Nestled in the heart of the Appalachia Mountains, Leslie County is a land blessed by nature. In spring there is the striking beauty of red bud trees in full bloom, in autumn the wonderful colors of fall foliage, and year around breathtaking sunsets seen from ridge tops. Formed in 1878 from parts of Clay, Harlan and Perry Counties, Leslie County was named for Preston H. Leslie, a former governor of the state of Kentucky. Located in the Eastern Coal Fields Region, the population of approximately 12,000 people is spread over the county’s 404 square miles. For information on the county seat of Hyden, please visit the city's website.
Leslie County is home to the Frontier Nursing Service founded by Mary Breckinridge in 1925. The Service was established to improve the health of mothers and babies, later expanded to providing healthcare to the whole family. Today it includes the Mary Breckinridge Hospital; five rural health clinics; a home health agency; the Wendover Bed and Breakfast Inn, a National Historic Landmark; and the world-renowned Frontier Nursing University.
Big House at Wendover
Frontier Nursing University is one of two institutions of higher learning located in Leslie County. Founded in 1939, it is both the birthplace of nurse midwifery education in the United States and the oldest continually operating school of nurse midwifery in the country. FSMFN developed the first certificate program to prepare family nurse practitioners. Through distance learning, degrees are granted at the master’s and doctoral level.
Also located in Hyden is a branch campus of Hazard Community and Technical College. HCTC offers associate degrees in the arts and sciences. In addition, it is the home of the Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music, the only one of its kind in the United States. The School of Bluegrass grants an associate degree, “The Professional Studio Artist Specialization in Bluegrass and Traditional music.”
For the adventure enthusiast our Daniel Boone Trail system creates a playground for ATV’s. Our trails are open to dirt bikes, utility vehicles such as Rhino’s, Rangers and Mules, horseback riding and hiking and has nearly 100 miles of trails extending into Clay County. Since the trails are primarily located in the Daniel Boone National Forest, don’t be surprised if you encounter elk, turkey and deer. You can spend countless hours enjoying the trails as well as the wildlife, so bring your camera and get ready for an experience you will want to have again. Also, at the entrance of the trailhead you will find the Willie Begley Memorial RV Park. The park has 27 slots with electric, water and cable tv. Each slot has its own picnic table and fire ring for camp fires. Bathrooms and showers are located in the trailhead building.
If the trails are not just what you’re looking for, maybe you’ll enjoy the Trace Branch Recreational Area on Buckhorn Lake in Leslie County. Located 13 miles from Hyden, you will surely be impressed with all that Trace Branch has to offer. Hunting, fishing, boating, camping, hiking and swimming are some of the activities you’ll enjoy. The recreational area contains a picnic shelter with electric, water, boat ramp, boat dock and restrooms. You will also find 14 reservable camp sites with electric and water. Amenities include a shower house, playground, horse shoe pit and fishing area.
With all this and so much more Leslie County is truly a great place to visit, a great place to live.