McCreary County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 18,306. Its county seat is Whitley City. The county is named for James B. McCreary, a Confederate war hero and Governor of Kentucky from 1875 to 1879, and 1911 to 1915. During his second term as Governor of Kentucky, McCreary County was named in his honor.
McCreary County is the only Kentucky county to not have a single incorporated city. Because of this, county government is the sole local government agency for the entire county. Attractions in McCreary County include the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Cumberland Falls State Park, and the Big South Fork Scenic Railway, which tours several former coal camps.
The majority of the county is owned by the federal government. 43% is owned and managed by the Daniel Boone National Forest, and 18% owned and managed by the National Park Service as the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.