Beautiful Hazard, Kentucky

The small town of Hazard (population 4796) serves as the county seat of mountainous Perry County in far Southeastern Kentucky. Located along the scenic North Fork of the Kentucky River in a narrow valley, it lies within the heart of Appalachia.  Visitors will find numerous recreational and cultural activities in this region.

Fingerprints of the past marking the landscape of today

For many years, the rugged surrounding natural area impacted Hazard.  The community remained relatively isolated during much of its early history.

By the first decades of the twentieth century, the development of two industries spurred growth:timber production and coal mining both contributed to the local economy in important ways.  People moved to the town in greater numbers in search of employment.

During the period between 1930 and 1950, the coal industry dominated the local economy.  But devastating floods in 1927, 1939, 1957 and 1963 posed a recurring problem.  Authorities worked to reduce the threat of flooding by constructing a dam and reservoir system which eventually succeeded in protecting Hazard and other nearby communities.

Additionally, enhanced environmental management strategies helped to restore the vitality of many nearby wilderness areas. Today, the scars of past industrial activity have largely healed.

Indeed, the rugged natural scenic wonders of the region offer promise for the expansion of an environmentally friendly tourist industry. Hazard benefits from its location within one of the most beautiful parts of the State of Kentucky!

An overview of Hazard

The community of Hazard winds through the narrow North Fork Kentucky River Valley; parts of the town extend through a fairly wide area. Route 15 offers a central north-south avenue through the center of the community. Local landmarks include Peters Peak along the eastern horizon.

A number of supportive civic groups and volunteer organizations allow Hazard to maintain a thriving social life. The population is large enough to support a vital business section, health care facilities and a country club and associated golf course, and many places of worship.

Hazard Community and Technical College maintains its campus in the community.  This educational facility is located just a short distance south of the main downtown business district.

Tourist attractions

The opportunity to participate in outdoor recreational activities draws many people to the Appalachian Mountain region. Travelers can find a range of accommodations in Hazard and its environs. These include modern hotels and motels, and bed and breakfast establishments.

Visitors will find many things to do in Hazard and the nearby area. Residents of Hazard have been working to further develop Perry County Park, the largest community park in the county. It provides many amenities, including maintained walking and biking trails, a separate skate board area, tennis courts, baseball and softball fields, sheltered picnic facilities and a stage area for outdoor concerts.

Music—especially country and folk music —constitutes an important cultural aspect of life in Appalachia. Many talented musicians reside within the local area. The community of Hazard sponsors frequent cultural and civic events during the year which allow visitors to attend performances by local choirs and other musical groups.

Nearby attractions

Visitors may also take day trips from Hazard to visit the nearby Daniel Boone National Forest located just ten miles to the west.  The vast area offers plentiful opportunities for outdoor pursuits in wilderness areas. 

A scenic 37 mile drive extends from Hazard to Manchester (population 1951) along the two lane Hal Rogers Parkway. During autumn, this journey offers an good opportunity to observe changing seasonal foliage. Both evergreen and deciduous trees grow within this region.

Two other nearby attractions also draw visitors, especially birding enthusiasts: Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park to the northwest of Hazard (along Route 15 to Route 28), and Carr Creek State Park to the southeast (from Route 15). Both parks provide an opportunity for outdoor fun close to nature.

Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park offers a lodge with dining facilities, in addition to hiking and riding trails, camping spots, picnic sites, and a miniature golf course.  Visitors to the area may enjoy watching and photographing wildlife and bird life in the surrounding forest lands.

Carr Creek State Park also provides many opportunities for outdoor recreation.  The park rents fishing boats and pontoons.  Visitors can camp there, too.  Swimming is available during part of the year in along designated lakeside beach.

In conclusion, the Appalachian Mountains enjoy a well deserved reputation for awesome natural beauty.  Anyone visiting Hazard, Kentucky can appreciate the majesty of this region first hand.