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Land Between the Lakes

About Land Between the Lakes

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 was created when the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers were impounded to create Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. The inland peninsula created was designated Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area in 1963.

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 Trail (26 miles), Canal Loop Trail (14 miles) Fire Tower Trail (11 miles) and Honker Lake Trail (4.5 miles)


North South Trail

The North/South Trail begins at the North Welcome center off Hwy. 453. The trail covers over 60 miles from beginning to end at the South Welcome Station.

The northern section follows along the bays of Kentucky Lake, crosses Hwy 453 near Gold Pond Visitor Center and Planetarium and then begins to level out and moves parallel to Hwy 453.

The southern section leaves Hwy. 453 and continues down the middle of LBL before merging with Bear Creek Loop and ending at the South Welcome Station.

Here are some nice maps that have the trail divided into sections with mileage to different points of interest along the way. Many trail heads have signs with mileage as well. We averaged about 2.0 miles an hour with packs though most of the northern section. There is plenty of water and the trails are well maintained. The following is a description of a small section of the northern part of North/South Trail.

Starting Point 3 (White Trail Blaze)

0.0 Begin at Duncan Bay Trail head.

0.1 Trail continues south past an open field on the right and crosses a gravel road (132).

0.3 Cross many small tributaries, arrive Hatchery Hollow

Golden Pond is 18.3 miles, Buzzard Wing Spring is 9.7, Coffin Cove is 5.8, Sugar Bay Lake, 5.4, Nature Station trail head is 5.2, Sugar Jack Spring 2.8, Token Trail Springs, 2.7

0.31 Trail proceeds down and crosses at creek merger. Cross several foot bridges and pass through a power line field. Trail follows a dirt road through a crop field and crosses a creek before leaving the road.

0.7 Trail head Nature Station 4.8, Golden Pond 17.8, Buzzard Wing Springs, 9.3, Coffin Cove 5.3, Sugar Bay Lake 5.0, Sugar Jack Spring 2.5, Token Trail Springs 2.3

0.71 Trail climbs small hill. Trail marker to the points to the right and follows along a creek bed heading toward Kentucky Lake. Trail follows along edge of crop field which is to your right. Trail continues up and down for a distance before coming to another field on your left. After you leave the field the trail begins to climb. Cross a footbridge. Trail begins to descend and crosses another creek. After crossing the creek the trail crosses an old logging road that leads to the left. Continue straight as the trail levels out for a while before merging with the logging road again. Trail begins to ascend again. At top of ridge is a good place for a camp. It is level with plenty of room. Trail crosses gravel road (139). Turn left following white trail blazes along gravel road.

1.5 Trail head, Golden Pond 16.5, Dead Beaver Camp 12.3, Buzzard Wing Springs 7.9, Coffin Cove 4.0, Sugar Bay Lake 3.6, Road continues 1.0 to Sugar Jack Springs.

1.51 Turn right and follow trail markers. Straight ahead is small cemetery. Trail descends from the road and follows along a creek. Possible campsite here. Trail crosses footbridge.

1.6 After crossing several creeks Sugar Bay comes into view. The trail crosses a flood plain at the end of the bay and continues to move up and down along the bay. The trail merges with a logging road, continue left.

1.8 Trail moves away from the bay heading south.

2.5 Trail comes to a finger of Sugar Bay and goes around another flood plain. Cross several more creeks and begin heading west toward the main part of Sugar Bay. Trail turns south and begins to ascend. After reaching the top of the ridge, the trail descends through a series of switch backs. Be sure to follow the trail markers, there are many spur trails in this area.

5.4 Sugar Bay boat ramp. This section took about 2 hours from Duncan Bay Trail Head. Cross road and follow trail over improved foot bridge, ford a small creek. Cross another food bridge and creek before coming to a dirt road. Continue to the right.

5.6 Trail head, Golden Pond 12.7, Brush Arbor Camp10.6, Dead Beaver Camp 8.5, Buzzard Wing Springs 4.1, Coffin Cove to right 0.2.

