By Jeremy Patton
Needle Point is located on Lake Cumberland in Pulaski County, Kentucky.
From US-27 in Somerset, turn west onto Old KY-80 (near McDonald’s), drive about 9 miles then turn left onto KY-235. Continue for about 4 miles then turn left onto Hislope Road. Continue for about 1.7 miles then park near a guard rail and gravel path on your left. According to Googlemaps, this segment of the road is called Pole Bridge School Road, but we never found a sign.
Take the gravel path below the road then follow the dirt trail on your left. I call it Needle Point Trail. It hugs the cliff-edge for about 400 meters, providing numerous overlooks of Lake Cumberland. Slate Branch Boat Ramp is visible across the lake.
This satellite image shows why Needle Point is aptly named.
Delania and I first visited Needle Point on 8/28/16. It had been 90 degrees at midday, but stormy weather made our evening hike quite pleasant. The trail was shady, but also unobstructed by undergrowth due to the rocky terrain. This makes it an ideal summer destination, if you can stand the humid Kentucky heat.
Delania had witnessed people dive from the cliffs of Needle Point. A cliff-jumper myself, I scouted several promising spots. However, I do not recommend it as a safe jump site — yet. Remember these rules: 1. Never jump unless you thoroughly investigate the area for hazards, like rocks lurking below the water. 2. Never jump unless you see others jump first.
This is an easy hike to a beautiful area. Delania and I will return this winter to view more when the leaves are gone.
10/2/16 – Delania and I launched our kayaks from Slate Branch Boat Ramp and paddled to Needle Point. From below, the rocks appeared brittle, perhaps crumbling faster due to erosion caused by the man-made lake. I was elated to discover a small natural arch. We did not notice it the first time we visited because it could only be seen from the water. I call it Needle Point Arch. It is small and not worthy of making a special trip to see, but if you happen to be in the area, you will enjoy it.
Added 8/30/16 – Updated 3/27/17