Insider’s guide 2021 harlan county – where the adventure begins – harlan enterprise

Thank you for visiting Harlan County, Kentucky, where the adventure begins!

Black bears roar as you ascend Kentucky’s tallest mountains on an ATV, and the wind chops as you soar above the treetops on the Black Mountain Thunder Zipline. Visit us and step back in time with our tour of the Portal 31 Exhibition Mine or the Kentucky Coal Mine Museum in the Tri-City area.

Here you will discover the many unique opportunities that our county has to offer, but to fully experience Harlan you must visit us!

Since opening to the public in October 2005, Black Mountain Off-Road Adventure Area has been the # 1 and fastest growing adventure destination in Southeast Kentucky and surrounding areas.

Located in the scenic mountains of Harlan County and the birthplace of adventure tourism, we are your one-stop destination for fun.

Here, you’ll climb the highest elevations that any Kentucky off-road park has to offer. The trails in the Black Mountain Off-Road Adventure Area were created from surface mining and logging roads and offer a variety of experiences and levels of difficulty.

The majority of Black Mountain’s trails are multi-use trails and open to all types of vehicles, including ATVs, side-to-side vehicles, off-road motorcycles, trucks, jeeps, and strollers. Some trails are reserved for the use of ATVs or off-road motorcycles. Some of the amenities at our ATV park include:

Open all day, all year

Over 150 miles of marked and marked trails

Approximately 7,000 acres of mountainous terrain

Elevations up to 3,300 feet high

Detailed trail maps available

Mountain biking trails for beginners, intermediates and extremes

Levels one to five trails and obstacles 4 × 4

Two practical trail departures located in Evarts and Putney

Minutes from rental cabins, RV hookups and other amenities

Lowest rates nationwide

For more information on the Black Mountain Off-Road Adventure Zone, please visit or call the trailhead at 606-837-3205.

You can also call the tourist office at 606-573-4495.

Experience breathtaking views of the majestic Appalachian Mountains on a 2-hour canopy tour at the Black Mountain Thunder Zipline.

Completed in August 2011, Black Mountain Thunder is the newest addition to Black Mountain Off-Road Adventure Area. Our zipline is Kentucky’s tallest, fastest, and longest canopy tour.

Once you are transported to the top of the canopy tour, you’ll embark on a packed tour of over two miles of cable and up to 60mph. At 400 feet, our zipline is the tallest in Kentucky, and you’ll fly over magnificent treetop canopies.

Reservations are required, so call 606-837-3205 today to make your reservation or inquire for more information.

Portal No. 31 Underground Mine Tour offers visitors the unique experience of touring an old coal mine by wagon.

Here, visitors will experience a coal mine while enjoying lively exhibits throughout the tour, which chronicle how coal helped shape not only Kentucky, but the world from the early 1900s to the present day.

This metro ride takes around 45 minutes and you should plan to be there 15-20 minutes before your visit.

Before you begin, be sure to explore the exterior of Portal 31, where a black granite monument stands in tribute to John L. Lewis, the longtime president of the United Mine Workers. You will also find a memorial to US Steel District # 1 miners who died in mining accidents.

A 1920s lamppost, public baths, L&N train depot and loading system can be found at Portal 31, in addition to the other historical monuments mentioned above.

You can also take a walking tour of the site that includes signage explaining the history of the Portal 31 mining complex.

Portal 31 RV Park is located directly opposite the Portal. With 12 hookups and eight primitive parking spaces, the park adds another option for local accommodation. The park offers a sewer dump station for coaches and RVs, and hookups for cable TV.

Reservations for this unique tour are strongly recommended. For more information or to book, contact Portal 31 office at 606-848-3131.

You can also contact the Harlan Tourist Office with any questions you may have at 606-573-4156.

Visitors to the Kentucky Coal Mine Museum can enjoy a step back in time to the coal miner’s workplace, home and community.

The museum is housed in the former commissary built by International Harvester in the 1920s and features four stores with exhibits on the history of mining and the life of the coal miner.

Artifacts, antiques, photographs and machines make up more than 30 exhibits. The museum houses a diverse collection of artifacts exploring the early years of industrial coal mining in Kentucky. Permanent exhibits include the Loretta Lynn exhibit and the Mock Mine exhibit.

By visiting the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum, you can see the floor plan of a typical underground coal mine. The display shows all aspects of a coal mine, including landfill and other mining activities.

Visitors can have their photo taken outside the building next to the two-ton block of coal that was specially cut for the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum.

Children will also enjoy climbing on the 1940’s model electric locomotive. It was used to transport miners inside the mine. You can see other heavy machinery used in ‘black diamond’ mining.

The museum offers a comprehensive picture of life revolving around the coal industry. Visitors to the museum can see the process detailing the formation of coal by viewing several visuals and exhibits of fossils. A commented video describes the early days of coal mining in Benham and Lynch.

Other exhibits include items from the company hospital, early mining tools, items from the commissioner and miner’s house, and a working scale model of a coal tip . A collection of photographs documenting the history of Benham – mining accidents, new buildings, people, etc. – can also be seen.

Harlan is located in a quaint mountain community and offers a plethora of outdoor adventures dotted with natural beauty.

While in town, a visitor can take the time to reconnect with nature by hiking some of our trails at Blanton Forest, which protects 3,124 acres of old growth and secondary forests.

As one of the 13 great expanses of ancient forest that survives in the eastern United States, the Blanton Forest is a diverse ecological treasure. Most trees are 3 to 4 feet in diameter and rise 100 feet above the forest floor.

You can also hike at Kingdom Come State Park which sits near the Kentucky-Virginia border on the ridge of Pine Mountain. The park is the tallest state park in Kentucky and offers unparalleled panoramic views. Extraordinary rock formations are featured in this park, including Log Rock, a natural sandstone bridge, and Raven Rock, a giant monolith that rises 290 feet in the air at a 45-degree angle.

You can also check out the Pine Mountain Settlement School or even the Martins Fork Wildlife Management Area for other hiking trails.

For more information call the Harlan Tourism Office at 606-573-4495 or visit us on the web at

Comments are closed.