Due to a heat index exceeding 90 degrees, the Millennium Trail and Elm Lick Trail will remain closed until further notice.

Get Out and Explore Bernheim This Summer

By Amy Joseph Landon

Summer is almost here and it’s the perfect time to get outside and experience the sights, sounds, and smells of summer. The lush green tones of the trees illuminate the forest, the bullfrogs croak, the Bobwhite quail whistle, butterflies flit among plants, and the odor of the many flower species growing at Bernheim waft through the air.

With over 40 miles of hiking trails, there are endless opportunities for a summer adventure. Before you head out, it’s important to prepare so your hike is fun and safe.

The Millennium Trail currently remains closed as we inspect it for safety following this spring’s wind storms. Once we believe it is safe for hikers to return (we expect it to reopen by July 1), it will be closed on any day when the heat index is above 95 degrees. On those hot days, anyone hiking Elm Lick Loop must be on trail by 11 a.m. Always check Bernheim’s website or social media (@bernheimforest) before heading out to make sure the trail you want to hike is open. Trails may also be closed if there is a severe storm or high wind advisory. 

On weekends, don’t miss the chance to experience the summer landscape from atop Bernheim’s historic fire tower – we will have guides to escort you up to the top each weekend day from 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., weather permitting.

Members have the rare opportunity to spend a night at Bernheim for our Member Adventure Camp-In on July 21, so be sure to sign up (you can still join if you want to be a part of the fun) to experience the wonder of Bernheim under the quiet night stars.

Check out our calendar for even more fun under the summer sun!

Be sure to bring a bottle of water (reusable ones encouraged!) to stay hydrated along the way. Don’t forget about your furry friends – they need to stay hydrated too! Water and reusable water bottles are available for purchase at Isaac’s Café daily, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.Summer is also insects’ favorite season! The forest is also home to many six-legged creatures, including ticks. Please protect yourself with insect repellent, and make sure to check your head and body for ticks when you leave Bernheim.

We strongly encourage you to wear plenty of sunscreen and bug spray. Harmful rays can still get through the forest shade. To protect yourself from the heat, clothing should be light and breathable. A sun hat is also always a great idea.

At over 16,000 acres, Bernheim is a large, intact forest that provides high-quality, resilient habitat to countless plants and animals. While hiking on the trails, you may encounter one of the many creatures that call the forest home. If you pay close attention, it’s possible you’ll spot a white-tailed deer leaping through the shrub layer. You might see an eastern box turtle munching a mayapple. A hawk surveying from the top of a tall oak tree might catch your eye. And if you keep your eyes focused on the trail, you could even spot a snake slithering across the path.

Like any wildlife you come across at Bernheim, remember to give snakes plenty of space when you spot them. Snakes in this region of Kentucky are generally docile animals and prefer to keep to themselves. They won’t strike unless provoked. People are most often bitten by snakes when they get too close, pick them up, trap them, or try to kill them. If you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you!

Now that you’re prepared, lace those shoes up and embark on all your summer adventures!


Juneteenth – June 18/19: Open 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Independence Day – July 4: Open 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.

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