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General Information

Fall colors on the Daniel Boone National Forest
Copyright: - US Forest Service
Fall colors on the Daniel Boone National Forest
Description - The forest encompasses over 706,000 acres of mostly rugged terrain. The land is characterized by steep forested ridges dissected by narrow ravines and over 3,400 miles of sandstone cliffs.

These lands are federally managed to provide the nation with a sustained yield of natural resources, including wood, water, forage and wildlife. Recreation opportunities on the national forest are an added bonus. The conservation management of natural resources and recreation provides significant economic, environmental and social benefits in the public interest.

Attractions - The Daniel Boone encompasses over 692,536 acres of generally rugged terrain, characterized by steep forested ridges, narrow valleys, and over 3,400 miles of cliffline. The forest contains two large lakes (Cave Run Lake and Laurel River Lake), many rivers and streams, two wilderness areas, and the 269-mile Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail that extends across the length of the forest. Abundant wildlife, lush vegetation, magnificent scenery, and numerous recreation opportunities offer visitors much to enjoy.

Towering above a forest woodland, Natural Arch stands as an impressive monument to the forces of nature in action. Surrounding the arch is the 945 acre Natural Arch Scenic Area, with forested ridges, scenic overlooks, unique flora and fauna, and over 9 miles of trails. The Red River Gorge Geological Area, on the Stanton Ranger District, is a unique and scenic natural area.

Lake Cumberland stretches for 101 miles on the Cumberland River. Cave Run Lake, an 8,270-acre lake nestled beautiful mountains of the Morehead District. The 5,600 acre Laurel River Lake offers deep, clear water and 192 miles of clifflined shore, making it one of the most scenic lakes in Kentucky. These lakes offer boating, camping, fishing, hiking and more.

The Daniel Boone encompasses two designated Wildernesses, the Clifty and the Beaver Creek Wilderness Areas. The Zilpo National Scenic Byway begins in Salt Lick and runs for 11 miles through the Forest. Camp Wildcat, also on the Daniel Boone, is the site of the first engagement of regular troops in Kentucky during the Civil War. The site is undeveloped and remote.

Sheltowee Trace, a 269-mile multiple-use national recreation trail that traverses the length of the Daniel Boone National Forest. The Sheltowee Trace meanders along high, narrow ridges and cliffs, and into deep gorges along small, clear streams and whitewater rivers. The Redbird Crest Trail is a 52-mile loop trail that begins and ends near the Redbird District Office. The trail generally follows the ridgetops, with some portions being quite steep and rough. The trail is open to all-terrain vehicles, mountain bikes, motorcycles, hiking and horseback riding, although some areas are so narrow that only single track vehicles can drive on them.

Recreation - People come here to backpack, camp, picnic, rock climb, boat, hunt, fish, ride and relax. The Daniel Boone National Forest features over 520 miles of developed forest trails, including nearly 300 miles of National Recreation Trails. Some trails are easy and fun for families with small children; other paths make great half-day hikes. Trails can lead to a backpacking adventure for a night or much longer. Wilderness trails are the most primitive and should be used by experienced hikers who enjoy strenuous activities.

Climate - The climate of Kentucky is temperate with moderately cold winters and warm, humid summers. Precipitation is fairly well distributed throughout the year; there are no wet or dry seasons. October has the least rainfall, July the most. Snowfall is quite variable from year to year, and some winters have relatively little. Thunderstorms occur most frequently in spring and summer but can occur in any month.

Location - Located in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, the Daniel Boone National Forest is headquartered in Winchester. The Forest also has offices in Morehead, Stanton, London, Somerset, Whitley City and Big Creek, Kentucky. The Forest stretches from the northern part of the state, north of Interstate 64, to the southern border.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Kimm cinti horsemans club (cinti, OH)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: horse camp and trails @ Big South Fork/Station Camp area: scenic, varying terrain, sandy soil, map available(compass rec.), long rides, Class A camp Onieda,Tenn.,several private camps

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Definitely worth the trip. For the long-range hiker, the Sheltowee Trace is both beautiful and a challenge. Help keep the DBNF clean and quiet.

More Information

Contact Information:
Daniel Boone National Forest, 1700 Bypass Road , Winchester, KY, 40391, Phone: 606-745-3100

Additional Information:
Kentucky - Kentucky is mostly rural with the economic centers of Lexington and Louiville in the center of the state. The Appalachian Mountains dominate the eastern portion of the state with the Mississippi River creating the western border.

Daniel Boone National Forest - Official agency website


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