Backpackcamp.com provides backpacking and camping information for the Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tenessee areas. This is not an official site for any of the parks or wilderness areas listed. It is just information I have compiled based on my backpacking experiences. Information with in the site my not be accurate as the parks conditions, fees and facilities change over the years.

Illinois

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods is located in southern Illinois in the Shawnee National Forest. The Wilderness area is over 320 million years old and covers over 3,300 acres of beautiful old growth forest.. The sediment rock in this area is over 4 miles deep and the fractured bedrock has created some interesting rock formations that represent various objects. Some of the rock formations include; Camel Rock, Monkey Head, Indian Point, Anvil Rock, Mushroom Rock and Big H. The Observation Trail follows a .25 mile stone path to some spectacular overlooks of the Garden of the Gods Wilderness area. The park is open year round.

Lusk Creek Wilderness

Lusk Creek Wilderness area is located in the Shawnee National Forest and has some beautiful and interesting geology. Bedrock, similar to Garden of the Gods, lines Lusk Creek Canyon to the north and south. Large cliffs and rock houses are abundent along Lusk Creek. There are many plants and animals in this mostly undisturbed area.

One Horse Gap

Part of the Shawnee National Forest, One Horse Gap is a natural narrow passage in the bedrock which the River-to-River trail passes through. The area above the gap has a moon like landscape that is unique. There is a small lake with in mile of the gap and just below the gap is a small tunnel between the rocks with a trickleing stream that disapears under the rocks.

Monkey Head

Illinois Contacts

Shawnee National Forest
Harrisburg, IL 62946
(618) 253-7114

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Indiana

Charlestown State Park

Charlestown State Park is located just southeast of Charlestown on Indiana 62 in Southern Indiana. The parks four trails take you through diverse terrain including forests, fields, cliffs, wetlands, and Creeks. Elevation changes of over 200 feet make for challenging hikes. Trail 1, Trail 3 and Trail 4 pass near 14 Mile Creek, a popular fishing spot. Trail 6 follows a ridge above the Ohio river with several overlooks. There is currently no backcountry camping.

In 2005 the park will be adding an additional 2,761 acres from the nearby decommissioned Indiana Ammunition Depot increasing the parks size to 5,100 acres. The expansion will make Charlestown State Park the 3rd largest State park in Indiana.

Harrison-Crawford State Forest

Harrison-Crawford State Forest is located in southern part of Indiana bordering the Ohio River and extending into the central part of the state. The forest is approximately 26,000 acres of timber with ridges, limestone outcroppings and river overlooks. The Blue River runs through the middle emptying into the Ohio on the parks southern border. Backpacking, hiking, fishing and canoeing are abundant here. Adventure Hiking Trail is a 27 mile Backpacking trail that winds throughout the southern part of the forest, giving beautiful vistas of the Ohio and Blue rivers.

Hemlock Cliffs

Hemlock Cliffs is located in the Hoosier National Forest, Hemlock Cliffs is a unique little box canyon that has a very diverse plant ecosystem. Mountain laurel, several varieties of fern, evergreen, hemlock and wild flower are all thriving in this cool damp environment. Also common to the area are frogs, deer, squirrel, mice and a variety of birds.

Limestone cliffs rise some 200 feet above the canyon with two waterfalls, "Messmore Cliffs Falls" and "Hemlock Cliffs Falls" at each end. The Hemlock Cliff Loop trail descends into the canyon and covers about 2.0 miles. Camping is permitted 300 ft. from the trail.

Indian-Celina Lakes Recreation Area

Indian-Celina Lakes Recreation Area is located near Tell City Indiana. The Indian-Celina Lakes Recreation Area contains Celina Lake (164 acres) and Indian Lake (152 acres). The Lakes are boardered by the 12.5 mile Two Lakes Loop trail. The trail makes its way around both lakes winding along the west bank of Indian Lake and east bank of Celina Lake.

