KY Has 120 Counties But Which Is the Smallest and Which Is the Largest?
Over the course of 16 years of education--elementary, middle, and high school, then college--I only ever studied Kentucky twice. We did about two weeks when I was in fourth grade and about a month in seventh grade.
And I had an opportunity when I was a student at Western Kentucky University; the history department offered upper-level courses of study about the Commonwealth. So that's on me. But Kentucky is an absolute playground for students of the state, and I'm sure if you were to ask one of the more learned ones, they could tell you what we're covering right now.
What Are the Smallest and Largest Counties in Kentucky?
Let's start at the bottom and work our way up. And, by the way, there are two answers for each category--the smallest and largest in AREA and the smallest and largest in POPULATION.
It's a double whammy for Robertson County, located about 52 miles northeast of Lexington. It is both the smallest Kentucky county in area (99.91 square miles) AND the least populous county (2,193 per the 2020 census). Named after Kentucky Congressman George Robertson, its county seat is Mount Olivet (population 347) and it features just three properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places if you're looking for points of interest:
The Johnson Creek Covered Bridge in Blue Lick State Park
The Thomas Metcalfe House
The Robertson County Courthouse
Pike County -- the Largest County in Kentucky (in Area)
Pike County is where you will find the easternmost point in Kentucky. Named for General Zebulon Pike, the same guy Pike's Peak in Colorado is named after, Pike County has a population of 58,669 and a land area of 789 square miles. It's more than half the size of the entire state of Rhode Island.
If you find yourself in Pike County, Trip Advisor recommends checking out the Dueling Barrels Brewery & Distillery:
And if you want to dig into a little history that's always played like American folklore, you can visit Hatfield and McCoy historic sites:
Jenny Wiley State Park, the Big Sandy Heritage Center, and Bob Amos Park are also worth your time. And the best part, if you ask me? Mountains, mountains, mountains. When you're in Pike County, you're in the heart of Appalachia, so just find a place to pull off and soak it all in.
The Most Populous County in Kentucky -- This One's Easy
As for the largest Kentucky county in terms of population, it's a bit of a no-brainer. It's Jefferson County with Louisville as its county seat. See? No-brainer. By the way, the population is 777,874, and that would rank it 48th if it were a state. So the next time you're in Jefferson County, know that there are more people in those 398 square miles of space than in all of Vermont or Wyoming.
And with that, Kentucky geography class is dismissed.