Jenny Wiley Trail Heritage Byway

The Jenny Wiley Trail Heritage Byway is a 154-mile loop drive, which follows the Kentucky portion of the legendary route taken by Native Americans with their captive Jenny Wiley. This small group followed the Big Sandy River north to its confluence with the Ohio River. Continuing downstream, they unsuccessfully searched for a place to cross the swollen river into Ohio. Unable to cross the mighty river, they journeyed up the Little Sandy River Valley to Dry Fork and across a ridge to Cherokee and Hood Creeks.

Over two hundred years later the landscape along this route has changed tremendously. Cities and small towns have been settled, farms and industries have been established, and highways now run adjacent to these waterways. The Jenny Wiley Trail Heritage Byway is made up of a series of these roadways. The Trail provides you the opportunity to travel this route.

Starting at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park near Prestonsburg, the byway heads north to Paintsville and along US 23 through Ashland to Greenup. From there the byway takes a southerly direction and a much more rural appearance. Take Highway 1 to Grayson, Highway 773 to Hitchins, and back onto Highway 1 to Webbville, then Highway 201 to Blaine and back to US 23 at Painsville to complete the loop.

Along the way there are opportunities to stop and learn about the history and natural resources of the region. Just off US 23 in River, KY is a small community park where one can visit the final resting place of Jenny Wiley. More than 60 miles of trails in the state parks and recreation areas are available for hiking. Camping, picnicking, and other recreational facilities can be found at these public areas. Wildlife viewing abounds at five Watchable Wildlife sites within the byway corridor.

The byway also has a parallel water route on sections of the Big and Little Sandy Rivers, which is accessible by canoe with over 100 miles of navigable water and various access points along the river corridors.

Whichever mode of transportation you decide to use, the Jenny Wiley Trail Heritage Byway allows access to some of the most interesting country in eastern Kentucky. Take plenty of time to follow the route. Visit the historic sites along the way, explore the park lands, lakes and streams to gain a better appreciation of the lifeways and hardships that Jenny Wiley and the pioneers and settlers who came later into Kentucky.


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