PLACES TO GO ON LAND DESTRESS OUTDOORS HOME PLACES TO GO ON WATER
I thought this
would be a nice day to return to
As you come into the village off US68 you’ll want to park in the main lot (almost straight ahead but a little to the left) and then walk toward the north end. Follow the path you’ll find here as it leads up and around to the craft shop where you’ll sign a waiver form and get a trail map. The last time I was here I was also given a key to take with me to open some of the gates on the property as I went. Today, however, they said that all of them were open and that a key would not be needed.
There are 3 different trailheads out here and from each one of these there are around 12 total miles of trails. In terms of how they relate to Shaker Square itself, trailhead 1 is located about a mile west of the village, trailhead 2 is located just to the northwest of this about 1 ½ miles away, and trailhead 3 – the one I would utilize today – is located immediately on the northeast side. You’ll be able to stay parked where you are to easily reach this one. Access to it is as simple as walking down “main street”, but this and all of the trailheads are also accessible on paved village roads. The bottom line, however, is that I’d definitely recommend a trail map. Things can get quite confusing out here as far as both finding and following the trails.
Just walking to the store to get your map will get you going out here though. It’s just so peaceful! You’ll see many farm animals in the different pens around the grounds too, and the views are right out of a history book. It really is fantastic what they’ve been able to do out here – it’s a real gem.
Today I had
decided to take the River Road Trail which leads down to Shaker Landing on the
Proceeding, I headed up to the main village road after first making sure this was OK. There is an entrance fee for the village, but there is no fee to hike on the trails. I didn’t want to feel I was taking advantage, but it was fine. How’s this for a main street view?!?
Anyway, I took
a right on main and headed all the way to the end where the road seemingly
dropped off to reveal some splendid views down into the farmland of the
gone over be VERY careful. You’ll want to cross over US68 at
this point, and the road is very curvy. There’s a pedestrian
crossing sign, but I wouldn’t take any chances. You have -
and will continue to have - great descending views around this point, marred
only by the power plant in the distance (the location of the
Follow the road
you see after crossing 68 and begin your slow descent toward the
section on cow paths, you’ll soon know you’re on the original road when you
reach the location (it’ll be on the left) of some stone ruins which rise a few
feet high. This was the old gate, or toll house!
Passing this, you’ll soon begin to descend more steeply on a long left
curve down to the river, and you’ll be able to spot the
The last part
down to the landing is along a rock face. You’re walking
directly beside one of
Back to the ladder, however… As mentioned, you’re walking along the old road - but this couldn’t have contained a drop-off! I tried to reconcile this, and came to the conclusion that there must have been a rock fall at some point which necessitated the ladder and might have even led to the re-routing of the road (although this seems much too simplistic – either I’m totally off or there must be more to it than this).
Once having reached the bottomland, I surmised from the dip (visible on the right side below) that the old road had been routed between 2 warehouses. You can still see the foundations of these.
The landing itself still exists, of course. This is where the Dixie Belle riverboat is docked, and they’ll take you out on tours at certain times (check out the link near the top for more info). Once commonplace on the river, I can tell you that having paddled the whole thing, this is the only one left to see (although there is also a sinking one just above lock and dam 10 in Boonesborough). Of note, too, they’ll let you put in here in a canoe or kayak – but only at certain times.
Another note – there was an incredibly intriguing man named Paul Sawyier who lived alone in a boat on the Kentucky River for about 4 years in the early 1900’s painting pictures of river scenes. Well, I’ve not been able to validate it, but I heard or read somewhere that the little brown shed-like structure in the picture above was part of this very vessel.
Y'know - adding
the things I experienced here today to the experiences I had paddling the
Trail? Well, it kind of rings this entire area down here.
I tried to follow it by walking one way, but it ended.
This did, however, enable me to meet one of the kind workers here as well as the
captain of the boat. Both these guys were very gracious in
putting up with my pesky questions. As far as the correct way
to go on that path, it was quickly revealed by the family who had been
picnicking at the table I’d just passed by. They had already
finished eating and were starting their hike. I didn’t want
to appear strange by walking right up behind them, so I tried the other
direction. This took me along a road which ended at what
appeared to be a water intake. I went on past this to the
right to follow a little stream for a while and then came back.
Once emerged, I simply looped back along the
You can head back up to the village on the new road if you want, but I chose to simply head back the way I came, and looking up the rock wall I thought the tiered scene below was interesting…
…and here’s what it would have looked like to the Shakers as they brought things up from the river. In fact, I imagined myself as one of them on the way back. Not nearly as tired as they must have been, I still tried to envision what their ascent might have been like as they anticipated returning to their families at the end of a long, hard day.
When I arrived
back at main street,
Anyway, I started by walking along a road that led north, at first thinking that this might be a path that was wheelchair accessible. Well, that would have been nice, but I don’t think it was the case, because it led me to the tannery house. This is where they originally tanned leather and pumped water back to village. It’s available to lodge in now – and what an idyllic location to do it in! There's a pond too just out of sight to the left in the picture.
From here a series of misadventures ensued, culminating with me finding myself at the back of the village. A sign had pointed the way for Meadow View, but the indication was to follow along a stone fence on a “path” which was completely untrodden. Figuring I must have screwed something up, I kind of just botched it by heading directly back to village. I’ll try this one again, maybe from the opposite direction next time.
I’d say you’ve simply got to come out here sometime – highly recommended! It seems there’s something for everyone at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, including the little lake below where you can relax with the ducks and geese at the end of your hike and let the experience sink in.
The village is located 20 miles southwest of