On one of our days off, Tom and I explored Pine Mountain State Resort Park, about 10 miles north of Middlesboro, Kentucky. Pine Mountain was the first state park in Kentucky, opening in 1924. The state park benefited from construction projects by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s. They built an office building, cabins, roads, bridges, shelters, and created hiking trails.
In the 1960s, the Kentucky State Park System began updating their parks. They constructed a new wing to the lodge, adding 30 more guest rooms. They also built ten additional cottages, a swimming pool, and a golf course.
In addition to the lodge and cabins, Pine Mountain State Resort Park has the Mountain View Restaurant, miniature golf, playgrounds, and picnic areas. There are 12 miles of hiking trails, all located on Pine Mountain.
Tom and I went to Pine Mountain State Resort Park to check it out. We looked at the lodge, perched on the side of the mountain. From the outside, the lodge looks more like a southern plantation house than a mountain lodge. Inside, it is an interesting mix of rustic CCC lodge and 1960’s modern. The restaurant has a great view out over the mountain.
Our main reason to travel to Pine Mountain State Resort Park was to hike the Chained Rock trail. During the 1930s, the people of Pineville, Kentucky decided to create a new tourist attraction. In 1933, a group of people hauled a 101-foot-long chain to the top of Pine Mountain and attached it to a massive boulder that loomed above the town. They said the rock was chained to the mountain in order to keep it from rolling down the mountain and destroying the city. Of course, the chain wouldn’t do anything to prevent the boulder rolling off the mountain, but it makes for a good story.
Tom and I hiked down from an overlook on top of Pine Mountain to the Chained Rock trail. The trail was a lovely walk along a fern-lined path under the shadows of the trees. Once we got to the boulder area, we were able to scramble over rocks to get different viewpoints on the chain. The chain has been replaced several times over the years but remains a constant draw for visitors to the area. Hiking back up to the parking lot was a little more challenging, but all the hikes in the area go one of two directions: up or down.
We enjoyed exploring Pine Mountain State Resort and would recommend it as a place to stay for anyone coming to visit the area.