Most high points are located in public parks, but Black Mountain in Kentucky is actually located on private property owned by Penn Valley Coal Company. Most people don’t realize it but you are supposed to sign and return a waiver before you hike. The trail you hike is actually a service road for the nearby coal mines. Here is a bit of what we learned after highpointing in Black Mountain.
What You Need To Know About Black Mountain, Kentucky
At 4,139 feet above sea level this high point is only 500 feet higher than the second highest point in Kentucky. Although it’s over 4,000 feet above sea level the summit is only 2,500 feet above land—which is a 4.6-mile hike. It’s located in Lynch, Kentucky right off of Route 160. You’ll be right at the sate line of Appalachia, Virginia so you can visit two states at the same time. On a clear day, you can see Tennessee and North Carolina. As private property you aren’t in an official forest, but the wooded area is classified as part of the Northern Hardwood Forests. Since it’s not a park there are no bathroom facilities, and you should bring your own bag for trash. Be sure to stop by the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum in nearby Benham (its only about 3 minutes away) as this used to be the largest coal mine in the United States.
Kentucky Fun Facts
Part of the fun of highpointing with my family is learning a bit about each state we visit. Here are just a few fun facts about KY:
- Kentucky was the 15th state founded in 1792.
- The state capital is Frankfort.
- Louisville is the largest city.
- The state nickname is the Bluegrass state.
- The state flower is goldenrod, the state bird is the northern cardinal, and the state tree is the tulip tree.
- Kentucky’s name was derived from the Iroquois native American name Kentahten which means “land of tomorrow.”
If you will be driving to your high points we suggest mapping out different routes both ways, planning a few sightseeing stops as you go, and being open to a few spontaneous stops along the way!