Pilot Knob

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Kentucky, United States, North America
1411 ft / 430 m
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Pilot Knob
Created On: Feb 3, 2005
Last Edited On: Dec 12, 2006


Pilot Knob is located in the Pilot Knob State Nature Preserve in Clay City, Powell County, Kentucky, managed by Eastern Kentucky University which is located in nearby Richmond, Kentucky (some sources claim the preserve is 648 acres while others state it is 741 acres). The Knob Trail gains 730 feet of elevation over the course of the 1.5 mile (each way) trail. The caprock on the top of the Knob is said to be the place from which Daniel Boone first observed the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky in 1769 (also known as Boone's Overlook).
On the Edge

Pilot knob is one of the highest points in Powell County, and far exceeds any point in the nearby Red River Gorge. There are 6 other hills in Kentucky that share the name Pilot Knob. At the summit is a sandstone caprock and views of three Kentucky regions. From the summit you can see the Blue Grass region, the Knobs region, and the Cumberland Plateau region. However, looking from the caprock it is hard to distinguish the regions. Pilot Knob was once used to make millstones, the brochures located in the kiosk describe the process of making millstones and also creates a map of marked unfinished millstones located along the trail.

Getting There

From Interstate 64 take exit 98 the Bert T Combs Mountain Parkway East towards Campton/Prestonburg.

From the Bert T Combs Moutain Parkway take exit 16 KY 15 towards Clay City/Ervine.

From KY 15 turn right on Brush Creek Road. There is currently a sign for Brush Creek Road but in the event that it disappears it is approximately 3 miles after turning onto KY 15 and is the first right after the church on the left.

Follow Brush Creek Road to the very end where there will be a gravel coldesac (turnaround). You can park in the gravel circle and the trail begins at the back of the circle. Follow the trail and cross the river or dry river bed. Continue on the trail until you locate the Kiosk.


Red Tape

None. Check out the kiosk for more information.

When To Climb

Any time. Fall, winter and spring are best. In summer you have to contend with heat, humidity, insects, and other creatures, the insects and the snakes are by far the worst. In mid to late winter there is likely to be some snow fall but nothing major. The preserve is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Not alone


Camping like hunting is not allowed in the preserve. Whittleton and Middlefork Campgrounds are both located in Powell County. Other camping information as well as other lodging accommodations to include cabins and motels can be found at powellcountytourism.com (follow the lodging link).

External Links