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Dawkins Line Rail Trail is a 17.5 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Paintsville, Kentucky that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 17.5 mi Elevation gain 1,059 ft Route type Point to Point
Dogs on leash Kid friendly Backpacking Hiking Horseback riding Mountain biking Nature trips Road biking Walking Bike touring Bird watching Running Forest Rails trails Views Wild flowers
Description
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Getting There

Most recently a coal-hauling line owned by the R.J. Corman Equipment Company, the railroad corridor was originally constructed in the early 1900s by the Dawkins Lumber Companyhence the trail's nameto transport timber. The trail crosses eastern Kentucky's striking Appalachian region, home to the highest biodiversity in North America. The rail-trail passes historical coal structures and traverses a tunnel and 24 scenic trestles. It is also the site of a national forest and state park. Among the most unique features of this area, in fact, is the elk viewing. The rail-trail will accommodate hikers, horseback riders and cyclists and serve as an adventure tourism attraction. In the future, the trail will extend farther west into Breathitt County.

Dawkins Line Rail Trail HWY 825 Swamp Branch, KY 41240 Phone: 502-564-8110

The Dawkins Line Rail Trail is most easily accessed off State Route 825 approximately 1 mile west of Mill Creek Road in rural Johnson County.

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Reviews (37)
Photos (22)
Recordings (20)
Completed (36)
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Whitney Johnson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 5, 2020
Mountain biking

Some parts are nice. Some parts have ankle biter dogs that chase you through the trailer park.

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Austin S
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 14, 2020
Mountain bikingOver grownRocky

Information across the internet is pretty out of date. From what I can tell, the full 36 miles is finished except the Tiptop tunnel. That was extremely hard to find as most official sites don't seem to have been updated in years. This trail is a good idea in need of attention. Kentucky really needs more of these longer multiuse trails as the drivers in this state are the most reckless and selfish I've every experienced while the landscape can be breathtaking. However, this trail needs some serious reevaluation. It runs right through people's yards (dodging kid's flipflops and pudding cups, looking through windows, smelling dirty dog kennels) and ends up blending with their drive ways in places. You'll be looking at literal garbage, feces, and litter as much as nature. Some natural barriers to block views, better division of road/driveway vs trail, etc would go a long way. The local horse users can't seem to follow rules or respect others. I've literally never experienced so much fecal matter or hoof damage on a trail. There are far too many anti vehicle barriers, apparently because the locals couldn't keep ATVs off of it. You will probably be chased by an angry dog or five despite all the signage. There are major issues with rail conditions as well. Some sections are loaded with gravel filled pot holes that, similar to sand, will bring a bike to a near stop. Others that are covered in something between what the gravel cycling community calls cat 3 and cat 4 gravel. There are heavily rutted sections and grass covered sections. Crushed limestone trails are supposed to be almost asphalt easy for bikes, but this trail really requires a gravel or mountain bike. If I wanted to mountain bike, I'd buy one and make use of the insane amount of single track in this state. If they can't be bothered to maintain crushed limestone, they should consider paving: harder to set up and far less pleasant, but it would hold up longer. Plenty of horse trails in this state. I don't think the horses by loosing a whole lot in the big picture. There are some pleasant elements to this trail: occasionally the scenic quality starts to approach the standards set by the Danial Boone NF, there is a very pleasant tunnel that you can pass through, some of the farm animals are entertaining to watch. But, as with most things in this state, the design is haphazard, the managing organization can't be bothered to do it's job with consistency, and the locals can't be bothered to follow rules or respect others. If this is supposed to be the backbone of a ecotourism industry, as many news articles claim it to be, said effort is doomed without some revamping. I'd go back, but purely because you have to leave the state to find another.

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Susie Dueck
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 5, 2020

Did the point to point on this one. started at the trailhead just past the Marathon on State road 1428 all the way to the closed tunnel at the end of the trail head, 24.11 miles one way. Several annoying dogs, some soft gravel spots but otherwise a great way to spend a day. Enjoyed the ride!