6.1 Huggins bay. Follow trail through some pine trees, along a creek and cross a foot bridge, turn south along bay through some switch backs along the bay.

7.6 Trail turns away from Huggins bay and begins to climb toward the ridge. At the top it levels off before climbing some more. At the top is a nice level area for a campsite. Trail descends and merges with a logging road, continue left. You can see Rhodes Bay straight ahead. Trail merges with logging road, go right. Trail merges with logging road again, continue to the right. Trail emerges to a dirt road, cross small creek and follow road. Corn field on left, bay on right.

9.7 Buzzard Wing Springs, Road 141, Golden Pond 8.7, Brush Arbor Camp 6.6, Dead Beaver Camp 4.5. Trail leaves the road and is level. Frog pond to the right, trail crosses creek and begins to ascend steeply away from the bay. Trail passes through nice stand of pines before emerging at road 337. Continue to right.

10.3 As 337 continues to the right the trail leaves the road to the left and begins to descend steeply. Finger off Kentucky Lake can be seen to the right. Cross foot bridge and follow trail along lake finger. Trail leaves the lake and continues toward Vickers Bay. Trail climbs and merges with Road 338 continuing to the right. Trail leaves the road to the left and gets steeper, continuing to climb up and down. There are some nice overlooks along this section of the trail. After a short distance the trail winds around through a stand of pines.

11.7 Trail merges with logging road and levels out. Road merges with trail head where two creeks come together. Cross foot bridge and follow trail to right.

12.0 Dead Beaver Camp .8 miles to left. Brush Arbor Camp 2.9. Continue across foot bridge.

12.9 Trail crosses field gas line field and merges with road 143. After crossing the road the trail crosses a very nice footbridge with decorative rock work. At this point the trail stays mostly flat. The trail continues to follow the creek crossing in several places before reaching Brush Arbor Camp.

15.9 Brush Arbor Camp .5 to right. Golden Pond 2.6, Jenny Ridge Picnic Area, 1.6

15.91 Cross foot bridge, open field to the left. Trail follows creek crossing several foot bridges.

16.9 Trail passes along some eroded hill sides before ascending towards the Jenny Ridge Picnic Area.

17.5 Jenny Ridge Picnic Area. Trail continues toward the Trace Road and enters a stand of pines.

18.0 Trail leaves the pines and follows the Trace Road to the Golden Pond Visitor Center.

18.3 Golden Pond

South Segment

0.00 Parking lot Golden Pond

0.59 Trail head Golden Pond (South welcome 28.3, Turkey Spring 4.1,Homeplace Trl Head 13.1)

0.93 Trail moves up and down some before crossing at Trace road.

1.17 After crossing road trail is flat then passing shed with farm equipment.

1.37 Stand of pines left of trail.

2.00 Logging road parallels to left. Possible campsites none established.

2.10 Ross Cemetery, trail merges with gravel road (342) continuing slightly down hill passing under power lines.

2.77 Trail leaves road and continues to parallel the road to the right.

2.94 Cemetery, old building across from it.

3.40 Merges with horse trail for short distance before crossing over to other side.

4.0 Horse trail junction (all most 2 hrs.) Tturkey springs .6, Homeplace Trl Head 9.6, South welcome 24.8

4.11 Trail crosses creek before crossing back again.

4.6 Trail junction with horse trail NS goes left follows along creek with creek to your left. Trail begins long steed incline.

