Photo Blog Series: Beautiful Pike County, KY – Larry Epling

The second installment of our photo blog series features Larry Epling, a long time photographer and supporter of local tourism here in Eastern Kentucky. Epling has volunteered his photography skills and many hours to Pike County Tourism CVB over the past several years, capturing not only special events such as Hillbilly Days and Hatfield and McCoy Heritage Days, but also Pike County’s natural beauty. Many of the photos featured in our tourist material are courtesy of Epling.

Check out Epling’s gallery below, and feel free to reach out to him for not only photography services, but drone photography as well.

Larry Epling Gallery

Larry Epling – Appalachian Artist

Epling is open for photography commissions, as well as drone photography. Take a look.

Licensed Drone Operator
Subjects: Aerial Photography, Nature, Architecture, Scenics, Culture, Tourism
Website: Click here
E-mail: Click here
Phone: 606 653-2005
Instagram: Click here

Photo Blog Series: Beautiful Pike County, KY – Chuck Henson

This is the first installment of a series of photo blog posts we are making showcasing beautiful Pike County, Kentucky. As is true about our musical talent, the Eastern Kentucky region is ripe with photographers who are, in our humble opinion, among the best in the country. As with any art form, photography requires not only patience and technical knowledge, but also an eye for color and the perfect angle.

Each post will feature a different photographer from our region, highlighting some of the rustic, natural beauty Appalachia is known for. If you like what you see, feel free to reach out to the photographer for commissions. Their information is posted below.

This collection reflects some of Chuck Henson’s work. Henson is not only a photographer, but is also a valued member of Pike County’s hospitality industry.

Chuck Henson Gallery

This selection of photographs is drawn from Chuck Henson’s “A Walk At Grapevine” series. Also featured is a beautiful black and white photo of the Fordson Building, home of the Stone Heritage Museum in Stone, Kentucky.

C.D. Henson Photography

For more information on Chuck Henson, his photography and commission inquiries:

Subjects: Nature, Architecture, Scenics, Culture
Website: Click here
Facebook Page: Click here

5 “Social Distancing” Friendly Things to Do in Pikeville/Pike County, KY

Photo taken by Mary Reed Runyon near Nolan WV at the Martin County/Pike County, KY border.

Due to increased regulations concerning COVID-19, Pike County Parks has been temporarily shut down.

Given our current situation in dealing with COVID-19, community members and visitors are becoming increasingly more afraid of going outside, let alone traveling. While Kentucky governor Andy Beshear has been adamant that Kentuckians and our visitors take the utmost precautions in limiting contact with others, small groups gatherings, and so forth, he, along with the Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism also realize the potential ramifications of total seclusion. Complete quarantine (locking yourself in your house) is not advisable for those who show no signs of illness, and can, in fact, have negative mental health consequences.

So what can you do for recreation while also being responsible? Here are five suggestions for “social distancing” friendly things to do in Pikeville/Pike County, Kentucky. Keep in mind that these suggestions are subject to any mandates made by the local, state and federal government concerning COVID-19.

1) Cruisin’ Pike County’s Winding, Wonderful Roads

Way back in the day, Crusin’ was a highlight for families on a Sunday afternoon, or love birds who just wanted to enjoy some alone time together. With gas prices being at an all-time low, it’s time to load up the family, or take your special someone on a cruise through the winding, beautiful mountains of Eastern Kentucky. Just about anywhere you go in Pike County, there is roads that go through breathtaking scenery. Parks such as Breaks Interstate Park, Jenny Wiley State Park, or Grants Branch Park in Stone, Kentucky make perfect stopping points for lunch or dinner.

2) Enjoy the Great Outdoors with Our Lakes and Parks

Photo by Chuck Summers

Speaking of Lakes and Parks, the great outdoors gives you plenty of social distancing and alone time to gather your thoughts. There are a wealth of stress relieving activities that you can do in our beautiful parks, such as hiking, biking, fishing, sight-seeing and more. As mentioned above, Breaks Interstate Park, Jenny Wiley State Park, and Grants Branch Park are all excellent choices for going on an adventure. 

3) Take A Stroll Down Historic Downtown Pikeville

Sometimes you just need to take a calm, peaceful walk. Historic Downtown Pikeville is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll, featuring the Pikeville City Park, the Pikeville Lake (also a perfect spot for fishing), a swinging bridge, and several mom-and-pop restaurants that offer take out and curb-side. While in the City Park, remember to practice social distancing (6 feet), and take the opportunity to wash your hands thoroughly in the restroom facilities. Downtown Pikeville and the nearby bypass road are very popular locations for 5k runs, so instead of barring yourself in your house, maybe some exercise is just what you need.

Fallen Officers Memorial, Downtown Pikeville, KY

4) Dine out with Curb Side & Carry Out

During this difficult time, it is important that we support our locally owned restaurants. It can be easy to get caught up in all these headlines and forget to support the businesses that enrich our community. Many of our locally owned restaurants offer take-out and curb side delivery of lunch and dinner. Our mom-and-pops are counting on us, and who doesn’t love the unique and delicious flavor they bring?

5) Horseback Riding at the Pike County Horse Trail

Pike County Horse Trail in Lick Creek, KY

Have a horse? We have the trail for you. Located in Lick Creek, the Pike County Horse Trail provides you all the social distancing you need with a relaxing ride through the ruggedly gorgeous mountains of Pike County. With a rustic camping area for parking your hauler, as well as a public restroom for keeping those hands washed, the Pike County Horse Trail has everything that you need to enjoy a ride through the Appalachian mountains.