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Brian Moskello
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarNovember 17, 2019
Mountain biking

Ok, I don’t write reviews much. Or ever. I’m in Kentucky for work and I brought my bike. I did the whole trail one way and then back. It’s nice. Smooth. Scenic. Quiet. Everything you’d want. What was completely absurd is all the god damn loose dogs at the hillbilly houses that are along the trail. Nearly a dozen times I got chased by a dog. Sometimes two dogs. I’m lucky I’ve been cycling for a long time and I’m strong so I could get away. I wanted to shoot the damn dogs. Maybe it was the time of year? Middle of November. But these degenerates just have their dogs running loose outside their trailers the entire length of the trail. I’m glad I live 15 hours away so I’ll never be tempted to go back.

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Charles Blackman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 31, 2019
Hiking

I used to ride this trail on my road bike. Today my daughter and I hiked it. we did two and a half mile out and then came back to for a total of 5 miles. It is a great trail for introducing kids to trails, now it is an old railroad route, so you never get that in the woods feeling, but again its a great trail for covering the basics for new hikers or if you want to test new shoes or gear. Really no elevation gain. I will hike the entire trail at some point this year. So if you are new to hiking or introducing someone new to hiking, there are worse places you could go. Trail is very distinct and marked well.

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Savannah Henry
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 14, 2018

beautiful bike trail

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Diana Pack
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 9, 2017
Mountain biking

I have biked the entire trail but mainly stay on the Johnson County side. Great, relaxing place for a bike ride. Very pretty and well kept. If you are in Johnson Co riding into Magoffin Co you have a slight uphill incline. The only downfall is dogs like to chase bikes and some people do let their dogs run loose.

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Justin Lewandoski
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 20, 2017
Mountain biking

Nice ride!

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Clayton Johnson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 4, 2017

Love it turned out to be a great trail

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Troy Boring
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 12, 2017

First bike ride since I was a kid. First bike ride intended for 'cycling' or exercise. the uphills were somewhat difficult for a first time rider but someone with moderate experience would have no trouble. beautiful views.

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Elena Tate
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 2, 2016
Mountain biking

Nice ride. There was a lot to see from scenery to man made things like the tunnel.

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Alan Bourne
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 2, 2016
Mountain biking

Beautiful bike ride through interesting country. I loved the tunnel.

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John Plummer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 10, 2015

great for beginners. plenty of scenery. a tunnel to go through about 13 miles in. the views are bland though from the hagerhill trail head though. I recommend starting at the swamp branch trail head. it is at about the 9mile point.

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Pam Rowland
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 4, 2014
Walking

Walked from where the trail begins in Hager Hill to the Denver Post Office. Trail is well maintained, very easy, several nice bridges. Makes for an easy walk or bike ride.

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Linda Castle Caudill
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 4, 2014
Walking

Walked about 4 miles of this trail, follows the railroad tracks, crosses several wooden bridges, also good for bicycles.

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Michael Ward
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 3, 2014
Road biking

good trail lots of nice people I road this trail on a bmx bike

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John Plummer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 11, 2013
Mountain biking
First to Review

trail is currently only half done at 17 miles as of 8/11/2013. Good ride though. many bridges and plenty of country side to view. Easy enough for beginners to ride yet enjoyable enough for more advance riders. This is also a horse trail for horse riders.

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Bryan Fields
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 25, 2020
Mountain biking
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Bryan Fields
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Mountain biking
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Bryan Fields
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 14, 2020
Road biking
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Chrystal King
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Hiking
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Bryan Fields
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Hiking
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Bryan Fields
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 17, 2019
Mountain biking
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Shelby Meade
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Horseback riding
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Karen Conn
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Hiking
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Kellan Adams
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Hiking
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Bryan Fields
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 2, 2019
Mountain biking
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Samantha Walker
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Hiking
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Catherine Castle
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