Summer is almost here, even if it feels like it’s already arrived! It’s a great 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, we encourage you to get out and soak up the sun (and deep forest shade). Before you head out, it’s important to prepare so your hike is fun and safe.
As a (timely) reminder, the Millennium Trail will be closed on any day when the heat index is above 95 degrees. Also on those 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.
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 is 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!
SUMMER HOLIDAY HOURS
Juneteenth – June 19/20: Open 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Independence Day – July 4: Open 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.