Trail

McConnell Springs

Lexington, KY
Length: 0.50 mi.
Type: Lollipop

About This Trail

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*Rock Bridge Road Closed for Winter*

 

McConnell Springs is a 26-acre nature Sanctuary that is part of Lexington, Kentucky’s park system. This is the perfect all access trail and toddler hike. The park includes a ½ mile paved loop and 2 miles of dirt/woodchip trails as well as an education center. This park holds important historical meaning to Lexington as well as its springs. It contains a complex system of natural springs that has artesian springs that come above ground, flow; disappear below ground, only to emerge above ground again. The park is also home to an over 250 year old Bur Oak, native plant and animal species, and a natural play area for children.

The parking lot is directly in front of the Nature Center and is open from 9am—5pm Monday – Saturday and 1pm-5pm on Sundays. You may hike the park when the parking lot and education center are not open; you will just have to park on the street before the parking lot and walk in.

 

When you walk into the park, you will go into a covered area with picnic tables on the right and the education center on the left. Please make sure you sign in. It helps them keep track of the number of visitors and see if a visitor is still in the park when they need to close the gates. The education center is a great spot to either use as a spot to layer up or warm up in the winter, or cool off in the summer. The education center contains a number of exhibits, tools, and toys to teach children about the local plant and fauna. Just after the education center on the left, a fabricated pond houses one to two of their painted slider turtles during the summer time. On the right, you will see a tree log that is perfect for children to climb and explore. Continue along the paved path to the lean-to and cabin further ahead on the right, or take the left hand side dirt path to more picnic tables and then the amphitheater on the way to the pond.

The paved pathway is a big loop, except for the section that leads to the pond and the Bridge to Nowhere, which is an out and back path. The pond is home to lots of native species (plant and fauna) and the boardwalk and bridge is always a favorite among the kids who spend time looking for the frogs, turtles, ducks, and geese. The bridge stops in the middle of the pond with a bench so that you can sit and enjoy the view.

Head to the right (the opposite direction from the pond) and you will come to a junction where the loop starts. Going to the left is the quicker way to get to the trails and the natural play area. Heading straight/right will take you on the loop starting with the springs.

 

The first spring you will come upon will be on the right called the Blue Hole. An information board describes how the spring created. The Blue Hole is a 15-foot deep conical basin that is a deep blue color. From there, you will follow the paved pathway onto an elevated boardwalk along the creek that flows from the springs to where the springs disappear back underground. Keep continuing along the paved pathway and the spring will reemerge at The Boils. If you hike after rain, you will see the spring look like it is boiling. Do not worry, the water is not boiling hot, it’s actually quiet chilly.  Continue along the paved pathway following the flowing spring waterway. Soon you will come across a dirt/woodchip trail on the right with a sign pointing down the trail for the Final Sinkhole. This is an out and back trail. All terrain strollers can go along this trail, but only to a point. The offshoot trail on the right hand side leads down to the water’s edge and a bench. It is a great area that they kids can explore. Be warned, it can be very muddy and swampy, especially if it has rained recently. The trail crosses over a small bridge and in this spot, it would not be recommended going further with a stroller. Once over the bridge, the trail will pass a bench and head a bit down a steep downhill. You are able to see the springs flowing to a cave like structure where the springs disappear underground again. There are drop offs here, so keep an eye on children at the edges.

There is a dirt trail immediately after the trail for the final sink hole that leads up to the two miles of trails and the Bur Oak. It is a bit of a steep hill. If you decide to go up this trail, you may miss the natural play area. Continue on the paved trail and you will come across the of farm foundation on the left and within that, the natural play area created out of large logs meant for climbing on and exploring. There is another opportunity to head up to see the Bur Oak tree right after the natural play area. Otherwise, you will continue along the pathway to the left of the pond and finish the loop

 

One could possibly head up to the Bur Oak with an all-terrain stroller. The second pathway up to the Bur Oak is not as steep as the first hill. The Bur Oak is over 250 years old, left over from when this area was an Oak Savannah. Now, it is too heavily shaded for the oak tree seedlings to grow. The massive oak tree will be on the left and marked with a plaque. Continue down the trail for more hiking. The right side of a junction heads down to the paved pathway, or you can take the longer route and keep hiking by following the trail, which will wind back to where you will walk along the pond opposite of the Bridge to Nowhere. The closer to the pond you get in the spring, the more you need to keep an eye on where your feet step due to baby turtle crossings. The earlier in the morning, the more likely you are to see deer throughout the park.

 

Links to more information:

https://www.lexingtonky.gov/mcconnell-springs-park

http://www.mcconnellsprings.org

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McConnell_Springs_Park

McConnell Springs Trails

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Trail Features

Surface type Mixed
Carrier needed No
Stroller friendly Yes
ADA accessible Yes
Water fountains Yes
Bathrooms No
Cell reception Excellent
Pet friendly No
Nearby convenience store No
Camping Nearby No
Emergency support
within 5 miles
Yes

Trail highlights

Creek / River, Natural Play Area, Picnic Area, Shaded Hike, Shelter, Visitor Center, and Wildlife Viewing

Natural Springs
250 + year old Bur Oak
Historic Landmark
Pond

Fee & Parking Details

Fee : $0.00

There is a medium sized parking lot just outside of the Education/Nature Center. If arrive prior to opening time or will be there after closing time, please park on the road outside of the parking lot, prior to the gates.

Trail Contributor

[Total: 0    Average: 0/5]

Keira has always been an active outdoors person, either through her love of hiking or riding horses. She is a mom of 2 boys, a pre-schooler and baby. She and her husband, Jon, can be found exploring trails in Red River Gorge as well as traveling the US and trying to visit all the National Parks with their boys. They have a family goal of section hiking the Sheltowee Trace Trail with their boys.

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About The Guide

Hike it Baby Family Trail Guide is an online resource to help families with children source trails that little legs can hike and parents can feel comfortable with. Hike details are sourced and have been hiked by families who participate in our community. Our contributors do their best to give you all the details they can, but if something is missed, you can reach out to the contributor and offer suggestions for them to add to make it a better trail description for all. This guide was built with a generous 3-year partnership with L.L Bean. Like Hike it Baby, L.L Bean believes that helping get families into nature from birth on is key to healthier, happier communities.