Taking to the Trails

Laura Baird, Assistant Preserve Manager

We’re on a constant mission to improve our trail system to make it safer for our trail users, our wildlife, and the land itself. Help us achieve our goals by following some basic trail etiquette on your next trek through our 36-mile trail system.

Trails are hardened with gravel in many parts of the Preserve to provide a safer tread for guests and reduce soil erosion.


  • Call ahead. To protect our trails and our trail users, there will be days when all or part of the trail system is closed. Even when the trails are open, there may be times when parts of the trail are inaccessible due to high water.
  • When you arrive for your hike, pick up a trail map from the Welcome Center. Read trail descriptions carefully and make a plan on which trail(s) you’ll be visiting.
  • Did you bring a dog? We love dogs! But we can only allow them on River Road Trail, Palisades Trail, inside the Historic Village grounds and along paved roads. For the safety of our horseback riders and our wildlife, dogs are not allowed anywhere else on the property. Even when you are in a dog-safe area, dogs must stay on leash at all times.
  • Many of our trails require creek crossings, so prepare to get wet! Avoid low-lying trails during periods of wet weather and carefully watch your children when the creeks are high or surging.
  • Enter the trail system from any of our three trailheads, and check the sign here before you start your journey. There may be announcements posted at trailhead kiosks.
  • Snap a photo of the map, as you may lose your trail map during your visit. Drop a pin! This is useful anytime you park your car- open up Google Maps or Apple Maps on your smart phone and long-press (click and hold for a moment) on your location on the map. Your coordinates will be saved. If you have trouble navigating back to your car, your phone can now help steer you back the right direction.
  • Wear sturdy shoes and bring water, even on a short hike.
Flowers feed wildlife and produce seed for next year’s wildflower display- never pick wildflowers.


  • Pay attention to your surroundings. This is important for your immediate safety, will lower your chances of getting lost, and will help you retrace your steps in the unlikely event that you do get lost.
  • Stay on marked trails. Many areas of the Preserve are inhabited by sensitive plants and animals and every footstep could be damaging.
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles – pick up your trash and take nothing but photographs. This means no picking flowers, collecting bones, moving rocks, etc.
  • Don’t disturb wildlife. This is their home – you’re only visiting! Keep your distance and keep the noise low to ensure a great wildlife-watching experience.
  • Hikers yield to horses, meaning you should step to the side and allow horseback riders to pass when you meet on the trail.
  • Cyclists yield to both hikers and horseback riders. If you happen to be on two wheels during your visit, come to a complete stop and step aside to let other trail users pass.
  • Hikers, horseback riders and cyclists should all be in single-file, not side-by-side, especially when on a narrow, forested trail. This limits damage, makes it easier to stay on trail and allow other users to safely pass if necessary.
  • Don’t sneak up on other trail users- say hello! This is especially important if you find yourself behind a horse on the trail, as horses can startle unexpectedly. Announce yourself calmly and never approach a horse without its rider’s permission.
Stay on trail! Cope’s gray tree frogs are only a couple inches long and could be resting in the grass nearby.


  • Check yourself. Ticks are active year-round in our area.
  • Let us know what you’ve seen on your visit to the Preserve. Tag #shakervillageky in your social media posts.

We’d love for you to join us on our upcoming Walking in Wildflowers trek along the Kentucky River Palisades to view spring ephemeral wildflowers in bloom. And, you can help us keep the Preserve looking pristine by volunteering for Stewardship Saturdays. See you on the trails!

Shaker Village