Gov. Beshear: Pikeville Certified as 29th Kentucky Trail Town

Certification highlights outdoor recreation in Pike County, surrounding areas

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (June 5, 2024) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear joined state tourism leaders and local officials to announce that Pikeville in Pike County has officially been certified as the commonwealth’s 29th Kentucky Trail Town.

“Our trail town communities play a pivotal role in driving tourism across the commonwealth, offering communities a platform to showcase the best outdoor recreational experiences,” said Gov. Beshear. “And even though people will come for the outdoor adventure, you can bet that they will stay for everything else Pikeville has to offer, boosting local businesses and economic development in the region.”

The Kentucky Trail Town program is a tourism and economic development program designed to provide a strategic plan for communities to capitalize on recreation opportunities within their communities. Each of Kentucky’s 29 trail towns has made a public commitment to share its outdoor opportunities, culture, history and stories with visitors seeking adventure.

“We are proud of the Trail Town program’s impact. Not only does it highlight outdoor recreation, but the program also helps communities share their arts, culture and history with visitors,” said Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet Secretary Lindy Casebier. “Kentucky was the first state in the country to implement a statewide Trail Town program, beginning with Dawson Springs in 2013 and growing to include 29 communities.”

“We’re excited to see the Trail Town program continue to grow in Kentucky,” said Russ Meyer, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Parks. “Trail Towns represent some of the best places for outdoor recreation in Kentucky, and this certification should help raise awareness for Pikeville and surrounding areas to outdoor travelers. Breaks Interstate Park, Jenny Wiley State Resort Park and other areas in Eastern Kentucky can also benefit from increased tourists while encouraging our local communities to get out and recreate, enjoy healthy activities and have a more vibrant hometown.”

Pikeville has been focused on expanding and enhancing its trail systems. Local leaders prioritized outdoor recreation development, leading to the creation of new trail systems like the 4.7-mile Real McCoy Trail and the 2-mile Peach Orchard Mountain Trail. The Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy is a popular water trail that stretches 8.5 miles through town and offers various access points.

Pikeville Mayor Jimmy Carter underscores how the trail town designation will promote outdoor recreation within the community: “Pikeville’s designation as a certified Kentucky Trail Town is a testament to our community’s commitment to promoting outdoor recreation and tourism. This recognition will not only attract more visitors to experience our beautiful trails and natural landscapes but also boost our local economy and enhance the quality of life for our residents. We are beyond thrilled to receive this certification.” 

Pike County offers a variety of trail options, including off-road vehicles. Additionally, Pikeville serves as a stopping point for visitors traveling to the Breaks Interstate Park, the Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail or nearby Jenny Wiley State Resort Park.

“We are so excited to have Pikeville officially become a certified Kentucky Trail Town. This designation is not only a testament to our beautiful landscapes and vibrant community but also a significant milestone in our commitment to promoting outdoor recreation and tourism,” said Executive Director of Pikeville Community Relations and Tourism Jill Dotson. “This has been a wonderful process, and we are happy to celebrate this achievement. We extend our deepest gratitude to everyone who has contributed to making this day happen. We are also grateful to our Pikeville Trail Town Committee for their unwavering support and dedication in making this achievement possible.”

Pikeville’s Kentucky Trail Town certification follows the Governor’s announcement that 2023 was the best year on record for tourism, with $13.8 billion in economic impact and 95,222 jobs. This followed a record-breaking 2022 when he announced that tourism had generated more than $12.9 billion in economic impact and secured 91,668 jobs in Kentucky that year.

Kentucky’s impressive economic success over the last four years is a direct reflection of the Beshear administration’s continued investments in the tourism industry. In November 2023, Gov. Beshear announced that the commonwealth broke an all-time record with nine new tourism development projects set to generate an estimated $292.1 million in economic investment. These projects also are expected to create 550 jobs once operational.

The state’s bourbon and spirits industry recorded its best year for growth in 2022, with over $2.1 billion in new investments and approximately 700 new jobs for Kentucky residents. The sector followed with a strong 2023, including $713.8 million in new investments and 229 full-time jobs. Since the start of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced roughly 100 new location and expansion projects within the bourbon and spirits sector, contributing to over $4.2 billion in new investments and more than 1,800 full-time jobs for Kentuckians.

In 2022, Gov. Beshear announced $75 million in ARPA funding to boost the state’s tourism industry and economy. Previously, the Governor dedicated $5.3 million in federal funding to 103 tourism and destination marketing organizations in 88 Kentucky counties.

Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced more than 1,000 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling over $31.7 billion in announced investments, creating approximately 53,300 jobs. This is the highest investment figure secured during the tenure of any governor in the commonwealth’s history.

Pikeville joins Berea, Burkesville, Campbellsville, Cave City and Horse Cave, Columbia, Dawson Springs, Elizabethtown, Elkhorn City, the Harlan County Tri-Cities of Cumberland, Benham and Lynch, Hazard, Hyden, Irvine and Ravenna, Jamestown, Liberty, Livermore, Livingston, London, Manchester, McKee, Morehead, Morgantown, Munfordville, Olive Hill, Park City, Royalton, Slade and Stearns as Kentucky Trail Towns.

For more information on Kentucky State Parks, visit For more information on exploring Kentucky’s great outdoors, including Kentucky Trail Towns, visit