The Great Outdoors! – Asbury University
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The Great Outdoors!

Enjoy God’s creation to the fullest and try out a simpler lifestyle… for real, or for Instagram.

Admit it, at one point we all want to drop the burdens of daily life and go live in nature, delve deeper into our passions, and naturally smile when we wake up without coffee. This is probably not realistic. Although, in the beautiful landscapes of Kentucky, you can get into that natural beauty without much effort and without venturing too far from Asbury’s campus. With scenic hiking trails, calming water views, cave exploration opportunities, and safe camping locations, the simple outdoor life isn’t just a possibility, but a necessity to experiencing Kentucky. And it’s key to de-stressing from college life once in a while.


Free of work for the weekend (I know, crazy, right?). Staring at the walls of your dorm, you want something more alive, something inspiring. You start scrolling on TikTok, only to find that the recent trend is the outdoorsy/adventure/carefree vibe. You need aesthetic, nature social media content…quick! And some fresh air with it.

Lucky for you, Kentucky is one of the most beautiful places to spend time outdoors. I would know. I’ve escaped to the quiet of the woods often with my recent entry into adulthood. The surrounding area gives you many opportunities to bask in nature on both land and water. In fact, Asbury sits within minutes of the Kentucky River and its jaw dropping Palisades. Just watch your step.

If you’re in a pinch and need a quick outdoor fix, Asbury has various trails located both on and off campus. About a one-minute drive from the dorms are more than two miles of beautiful Asbury Trails that showcase towering rock formations and bluffs, various endangered species, and eventually dips down into the Kentucky River. The hiking is fantastic at these trails, with others going to the river for paddleboarding, canoeing and kayaking. There are ample opportunities like this, easy to do in an afternoon from Wilmore.

Looking for a kiss of nature just a bit further away? In the lively Daniel Boone National Forest about an hour east, Red River Gorge is a key destination for hikers, campers, water lovers, rock climbers, zipliners, or those looking for a scenic getaway that they’ll most likely exploit for social media if they’re being honest. You aren’t alone! There are even cute cabins to rent! Other activities that you can do at the Gorge include fishing, tubing, skiing, kayaking in a cave (yes, in a cave), and biking. When you’re there, make sure to try out Miguel’s Pizza, a hip restaurant that many of the outdoor junkies hang out at after a weekend of rock climbing. The place sells stickers and if you’re seen with one, you’re labeled as pretty cool (shhh, it’s an inside secret).

If you’re into caves, the state has a wide variety of renowned parks that’ll satisfy your underground caving craving. Mammoth Cave National Park is a few hours from Asbury and envelopes the world’s longest know cave system. I visited one of the caves on my birthday with a group of friends, and it was a worthwhile experience. Be careful to research the tours before you go because we almost signed up for a four-hour underground caving experience.

Another caving experience is the Louisville Mega Cavern, featuring underground zip lining and aerial ropes courses. During the Christmas season, the cavern decorates the entire cave with stunning decorative lights and festive music that is sure to put you in the Christmas spirit.

I get it. Studying can be stressful, and if you just need to get out of doors, Kentucky is the place. Sling a hammock in the thick of Red River Gorge’s forest if you’ve been there done that on campus already, drop down to Cave Run Lake or Laurel River Lake for a swim or a $5 Dollar General pool floatie ride on a warm weekend (unlike the Northeast where I’m from, you can still get in the lakes around here until September or October!) or roast some s’mores over a fire, and you’ll get stunning views to share on your socials. But more important, you’ll decompress and realize God wasn’t messing around when he made Kentucky.