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!
Raven Run has numerous trails running through the park. 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.
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.
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.
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 to register for an event. (859) 272-6105
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.
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 to register for an event. (859) 272-6105
September 2021 REGISTER ONLINE
September 4 | 10 a.m. | Volunteer Day | Join park staff to help us keep the park beautiful! FREE
September 5 | 1 p.m. | Casual Hikers Tree Walk | Take a casual walk through the late summer woods to learn identification techniques for the trees every Kentucky outdoorsperson should know! FREE
September 8 | 6:30 p.m. | Sunset Yoga | Enjoy an hour of yoga outside in the fresh air on the grounds of the Prather homestead. This class is a beginner-intermediate session and is cohosted by SoulRebeLex yoga. FREE
September 11 | 8 p.m. | Twilight Trek | Join the Raven Run park staff on a peaceful hike throughout the park at night. Kid-friendly evening hike focusing on nocturnal creatures and how they navigate the nighttime woods. $5
September 12 Fall ’21 Thru Hike I
September 19 Fall ’21 Thru Hike II
September 26 Fall ’21 Thru Hike III
10 a.m. | This fall, we’re doing it all! All our trails, that is. Join us on a once-a-week section hike of the Raven Run trail system. It’s a great way to meet fellow outdoor enthusiasts and get outside. By the last meeting, we’ll have hiked every trail at Raven Run. Thru hikers who attend all group hikes get bragging rights and a souvenir, but participants are welcome to join however many sessions they wish. FREE
September 12 | 1 p.m. | Prather Homestead History | Come join us for a guided tour discussing the history of the 19th century Prather Homestead at Raven Run Nature Sanctuary! FREE
September 18 | 10 a.m. & 2 p.m. | Pollinator Habitat School: Monarch Tagging | Learn about citizen science efforts to conserve the monarch butterfly, and help park staff tag and release monarch butterflies. FREE
September 19 | 8 p.m. | Harvest Moon Night Hike | Explore the woods and fields of Raven Run while September’s full harvest moon rises. $5
September 22 | 6:30 p.m. | Sunset Yoga | Enjoy an hour of yoga outside in the fresh air on the grounds of the Prather homestead. This class is a beginner-intermediate session and is cohosted by SoulRebeLex yoga. FREE
September 25 | 10 a.m. | Junior Explorers – Butterflies | Kids K-5th can join us for September’s Junior Explorers, where we’ll learn all about the amazing butterflies of Raven Run. FREE
September 26 | 1 p.m. | Prather Homestead History | Come join us for a guided tour discussing the history of the 19th century Prather Homestead at Raven Run Nature Sanctuary! FREE
All programs are weather dependent and require registration through RecTrac. For any questions regarding registration, please call (859) 288-2900.