Winter Activities at the Big South Fork

I have said it before and I will say it again: the Big South Fork truly is a four-season park!

The winter season brings various weather conditions to the Cumberland Plateau. One week may be sunny and in the 50s while the next week could be well below freezing, covered in a beautiful blanket of snow.

With that said, there are many fun ways to get out and enjoy the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area during the winter months.

group of people hiking in the snow during winter near a stream

Winter Hiking

Most winter days at the Big South Fork are in the mid 40s to mid 50s. If you're lucky enough to be visiting after the park is covered in a beautiful blanket of snow, then do yourself the favor of getting out and doing some winter hiking. You'll experience the park in a whole new way that most tourists never get to see! To make the best of your hike, we suggest that you call one of the local hiking guides for an unforgettable winter hiking experience.

The Polar Express Train Ride

Experience the famous story of The Polar Express like never before: onboard the Big South Fork Scenic Railway! Once a year, the train that takes you through the scenic mountains of Southern Kentucky goes all out and transforms itself into the magical story. Bundle up the entire family in their warmest PJ's and board The Polar Express Train Ride. Enjoy getting your ticket punched, fresh hot chocolate, and a night your family will never forget! (Don't forget to arrive early so your children can write a letter to Santa before boarding the train to the North Pole!)


You'll want to stay near the heart of it all during winter months. Laurel Fork Rustic Retreat boarders the Big South Fork and offers affordable cabins rentals with features that include cozy fireplaces, hot tubs, and easy access to some of the park's best trails.

Check Availability and book your winter stay today!

Photo via National Park Service

Photo via National Park Service

Become a Junior Ranger

Take your children on a winter scavenger hunt at the Bandy Creek Visitor Center. This fun and unique activity allows kids to earn their very own Big South Fork Junior Ranger badge. You can pick up a Junior Ranger Booklet at one of the park's visitor centers or download it here.

person riding a horse through the snow during winter

Winter Horseback Riding

Even though fall is the most popular season for horseback riding, I would have to say winter is a close second! With average temperatures in the mid-upper 40s, people flock to the trails this time of year (especially on sunny days!). Rent one of our many cabins with horse stalls and bring your own horses or call one of the local horseback riding guides for a breathtaking winter riding experience.