We want to share what we as Clay Countians have known all our lives, as there is no place in the world like our Clay County. We want the rest of the world to discover the backcountry of Clay County; the Gateway to the Elk & Redbud Capitals of Kentucky and the Land of Swinging Bridges!
Camp, hike, bike, paddle, ATV or horse ride and learn about our rich Appalachian history and culture along the way. Picnic and play at our parks, golf at Big Hickory Golf Course, view our abundant wildlife and weathered barns on scenic country drives or navigate hundreds of miles along our many trail systems.
Step back in time with our historic towns and old swinging bridges. Come explore the beautiful Appalachian Mountains, the towns of Manchester and Oneida, Daniel Boone Forest and Bert T. Combs Lake & Recreational Park. Stay for a day or week where new adventures await and memories last a lifetime.
Clay County has three main rivers: Goose Creek, Redbird and South Fork.
The Goose Creek River starts a few miles south of Manchester and runs through downtown Manchester. The Goose Creek runs into Oneida where it meets the Redbird River. The Goose Creek River with its’ many twists and turns create about 30+ miles of kayaking and canoeing. It has some of the best muskie fishing in the state.
The Redbird River runs right through the heart of the Redbird Ranger District. It also has 30+ miles of kayaking, canoeing and fishing. The Redbird runs into Oneida where it meets the Goose Creek River. These two rivers come together to form the South Fork of the Kentucky River.
The South Fork River runs through Clay County into Owsley County, with 20+ miles before you enter Owsley County. The South Fork River has wide banks and creates a perfect river for spending a lazy day tubing, hitting the narrows on a kayak, paddling a canoe or john boat for a relaxing day of fishing.
Miles of trails in the Daniel Boone National Forest and Beech Creek Wildlife Management Area, you will experience nature at its best.
The Equestrian Trail offers breathtaking views, wildlife and several picnic areas with amenities for both you and your horses. There are picnic tables and trash receptacles for you as well as hitching posts and natural springs to water your horses.
Our trails range from easy to extreme with an abundance of wildlife to view and a population of Elk that is plentiful. It is very common to see herds of Elk as you ride through the mountains of Clay County. Come to Clay County for your next ATV vacation, where new adventures await and memories last a lifetime.
Biking and Hiking
Manchester’s unique park system is connected by a riverside trail of serene beauty. The River Walk Trail begins on the north end of Rawlings/Stinson Park and ends at the south end at Goose Creek Salt Works. The trail is anchored at the north by the famous Red Bird Petroglyp and it follows the route of the Warrior’s Path created by buffalo and then used by Native Americans as well as explorers including Dr. Thomas Walker and Daniel Boone.
Begin your journey at the north end of town in Rawlings/Stinson Park and follow the River Walk Trail to enjoy a scenic walk, hike or bike along Goose Creek. Pass by the Goose Creek Swinging Bridge or enjoy an exciting diversion by crossing the footbridge that leads to the historic town of Manchester. This fascinating relic of Appalachian heritage has been lovingly restored to offer a piece of history for both locals and visitors to enjoy. This will lead to the Heritage Pavillion in Downtown Manchester with interpretive history signs and Clay County’s Cultural Murals. Just past the bridge lies Riverside Park overlooking Goose Creek, once used to transport salt on 60-foot barges during “salt tides” – so called spring and winter floods.
At the end of the trail is Goose Creek Salt Works Pioneer Village, where the first county government formed in a cabin like the Cotton Cabin, one of the oldest log structures in Kentucky. Interpretive signs depict the fascinating history of Clay County. An outdoor stage is home to Appalachian concerts and events at the mouth of the Y-Hollow Trailhead.
Don’t let your adventure end there! Take a hike or bike into the Y-Hollow, where you will find the Main Trailhead for Manchester and Clay County.