Pine Mountain Trail

Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail

Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail

Park Activities

  • Hiking
Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail
Breaks Interstate Park to US 23
US 23 to US 119
Whitesburg, KY 41858
Whitesburg, KY
Daniel Boone Country


The Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail is a linear state park still under development. Once completed, the long distance trail designed for primitive camping (in shelters located every 14 miles), backpacking and hiking, will span approximately 120 miles from Breaks to Cumberland Gap National Historic Park and pass through many natural areas such as Bad Branch State Nature Preserve, Kingdom Come State Park and Blanton Forest along the Pine Mountain range in eastern Kentucky. The trail will be a means for showcasing the wild highlands and conserving the natural and cultural heritage of Appalachia for future generations.

Trails open year round!

  • Birch Knob Section: Currently a contiguous trail from Breaks Interstate Park to US 119 is designated in two sections. The section from Breaks to US 23 is the Birch Knob section and totals 28 miles. Opportunities for photography abound – from rock outlooks to the viewing platform between Elkhorn and US 23.
  • Highlands Section: The US 23 - US 119 is named The Highlands because this part of the trail is the highest portion of PMSST and totals 16 miles for a total of 44 miles. If you hike along the High Rock Loop Trail, you’ll be treated to the waterfalls at Bad Branch State Nature Preserve. Construction has not yet passed beyond US 119. However, if hikers wish to do so, they can plan hikes on the Little Shepherd Trail (LST).
  • Little Shepherd Trail: The Little Shepherd Trail continues for another 38 miles from US 119 to US 421. The LST is a narrow, 1 1/2 lane blacktop road open to vehicular traffic, though lightly traveled. From US 119 to Kingdom Come State Park is 14 miles where primitive camping and water is available.


Two trail shelters can be found along the Highlands section for use by backpackers. Additionally, the Birch Knob section has one trail shelter.

The shelters are simple, open wood structures with bunks and a table, meant to serve as a dry place to rest along your journey. Shelters can accommodate up to 12 backpackers, and are designed to be shared use facilities.

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