienteering opportunities in this part of the country! You’ll find courses with varying levels of difficulty suitable for everyone. Since 2012, Kentucky’s state parks and state resort parks have hosted a number of major orienteering events, including the United States Orienteering: Individual Championships, National Team Trials, Intercollegiate Championships, Interscholastic Championships; as well at the Kentucky Outdoor Adventure Games.
For the beginning and intermediate orienteer, the state of Kentucky offers permanent USA Orienteering courses at the following state parks and state resort parks: Barren River Lake, Big Bone Lick, Carter Caves, E.P. “Tom” Sawyer, Rough River Dam and Taylorsville Lake. Make a reservation to attend one of these courses — whether you’re a beginner or an advanced orienteering enthusiast, you’ll learn a lot. You can even stay in a park campground to get fully immersed in the outdoor experience.
To pick up your map, either click on the appropriate link on the state park website you will be visiting and then print out your map (or purchase a map for a small fee from the park gift shop).
We hope that you enjoy your orienteering adventure and have a chance to see all that our state parks and state resort parks have to offer. To learn more about orienteering throughout the country and in Kentucky visit either: www.orienteeringusa.org (Orienteering USA website), www.olou.org (Louisville, KY club) or www.ocin.org (Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati, OH club.) If you enjoy orienteering, you might also enjoy geocaching in our state parks.
Select one of the state parks below and begin planning your orienteering adventure or sign up for one of our orienteering courses. We’ll see you in the woods!