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Sheltowee Trace

Cave Run Lake

The Cave Run Lake section from the KY 1274 to White Sulfur trail head (15.0) is one of the Sheltowee's ruggedest sections. Beautiful over looks, rock formations and lake views are on the menu. Natural Arch and Clear Creek Furnace are points of interest. There are several access points to this trail, if you plan to leave a vehicle over night be sure to contact ranger station to let them know your agenda.

Starting at Ky 1274 follow the trail along the ridgetops gaining and losing elevation on a regular basis. Cross several park roads on your way to Clear Creek Recreation area before continueing on to Cave Run Lake and the near by White Sulfur ATV Recreational area.

natural arch with tree in front

Trail KY 1274 to White Sulfur trail head

Start Hwy 1274 (No Parking here)

00.00 Leave road and begin to climb. Trail is not very well established but you will soon see the familiar white turtle trail marker. elev 770'

00.07 Trail switches back and forth before crossing logging road.

00.18 Meets logging road again and begins to level off. elev 950'

00.26 Small pond on left and possible camping spot.

00.31 Top of ridge, trail continues left along private property fence.

00.37 Deer stand and farm house to you right. elev 1077'

00.47 Left at private property sign. Trail continues up and down along the ridge top.

00.60 Gap in fence where ATV's access the trail.

00.69 Trail tops out at 1138'. Rock out cropping across valley to your right.

00.84 Trail continues to follow the ridge with some ups and downs.

00.96 Steep, short climb takes you to 1198'.

01.14 Logging road to left. Continue straight, nice views to each side.

01.25 Forestry Gate and well worn area. Continue right down the ridge. elev 1242'

01.40 Trail merge, large bowl area where ATV's have eroded the area. Continue right up past this area.

01.55 View of Hwy 36 to your left.

01.62 Small rock house to your left, Trail begins to climb with rock escarpment to your left. If you leave the trail here and climb the ridge to the top, you will find some nice overlooks. There are no develop campsites, but there are a few flat spots.

01.94 Trail descends, nice overlook to left.

02.09 Trail continues with rock wall to your left.

02.18 Rock house to left.

02.37 Trail continues left around ridge and begins to descend on the other side switching back and forth.

02.74 Merge with FS road 974 (Johnson Branch Rd). Turn right and follow road.

02.97 Trail leaves the road up to the left.

03.12 Trail gains elevation quickly then levels out a bit before climbing again.

03.22 Rock house, trail descends for a while then climbs around rock ledge and continues along the rocks

03.38 Sign Hwy 1274 3 miles, forest boundary marker. elev 1293'

03.51 Bath Co. line. elev 1370'

03.68 Trail moves along narrow ridge top with nice views on each side. Very beautiful area. Trail begins to descend slightly.

03.88 Overlook, trail turns back right and below ridge. There is a very tricky area with a drop off here. Use caution.

03.96 Trail switches back and begins to move away from the ridge.

04.18 FS road 908. Sign post south shows Hwy 1274 0.5 miles, Johnson Branch road 1.0 miles. Sign post north shows FS road 1.0 miles. Cross road and continue up trail moving below escarpment to your right.

04.65 Overnight campsite. 3-4 tents. elev 1216'

04.95 Overnight campsite. 3-4 tents. Nice overlook here. Trail drops down through some rocks and continues straight along ridge.

05.22 Hwy 906 with parking. South sign post shows Hwy 1274 6.0 miles. North sign post shows Natural Arch 0.5 miles, Clear Creek 3.0 miles. Trail continues across road and begins to ascend.

05.54 Trail levels out with rock wall to your left.

05.65 Natural Arch. This sandstone arch has a nice view from above. (Once on top of the arch your can choose to continue north along the ridge and it will shortly run into the Sheltowee.)

05.87 Trail continues past the arch climbs and switches back ascending to the ridge. The trail levels out for a bit with views to each side.

06.00 Trail moves through a grassy area with lots of open space between trees. A logging road is visible to your left. Trail begins to ascend.

06.30 Sinks Area. Pass through briars and emerge into more grass with Sinks to your right.

06.59 Trail passes back into briars while leveling off.

06.68 Trail begins to ascend.

07.11 Trail passes some nice rock formations. Good place to break. Trail switches back to the left and begins to descend.

