Raven Run is a 734 acre nature sanctuary located just at the southern end of Fayette County. A short drive down Old Richmond Road or out Tates Creek Road will lead you to Raven Run located just off Jack’s Creek Pike. The sanctuary is run by the Fayette County Parks Department and is FREE to visitors.
What’s great about Raven Run is that it is truly a great hike but still within the city limits. You can always head to Red River Gorge and Natural Bridge for a big day of hiking but Raven Run offers a beautiful day in nature right here in Lexington!
The trails are longer so be prepared for more of a hike with your kids. The trails are not stroller friendly and are not paved. McConnell Springs features paved walkways and a great nature experience so if you still have one in a stroller check it out. For more info on McConnell Springs click here. Salato Wildlife Education Center in Frankfort is paved, has live animal exhibits and is also very stroller friendly. For more information on Salato click here.
Raven Run has a nature center at the trail head and offers special programming throughout the year. Their full calendar is available online and some events are great for children as well as adults. We’ve enjoyed spring break activities at Raven Run as well and were very impressed with how educational and fun they were – and they’re FREE! Call ahead or go online to register for an event. (859) 272-6105
Raven Run has numerous trails running through the park. The trails are well marked and you can find information about the various trails at the entrance. When I took my boys (2 and 4 years old at the time) we headed toward the creek and I easily navigated the trails. There are other trails that lead to wonderful Kentucky River overlooks and various habitats. You can easily spend the entire day within the park so pack plenty of water and snacks or a picnic lunch. The path we took to the creek is a true hike in the woods with rocks and inclines. I was super impressed with my boys when they made it that far. It was early, not too hot and we weren’t needing naps. Plan appropriately if you take little ones on a trip like this.
There is a great trail to a beautiful overlook of the Kentucky River!
During our adventure to the creek we were visited by a doe and her fawn. They walked down the stream then crossed about 50 feet from us. The kids were so excited to see deer right there in front of them and it was a great teachable moment. Be prepared to see other creatures along the way and be respectful by taking care of their home and not leaving anything behind on your adventure.
The trails are beautiful in summer but the late fall and winter can also be a great time to visit. You can see even more without the tree cover and it’s a whole new experience!
Raven Run Trails
- Red Trail – The main trail loop that takes you through the majority of the park. This is a single track wooded trail which consists of exposed rocks and roots, mud, and potentially downed trees/limbs.
- Green Trail – This is a series of trails that allow visitors to experience the meadows of Raven Run. These trails consist mainly of mowed grass, are more open than the Red Trail and generally easier to walk on.
- Orange Trail – This trail is a 1 mile loop off of the Red Trail and consists of open meadows, some wooded areas, and great views from a high elevation.
- Blue Trails – These trails connect the Green Trails to the Red Trail at various intersections. These trails are often shorter and offer the ability to see parts of the Red Trail without having to complete the 4 mile loop.
- Yellow Trail – Located off the Red Trail, this trail provides a shortcut from Point D to H. This short, but scenic, trail offers incredible views of spring wildflowers during their peak blooming season of April to May.
- White Trails – These short trails connect the Red Trail to points of interest throughout the park.
- Freedom Trail – This is a paved, barrier-free trail located beside the parking lot. This trail is roughly 1 mile long and is the only paved trail at Raven Run.
Points of interest
Kentucky River Overlook – A 70 ft overlook of the Kentucky River provides a view of the scenic Kentucky River Palisades.
Evans Mill – The site of a historic grist mill built by Peter Evans in 1833. Raven Run Creek was dammed at the time and the water from the creek powered the mill. Area farmers would bring corn to the mill to be ground.
Moore Grave – This headstone marks the grave of Archibald Moore. Moore was born on November 25, 1840 and was buried in front of his log cabin on February 9, 1871.
Prather Homestead – The majority of what is now Raven Run was owned by the Prather family in the early 1800’s. The homestead includes a historic home, cemetery, and smokehouse.
Stargazing nights at Raven Run are a special treat. I enjoyed a date night at the Stargazing event once and I was amazed at the huge telescopes local astronomers bring out for visitors to use. We saw the Space Station fly overhead, planets, constellations and other things in the night sky. Some events are held as early as 7:30 pm (time depends on sunset) and would be great to take kids to.
Upcoming Stargazing Dates – REGISTER ONLINE
August 11, 2023 9 pm – 11 pm FREE Perseid Meteor Shower Watch – View the night sky during the annual Perseid Meteor Shower! This is a weather dependent event. Please call Raven Run Nature Sanctuary for program updates the day of the event. Register ONLINE
August 12, 2023 9 pm – 11 pm FREE
Stargazing & Perseid Meteor Watch – View the night sky with the Bluegrass Amateur Astronomy Club during the annual Perseid Meteor Shower! This is a weather dependent event. Please call Raven Run Nature Sanctuary for program updates the day of the event. Register ONLINE
Call ahead or check their Facebook page to make sure the event isn’t canceled for weather.
Raven Run is open daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (trails close at 4:30 p.m.). They are closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas.
To learn more and view the calendar for the year click here. Call ahead or go online to register for an event. (859) 272-6105 Registration is required for events.
July 8, 2023
8:30 pm – 10 pm
Join us on a family-friendly hike through the park to learn about how animals navigate the night and what critters come out after dark. This program is designed for kids K-5th. Pre-register online
Caterpillars for Kids
July 15, 2023
1 pm – 2:30 pm
Kids K-5th join us on a caterpillar hunt to learn how to identify some of our common species. Pre-register online
Moth Week Night Hike
July 21, 2023
8:30 pm – 10 pm
Get ready for National Moth Week by joining us to search for moths and other nighttime insects. Pre-register online
Junior Explorers: Junior Explorers is a regular program for kids K-5th to learn about nature, history, and science at Raven Run.
Moth Week: We’re celebrating Moth Week by learning all about these mysterious insects! Take a walk to explore where moths spend their time during the day and search for moth caterpillars, then return to the nature center for a craft. Kids K-5th grade.
July 29, 2023
10 am – 11:30 am
All About Bees! Join us to learn all about honeybees, bumblebees, and other important pollinators! Take a walk to explore bee habitat, learn about beekeeping, and create your own bee themed craft . Junior Explorers is a regular program for kids K-5th to learn about nature, history, and science at Raven Run.
August 26, 2023
10 am – 11:30 am
Supermoon Hike – Take a guided walk through the nighttime park to observe one of the 2023 supermoons.
August 1, 2023
9 pm – 10:45 pm
Super Blue Moon Hike – Take a guided walk through the nighttime park to observe one of the 2023 supermoons, and learn about the reasoning and history behind the Blue Moon.
August 30, 2023
9 pm – 10:45 pm
July 14, 2023
August 11, 2023
9 am – 11 am
Join the Raven Run staff in a monthly program series exploring the birds throughout Raven Run Nature Sanctuary. Beginner and experienced participants are welcome. Pre-register online
All programs are weather dependent and require registration through RecTrac. For any questions regarding registration, please call (859) 288-2900.