We here at Pike County Tourism CVB are optimistic that the COVID-19 pandemic will pass, and many of our cancelled events will be rescheduled for a later date. In the meantime, we encourage you to do all you can to be safe and responsible, and to be sure to get the exercise your mind, body and soul needs during this stressful time.  

Note: Please follow local, state and federal guidelines for travel before participating in any of the above suggested activities.

Hatfield McCoy Powersports Spring 2019 Ride the Ridge

Come join us for Hatfield McCoy Motor Sports Spring Ride the Ridge event on May 4th, 2019. Enjoy the hospitality, big savings and prizes.

Ride Details
The ride will be leaving the HMMS Complex, located just off KY US 119 in Belfry, KY at 10:00 a.m. on the morning of 5/4/19 and return back there at 3:00 p.m. for lunch, prizes and some giveaways.

Last year’s event featured a great turnout and excellent riding. Be sure to show up for this great event!

Taste of the Trails

The Taste of the Trails is an off road trails riding experience that will depart from the Hatfield McCoy Trails located in the Trail Towns of Williamson and Gilbert, WV around 8:30 a.m. on the morning of April 6th, 2019.

These monthly off-road trail riding experiences are scheduled to take place on the first full weekend of each month during our primary riding seasons. The rides will return back to the rider’s destination of choice by 6:30 p.m. on that same day. These events are tentatively planned to be monthly guided SxS and ATV touring events.

Each ride will wind their way through the Hatfield McCoy Trails System into to the historic town of Matewan, West Virginia. From there, the riders will enter into the historic feud area of the Hatfields and McCoys on the Kentucky side of the Tug. A short break is planned in Matewan and McCarr for fuel and lunch before the ride continues onto Pike County KY’s sister trail system for the remainder of the afternoon.

While in Kentucky, riders will visit several historic Hatfield and McCoy Feud sites, then toward the end of the day rider will have the option of returning back to any one of number of participating lodging and dinning destination for an evening of fun-filled adult entertainment which features some of this region’s finest food and beverages.

Throughout the day and into the evening hours our guests will experience all that Southern West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky has to offer from its world class trails systems to the area’s rich history and heritage, featuring spectacular mountain and river views.

For those who plan to stay over and ride the following day, you will be on your own or you can book a local guide for your next big adventure.


Each participant will need to secure the proper riding credentials as well as follow any local rules of operations for each event.

Riders can find general riding information for the WV Operations at any participating HMTS location as well as on their web site at

You can also contact Wes Wilson, Director of the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce for more information about this and other events in the Valley. Wes contact info is 304-235-5240. You can also reach out to the CVB’s.

The Ellis family who operate Trail 12, Mountain Top Adventures and Twin Hollow Resort will be you best contact for the Greater Gilbert area. Their work number is 304-664-9859 cell is 304-784-8866.

You can also contact Juan at the Matewan Depot and Welcome Center for additional information for the greater Matewan area at 304-426-5744.

Jim Bevins, PCFC Trails Coordinator, can be contacted by text or cell at 606-454-0004, Jim will be happy to address any questions regarding the WV or KY portion of these events.

Additional Ride Plans

As for the trails we plan to ride in KY, riders can access several ridge lines, hollows, valleys and drainages along KY Hwy 1056, 319, 199, 3419, 194, 632 and 2059.

This area includes the communities of Blackberry, Burnwell, Aflex, Hardy, Belfry, Stone, Pond Creek, Ballfork, Pounding Mill, Neatley, Kemper, Freeburn, Phelps, Majestic Lookout, Jamboree, Knox Creek and Elk Creek.

Most if not all of those areas lead directly or indirectly into 4 major Hatfield McCoy Trails and Trail Heads associated with the HMTS in Gilbert, Matewan and Williamson.

On the WV side we plan to utilize HMTS trails located on Buffalo Mt, Devil Anse, Rock House and Bear Wallow along WV Hwy 119, 52, 44, 65 & 49.

Riders who only want to participate in specific portions of the ride can rendezvous with the group as need in progress. A suggestions for doing this is to connect as we go past one of the major towns or trail heads as well as some of the parks. Another suggestion would be to do so around lunch time, which should be somewhere in the neighborhood of the 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. time frame in and around the town of Matewan and the Buskirk Mini Mall.

Please keep in mind that while riders can join the ride in progress each rider is responsible for securing and wearing the proper riding attire and credentials for whatever trail system they plan to ride that day.

There are several parks on the KY side of the river such as the Paw Paw Tree Site, Hatfield McCoy Park, The Hog Trail Site and The McCoy Homestead & Well when and where folks can join the ride. Most all of these sites are located along KY 1056 and KY 319 between the communities of Belfry, KY and Matewan, WV.

Also please note that at the time of this post there is no Kentucky related trails web page for this event nor is there any public maps available to the general public at this point in time for the KY portion of these rides.

In the absence of this information, we’ll continue to utilize the Pike County Trails FB Page to communicate any and all trails related developments, information and events to the general public.

Please make sure you save the date and plan to attend one of these exciting monthly events as we roll them out. We’ll plan to see you there, in fact it should be a hoot and the start of a great season of outdoor events!

In the interim if anyone should have questions, comments or concerns you should address those to the attention of Jim Bevins, PIke County Trails Coordinator, at 606-454-0004.