5.00 Service road 170, trail cross over.

5.75 Trail crosses back and forth across creek with open field to left.

5.85 Trail junction. Laura furnace fork 0.8, Homeplace Trl Head 7.6, 22.8 to South welcome)

6.21 Trail crosses several logging roads, continue straight.

6.40 Mountain Laurel Spring trail junction. (Homeplace Trl Head 7.1, Iron Mountain Camp 11.4, South welcome 22.3)

7.74 Trail junction, follow horse trail to left (#8), do not go up hill.

8.78 Trail junction, Walker Line trail. Homeplace Trl Head 4.4, Iron Mountain Camp 8.7, South Welcome 19.6.

9.0 Cross small creek and begin to climb log hill.

9.42 Blossey Cemetery

9.88 Trail crosses park rd 165. Bridge is out, so continue down dirt road then cross creek. Good camp spot to the right. Continue down dirt road to where is merges with North/South Trail.

10.28 Cross creek and continue with shared horse trail.

10.36 Rushing family cemetery to your left, trail continues to parallel Trace Road.

11.05 Trail junction, Wrangler trail.

11.64 Trail crosses Trace Road.

We had to leave the trail and detour around the section between the Trace road and Fire Tower Trail head due to trail closure (2011).

Fire Tower Road Trail Head

0.00 Trail Head

0.33 Fire tower to left.

0.36 Iron Mountain Camp

1.70 Stand of Pines to your left.

2.35 Fuqua cemetery

3.31 Cross Tharpe Raod (221)

3.59 Trail junction, Briar Rose Branch Trail (7.6 South welcome, 14.1 to Piney Campground)

3.95 Trail merges with logging road, continue left down road. Multiple campsites along this road.

4.30 Morgans Cemetery. Trail continues past cemetery.

5.00 Continue left.

5.90 Trail continues right.

8.82 Trail continues left.

10.04 Piney Campground trail junction. Continue left.

11.41 South Welcome Center


Facilities: Open from March 1 through November 30. Reservations accepted up to one year in advance. Call 270-924-2270. Regulations

Hillman Ferry

Located in the North end of LBL near Grand Rivers, Ky., Hillman Ferry campground has 380 campsites offering a variety of services and amenities. Hillman is located along the shores of Kentucky Lake between Moss Creek and Pisgah Bay, and offers many lake front and lake view sites.

Piney Campground

Located at LBL's southern tip along the shores of Kentucky Lake. Piney campers can take advantage of lake front and woodland camping options with more than 300 electric sites. Tent campers can bed down at one of Piney's basic campsites. Piney also has several Camping Shelters.

Energy Lake Campground

Located in a quiet inlet by Energy Dam. Lake view and wooded campsites are equipped with electrical hookups which can accommodate RVs and campers. Hiking trails surround Energy Campground; there are also canoe rentals, a swimming beach, activity field for sports like softball, an archery range, campfire theater, assembly building, and a paved play court.

Back-Country Camping

Each person in your group that is age 18 or older must have a backcountry camping permit. Campers under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult. You may stay 14 consecutive days. After the 14 consecutive days, you must leave and move at least one mile in distance from that camp site and not return for a minimum of seven days. There are only a few places that you may not camp overnight. Camping is not allowed in cemeteries; picnic areas; Brandon Spring Group Center; the Environmental Education Area; and within 200 yards of the Trace, Highway 68/80, Mulberry Flat, Silver Trail, and Fort Henry roads.

Permits are $7.00 for 3 days and $30.00 for a season.

Backpacking Permit

There is no charge to camp along a trail as long as you are not staying in a Back-Country campground. Each backpacker must have a backpacking permit which you can get at the visitor centers. Camping is not allowed in cemeteries; picnic areas; Brandon Spring Group Center; the Environmental Education Area; and within 200 yards of the Trace, Highway 68/80, Mulberry Flat, Silver Trail, and Fort Henry roads.

Kentucky Contacts

Land Between The Lakes100 Van Morgan DriveGolden Pond, KY 42211(270) 924-2000.


Trail Map
General Map

Getting There

To access the North end of the trail take I-66/24 to Ky 453 South. Continue on Ky 453 7 miles to the North Welcome center. To access the Southern terminious Take Tn 79/76 to Ky 453. Proceed North 4.3 miles to the South Welcome center.

More LBL links

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