city and county seat of Pike County, Kentucky, United States

Pikeville is the county seat of Pike County in the Kentucky Appalachians.



Surrounded by hills and remoteness, Pikeville is an incongruous Appalachian town that actually seems to be going places, with schools in optometry and osteopathic medicine and a major multi-purpose arena, a big step from its beginnings back in 1824. How urban planners and engineers managed to fit everything in the narrow Levisa Fork valley is a bit of an enigma in itself.

The downtown area is in a horseshoe-shaped bend along the historic course of the Levisa Fork. In 1960, local leaders started advocating a rerouting of the railroad that ran through that area. By 1965, the plan grew into an even more ambitious engineering feat—the rerouting of the Levisa Fork itself, eliminating the almost yearly flood threat to downtown. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started work on the Pikeville Cut-Through, one of the largest earthmoving projects in the country's history, in 1973. A new channel for the river was created, cutting off the old horseshoe bend, with the railroad lines and a major new highway built through the new channel but safely above flood level. Once the river was rerouted, the coal tipples and railroad tracks were removed from downtown and the old riverbed was filled in, creating a significant amount of new downtown land. The project was completed in 1987.

Get in


It's really out there where a lot of spindly eastern Kentucky highways come together, notably Hwy 23. If you managed to make it here, then good job.

Get around

  • 1 Dils Cemetery, at junction of Chloe St and S Bypass Rd (Hwy 1460). Place where Randall McCoy, of Hatfield-McCoy fame, is buried.
  • 2 Big Sandy Heritage Center Museum, 172 Division St, +1 606 213-0134. M, Th-Sa 10AM-4PM. Learn about Daniel Boone and how to be a mountain man and such things.
  • 1 Bob Amos Park, 424 Bob Amos Dr, +1 606 437-5129. What's peculiar about this park is the Pikeville Cut-Through Overlook, where an overlook allows you to gaze out upon the town and Levisa Fork valley, where the aforementioned engineering task of cutting through a hillside was made.
  • 2 The Appalachian Center for the Arts, 218 2nd St, +1 606 262-4004. Local repertory company and gallery with archeological exhibits even sometimes.

If you're here in mid-April, you can try the Hillbilly Days Festival for a taste of some authentic flair and culture.




  • 1 Hampton Inn Pikeville, 831 Hambley Blvd, +1 606 432-8181. This one has a nice brick facade, looks like it belongs in New York City really. $123.



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