07.38 FS 905A cross road and continue straight.

07.70 Flat areas that could be potential campsites with some nice views.

07.85 Trail levels. Clear Creek lake finger to your left.

07.98 Campsite with nice views at 1161'. Trail drops from the ridge in a steep descent toward Clear Creek Lake.

08.34 After several switch backs a sign post shows Clear Creek Lake TH 0.5 elev 941'

08.63 Bridge into Clear Creek picnic area. It is worth a side trip here to see the Clear Creek Iron Furnace works. This is also a place to cross during high water. 744'

08.72 Trail continues along Clear Creek before moving away for a short time.

08.84 Trail merges with horse trail #103, turn right.

08.91 Ford creek which is normally easy. If high water return to bridge at picnic area. After crossing trail continues left along creek. Clear Creek lake is visible ahead.

09.13 Clear Creek Road. South sign post shows KY 1274 9.0 miles, 2.5 miles to Natural Arch. Cross road. 736' North sign post Buck Creek TH 0.5, White Sulphur trail 3.0.

09.93 After about a 100' climb, trail levels off and continues to parallel Clear Creek road.

09.62 Trail passes near a stand of pine trees still paralleling the road.

09.80 Trail begins to turn away from the road and begins to follow a dry creek bed.

09.90 Trail merge Buck Creek Trail. Sign post shows Zilpo Rd 0.5, Tater Knob 2.5, Cave Run Lake 3.25. Cross dry creek. Sign post shows White Sulphur Horse Camp 5.0, Stoney Cove Rec. 9.75 There is a nice campsite near this trail junction. It is a short hike to the Clear Creek Campground and pit toilets.

10.00 Trail begins to ascend gradually following the dry creek bed. elev 850'

10.40 South sign post shows Clear Creek Campground 0.5 miles.

10.64 Trail begins a steep climb with several switchbacks as it approaches the ridge.

10.86 Buck Branch Spur to right .25 to Hwy 918. South sign post shows Clear Creek Camp 1 mile, North sign post shows Buck Skin trail 3.0 miles. elev. 1076'

11.12 Trail merges with a logging road at 1226'. Turn right on logging road for about 30' then go left into the woods as the trail moves up the ridge with some nice views of the neighboring ridge lines.

11.43 Spur trail leads to Hwy 918. There is also a nature trail that shares this section of the Sheltowee, complete with protected area. elev 12.72'

11.55 Trail junction with White Sulphur Trail. North sign post says 5.0 miles to White Sulphur Horse Camp. This area is known as the Cliffs. The cliffs do not appear large from below, but probably have a nice view from up on the road. Continue straight.

11.80 Spur to the right leads to open field with small pond. Trail continues left.

12.42 Trail begins to descend.

13.07 Trail becomes a bit more rocky. You can see Cave Run Lake in the distance

13.53 Trail makes sharp turn and begins switch backs leading away from the ridge.

13.86 Trail crosses ridge saddle. Well worn spur leads up to view of Cave Run Lake. Possible small camp at top of either side. Continue over and around to the left. Trail decsends.

14.31 Lake to left

14.44 Sign post Buck Skin Trail #113 and Hog pen Trail 1.50 to right. Zilpo Campground 11.0. Clearcreek Recreation Area 4.0 Cave Run Dam 5.5. Continue left slowly descending toward lake.

14.86 Trail leaves lake and moves up the dry creek.

14.95 Merge with White Sulfur Trail #115 0.5 to Horse Camp. Leave Sheltowee on White Sulfur Trail.

White Sulfur Trail

00.00 Start at junction of White Sulfur Trail and Sheltowee Trail.

00.13 Cross stream and begin to ascend

00.43 Merge with White Sulfur Camp Loop Trail. Continue to right.

00.82 Open field to right, trail widens and turns toward creek before beginning to descend.

01.04 Cross creek and begin to ascend with creek to your right.

01.33 Trail leaves creek and meets logging road, at trail marker go right.

01.42 Trail leaves logging road to the left and descends

01.54 Cross tributary. Parking area is to your right and above. You will have to bushwhack a few feet up to the road. The trail continues toward White Sulfur Horse Camp.


The campgrounds at Clear Creek Camp and White Sulfur Horse Camp are open year round and provide drinking water and pit toilets.

Backcountry camping is also allowed in non-designated areas, but your site must be at least 300 feet from roads, trails, streams or shorelines.

Forest Service Cumberland District Camping Info

Kentucky Contacts

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

Getting There

Trail head is located off Ky 1274 near Foxfire Rd.

From I-64 follow Ky-36 South to Ky-1275 East. Trail head is on left about .5 miles. No parking at trail head.

More Sheltowee Trace Links

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