, Illinois, indiana, kentucky, and 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 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 Interstate Park 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, Geological Trail, and Pine Mountain 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. Other sites include Turnhole Bend, Sal Hollowand Bluffs campsites. 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.

Kentucky 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

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