Whitley county is in the Eastern Coal Field region of Kentucky. The elevation in the county ranges from 723 to 2220 feet above sea level.
It was formed in 1818 from Knox county. Whitley county was a source of Laurel (1826), Bell (1871), and McCreary (1912) counties. The county seat is Williamsburg.
In 2020 the county population was 36,712 in a land area of 437.83 square miles, an average of 83.8 people per square mile.
The equine population was 1,700 in the 2012 Kentucky Equine Survey.
Whitley county is in the London micro statistical area and the Cumberland Valley Area Development District. It is in the Appalachian region according to the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Whitley county was named for William Whitley, an early Kentucky settler and state legislator who was killed in the War of 1812.
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park is located in western Whitley county.
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