When most people hear the word “tourist,” they imagine a bumbling traveler with a map and a fanny pack, wandering aimlessly through town in search of regional landmarks. They think of a slow-moving, directions-inquiring foreigner with a camera. Beattyville, Kentucky offers a different take on the tourist.

Discover what many rock climbers have known for years. Sitting atop rock overhangs and surrounded by lush woodlands and scenic rivers, Pine Crest Camp Lodge urges you to have your camera, but plan on a day which might include hanging on the face of a majestic cliff, bouncing from rock to rock on a mountain bike, exploring the historic Sheltowee Trace, or taking a leisurely row on the Kentucky River in a canoe or kayak. The ruggedly beautiful landscape combines rocky terrain, old and new growth forests, aquatic adventures, and stunning scenery to create a high-octane brand of adventure tourism for your next vacation.  

The excitement begins just outside your door in Daniel Boone National Forest. This 2,100,000-acre wilderness playground allows you to hike, bike, or just explore wild country that has been unused for more than 50 years. Observe unique plant life like sugar maples, white pines, hemlock, hickory, and various oak trees. Watch for an array of animals that includes 67 different species of reptiles and amphibians, 46 species of mammals, and 100 species of birds.  

What’s the “beta” on some of the best spots to climb in the Pendagrast-Murray Recreational Preserve? Whether you climb Far From God, The Force, Tuscan Raider, Girls Gone Wild, Lucifer, or one of the hundreds of other routes, you’ll need to know where to use an “open handed crimp” or a “gaston”  or a “side pull” (don’t use your thumb or it’s a “pinch”). You might have to use a “sloper” (the jury is still out on whether a “slimper” is a real term) or a “big jug.”  If you’re lucky you won’t have to hurt your finger in a “mono” but will get a “two or three finger pocket.” Caution:  overuse of “knee bars” will result in your contemporaries reducing your status from “rock climber” to “rock crawler.”  

Find high-flying fun at Red River Gorge Ziplines, which is only ten minutes away. The five zip adventure takes you through the forest canopy and twice across the Red River Gorge at speeds up to 45 mph. While there, visit the Red River Gorge.This intricate canyon system of towering sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, and natural bridges includes the well-known Natural Bridge and Sky Bridge formations. As you traverse the red rocks, keep a watch out for petroglyphs, rock engravings often sculpted by prehistoric cultures.

Water-fueled fun is just minutes away on the Kentucky River. Paddle along the meandering river on a canoe adventure, during which you’ll soak in Appalachian Mountain scenery. Get hooked on river fishing, which allows you to reel in a variety of fish species which include a variety of pan fish, catfish, bass, and musky. In fact, Kentucky’s largest recorded goldeneye was caught on the Kentucky River.

Motorcycle enthusiasts will find an abundance of scenic beauty on the snaking roads which traverse panoramic vistas and primal tree covered lanes. It’s a truly wonderful way to see the breathtaking scenery of the Cumberland Plateau.

OHV and ATV enthusiasts will find no more challenging or beautiful scenery to practice their rugged sport than the old oil field and lumber roads that lace the area.   

After a recreation-filled day, get some relaxation in the rustic yet refined lodge. Four private rooms and six hostel rooms (32 beds over all) feature a cozy fireplace, satellite television, and breathtaking views. If you’d prefer to stay close to the wilderness, pitch a tent in a campsite and roast marshmallows around the roaring fire.  An industrial kitchen is available for your use if you don’t want to cook over the fire.

A  place for any occasion designed to meet a wide range of financial situations, Pine Crest Camp Lodge serves as your home away from home for reflecting on life or engaging in life-altering adventure.  

Pinecrest Camp Lodge

Beattyville, Kentucky