Ohio River Overlook Charlestown State ParkIndiana Contacts

Charlestown State Park
12500 Indiana 62
Charlestown, IN 47111
(812) 256-5600

Harrison-Crawford State Forest
7240 Old Forest Road SW
Corydon, IN 47112
(812) 738-8232

Tell City Ranger District
248 15th Street
Tell City, IN 47586
(812) 547-7051
Fax (812) 547-6144

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Kentucky

Big South Fork

The Big South Fork is located on the Kentucky/Tennessee border in the Daniel Boone National Forest. It can be accessed from Interstate 75 at several locations. Big South Fork is a lightly hiked area with many beautiful vistas. Angel Falls has one of the best views of the park it rises about 750 above the river with views to the south and west. Its about a 45 minute climb to the lookout, a moderate to difficult trail.

Breaks Interstate Park

The Breaks features the largest canyon east of the Mississippi extending 5 miles along the Russell Fork River. It's canyon walls are 1,600 feet deep, with elevations range from 870 feet at Russell Fork to nearly 2,000 at the Clinchfield Overlook. There are 12 miles of hiking trails and four scenic overlooks including:

Overlook Trail, Prospectors Trail, Grassy Overlook Trail, and Geological Trail.

The George Washington & Jefferson National Forests is on the south side of Break Interstate Park. The Cumberland Mountain Trail runs along the boarder of Kentucky and Virginia. Back country camping and off road recreation are available in this area.

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

Cumberland Gap is situated on the Kentucky-Virginia boundary approximately one-quarter mile north of the point where Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee meet. Visitors can camp, hike, horse back ride and cave in this 20,184 acre park. There are over 70 miles of hiking trails in the park ranging from short, easy .25 mile hikes to the 16.25 mile Ridge Trail and the difficult 3 mile Ewing Trail. Other trails include: Shillalah Creek Trail (10.7), Gibson Gap Trail (4.2), Lewis Hollow Trail (.8), Sugar Run Trail (2.6), Harlan Road Trail (1.6), Cumberland Trail (2.6 in the park), and Boone Trail (1.6). Backcountry camping is allowed in designated sites with a permit. There is car camping at National Park Camp (Wilderness Road campground)

Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area

Located near I-24 near Paducah in Western Kentucky, Land Between The Lakes offers all the outdoor recreation "basics", with some unique opportunities for environmental education and historic interpretation. LBL covers more than 170,000 acres and 300 miles of undeveloped shoreline. Activities include: Hiking, Biking, Paddling, Camping and Backpacking. LBL is also a great place to see wild life such as Bald Eagles, Osprey, Elk, Bison, Fox, Coyote and Deer.

The North South Trail covers 65 miles of backcountry and shoreline terrain, with the northern section having elevation changes of about 200 ft. and the southern section being relatively flat. Other major trails include, Fort Henry National Recreation Trial (26 miles), Canal Loop Trail (14 miles) and Honker Lake Trail (4.5 miles)

Mammoth Cave National Park

Well known for its massive cave system, Mammoth Cave National Park also has some pretty good backpacking too. The park can be accessed from Interstate 65 at several locations. Hike the north side of Mammoth Cave National Park and you may not see another person the whole trip. The rugged ridges and steep valleys can be a challenge even to the most accomplished backpacker. Camp by the Green and Nolan rivers to the south or explore bluffs and ridgetops. There are over 70 miles of trails through out the park. Good Springs Loop is a good weekend backpack, with longer trips spurring from this trail such as McCoy Hollow Trail. There is primitive camping through out the park with limited facilities.

Red River Gorge

The Red River Gorge is located in the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky . It can be accessed just off the Mountain Parkway at Slade, KY. The Natural Bridge State Park Visitor Center is also located at the Slade exit. The Red River Gorge has many beautiful sandstone arches and fabulous overlooks. The Red River flows through the middle of the gorge and has class I, II and III rapids. There are three main hiking and camping areas. Tunnel Ridge Road Area (Grays Arch, Auxier Ridge, Double Arch), Koomer Ridge Campground, Chimney Top/Sky Bridge Area (Chimney Top Rock, Half Moon Rock, Princess Arch, Sky Bridge, Rock Bridge)

Many trails are great day hikes and most trails connect with other trails to make good weekend loop backpacking trips. Love the Gorge, just wish everyone else didn't too!

Sheltowee Trace

The Sheltowee Trace crosses the entire length of Daniel Boone National Forest, beginning at Pickett State Park, Tennessee and ending just north of Morehead, Kentucky. There are many access points to this 269-mile long trail, to many for me to list. I have hiked the sections from Pickett State Park to Peters Mountain, Laurel Lake to Cumberland Falls, and KY 1274 to Cave Run Lake.

