Recreational trails and rivers can really help boost a community’s tourism traffic. The Kentucky Trail Town Program helps communities take advantage of the economic opportunity brought by the attraction of trails and rivers. The Trail Town help transform your town into a more inviting and memorable tourist destination as well as a better place for residents to live, work and play.

What is a Trail Town?

A Trail Town is a destination along a long-distance trail or adjacent to an extensive trail system. Whether the trail is a hiking trail, water trail or rail trail, users can venture from the path to explore the unique scenery, commerce and heritage that each trail town has to offer. It is a safe place where both residents of the town and trail users can walk or drive to find the goods and services they need.

A Trail Town is a vibrant hub where people come together. It may have a bike shop, ice cream parlor, casual restaurants, a grocery store and quaint local shops. It should also have wide sidewalks, clean streets, bike racks, hitching posts, watering facilities and restrooms, benches and places to rest for the night. It should generously meet the needs of both trail users and town residents. A Trail Town is a friendly place that encourages trail users to visit and welcomes them with warm hospitality.

Trail Towns are not stand-alone communities. They are linked through the series of trails. Trail users may be passing through a town on a day trip or a long-distance trek or may drive to a community or park to
access a river or trail.

Any trail, long or short, is a valuable asset to a community. A trail can provide recreation for people of all ages and fitness levels and offers the chance to study nature or local history. This guide is tailored to towns that serve as gateways to large trail systems that attract travelers from outside the local community. Studies have shown that the longer/larger the trail system, the further people will travel to visit it and the more likely they are to stay longer and spend more money. A day-tripper will spend four times as much as a local user, and an overnight visitor will spend twice as much as a day-tripper.

For more on the Kentucky Trail Towns, visit: