Dawkins Line Rail Trail

Trail Map

Description Suggest an Edit

In eastern Kentucky, 19 miles of the planned 36-mile Dawkins Line Rail Trail are open for use. Although only half-finished, the trail has already become the state's longest rail-trail.

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 Company—hence the trail's name—to 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 trail's first phase from Hagerhill to Royalton in rural Johnson and Magoffin Counties opened in June 2013. 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.

Parking and Trail Access

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.


Best Rail Trail in Kentucky

   April, 2014 by crex04

I’ve ridden this trail many times and will ride it many more. The trail is actually very well maintained and the “ditch” a previous poster mentioned has already been taken care of. I will admit the dogs were a minor nuisance throughout the winter months ...read more

Not holding up so well

   April, 2014 by rcsilver

My grandson and I rode 2.2 miles from the Royalton trailhead and returned, vibrated to pieces! The trail would be wonderful if the gravel surface got smoothed after the freeze-thaw ravages of winter. The scenery in great if you have a really good set ...read more

The trail is holding up really well

   February, 2014 by fw707

I was expecting the freezing and thawing to do a lot of damage to the trail, but it looks like the 100 year-old railroad base is holding up just fine so far. I rode about 8 miles out from the east end this evening (just short of the Swamp Branch trailhead) ...read more