Tom Dorman Nature Preserve – Hiking Trails

Tom Dorman Nature Persevere – Great views of the Kentucky River Palisades

The Tom Dorman Nature Persevere is located in Lancaster, Kentucky. If you are traveling from Nicholasville, follow 27 south for approximately nine miles. Almost Immediately after crossing the Kentucky River turn right into the Parking lot. There are large signs marking the entrance. If you are coming from the south you do have to bypass the entrance and go across the bridge and then do a U-turn and come back south.

Any time of year Tom Dorman offers great ‘hiking near me’

Chimney - Tom Dorman State Preserve
Chimney – Tom Dorman State Preserve

Tom Dorman Nature Preserve is one of the largest in the state. It was dedicated in 1999 by the Kentucky River Authority. Since then they have added more land over the years. Are you wondering who Tom, or the Tom Dorman is? Tom was the president of the Kentucky River Authority and helped the state preserver the land which now makes up the park.

The trail from the parking lot leads up to a large loop around the preserver. A smaller loop down by the river takes you to the palisades and river edge. The bank at the river has some great beaches when the river is lower.

You can also find the remains of some type of settlement. From the picture on the right it looks like all that remains of an old house. If you look close on the river loop you may also find some old farm machinery.

If you are looking for a great hiking spot close to you Tom Dorman Nature Preserve is one of the greatest palisades hiking trails you can find in the area.

Tom Dorman Nature Preserve provides a moderate level hike.

Check out this brocure from the state, it has an updated trail map. The trails were changed in early 2020, late 2019. You can get a good 3.5 – 4 mile hike in at the preserve, depending on your course.

There 4 step elevation changes if you go all the way to the river. Footing is pretty solid in most areas, but it will get you breathing hard. No matter the season you will have something to see. In the spring you get wild flowers springing up everywhere, the summer you get a lush green forest. Fall you get all the colors of the season changing. And if you go in winter when all the foliage is gone you get to see things you didn’t see anywhere else.

The trail is marked very well to reassure you, that you are heading the correct way.

Take a hike and some pictures, and have some fun

Staircase - Tom Dorman State Preserve
Staircase – Tom Dorman State Preserve

There is many many photos ops on this hike, so have your camera ready. Just don’t put yourself in a dangerous selfie situation. Check out the video to get an idea of what the trail looks like in the spring. If you go or have went share your thoughts, or share a photo you took on the trail.

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