Suspension Bridge across Red River Sheltowee TrailKentucky Contacts

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
Park Headquarters
4564 Leatherwood Road
Oneida, Tennessee 37841
Park Headquarters - (423) 569-9778
Visitor Center - Tennessee - (931) 879-3625
Visitor Center - Kentucky - (606) 376-5073

Breaks Interstate Park
PO Box 100
Breaks, VA 24607
(540) 865-4413

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
PO Box 1848
Middlesboro, KY 40965
(606) 248-2817

Land Between The Lakes
100 Van Morgan Drive
Golden Pond, KY 42211
(270) 924-2000.

Mammoth Cave National Park
P.O. Box 7
Mammoth Cave, KY 42259
(270)758-2180

Red River Gorge
Stanton Ranger District
705 W. College Ave.
Stanton, KY 40380
(606) 663-2852

Sheltowee Trace
London Ranger District
761 S. Laurel Road
London, KY 40744 606-864-4163

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Tennessee

Big South Fork

The Big South Fork is located on the Kentucky/Tennessee border in the Daniel Boone National Forest. It can be accessed from Interstate 75 at several locations. Big South Fork is a lightly hiked area with many beautiful vistas. Angel Falls overlook has one of the best views of the park. It rises about 750' above the river with views to the south and west. Its about a 45 minute climb to the lookout, a moderate to difficult trail.

Fall Creek Falls

Located in southeastern Tennessee, Fall Creek Falls State Resort Park has many beautiful sites to offer through out it's 19,000 acres. It is best known for it's name sake, the 256 foot Fall Creek Falls. There are many other falls in the area including Piney Falls and Cane Creek Falls. Although this is a resort park, don't let that fool you. The 13 mile Lower Loop trail has plenty of wilderness to offer the avid backpacker. The 14 mile Upper Loop trail is is not as seneic as the Lower Loop, but is worth the hike.

Savage Gulf

The Savage Gulf is located in central Tennessee in South Cumberland Mountains. It can be accessed from interstate 24 near BeerSheba Springs, Tenn . Savage Gulf has spectacular cliffs and many beautiful waterfalls. Greeter Falls drops over a 15 foot upper ledge and then plummets 50 feet into a large plunge pool below. Savage Falls, although not as high (30'), is beautiful in its Rhododendron canopy surroundings. Other falls include, Ranger Falls, Sutter Falls, Boardtree Falls, Horsepound Falls and Laural Falls. Stone Door is a 10 foot wide 100 foot deep crack that leads from the top of Big Creek Rim, 750 feet below to Big Creek. This is a popular place to top rope repel. Other areas of interest include. Stage Coach Road, Yellow Bluff overlook and Hobbs Cabin. Camping is only allowed at designated sites and a permit must be obtained at the ranger station.

The economy in this area is supported mainly by the tree nursery industry, varieties of trees include Spruce, Birch, Pair and Maple.

Some excellent weekend packs are; North Rim Trial to Hobbs Cabin Camp, South Rim Trail to Stage Coach Road Camp, Stone Door Trail & Big Creek Rim Trail to Alum Gap Camp, Collins West Camp to Saw Mill Camp, and East Collins Camp to Stage Coach Road Camp

This Web site does not cover all the trails in the Savage Gulf Area, only the ones I have hiked.

Picket State Park

The 19,200-acre Pickett State Forest is adjacent to the massive 120,000 acre Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, both areas containing prime wilderness country. Explore large rock houses, natural sandstone bridges, scenic bluffs, and wild mountain streams.

Savage Falls

Tennesse Contacts

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
Park Headquarters
4564 Leatherwood Road
Oneida, Tennessee 37841
Park Headquarters - (423) 569-9778
Visitor Center - Tennessee - (931) 879-3625
Visitor Center - Kentucky - (606) 376-5073

Fall Creek Falls State Resort Park
Rt. 3, Pikeville, TN 37367-9316
Park Headquarters (423) 881-3297

Savage Gulf
Route 1, Box 2196
Monteagle , TN 37356
931-924-2980
Stone Door: 931-692-3887
Savage Gulf: 931-779-353

Pickett State Park
4605 Pickett Park Highway
Jamestown, TN 38556
(931) 879-5821

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