The Sheltowee Trace (#100) is a a 269-mile multiple-use national recreation trail that traverses the length of the Daniel Boone National Forest. The trail begins at Pickett State Park, Tennessee and ends near Morehead, Kentucky. It's name means Big Turtle the indian name given to Daniel Boone by the Shawnee Indians. The trail was dedicated on June 23, 1979.
The Sheltowee begins in Tennessees Pickett State Park and goes though Big South Fork (BSF) along the Cumberland River to places like Yahoo Falls, Cumberland Falls, Dog Slaughter Falls, Star Camp and Bark Camp Creek. The trail continues to Laurel Boat Ramp where the Cumberland River meets Laurel River. From there it follows along Laurel River passing through a natural gap to Laurel Lake. Trail 100 continues through the Daniel Boone National Forest tracking to Natural Bridge and the Red River Gorge area. Continuing north the trail reaches Cave Run Lake before ending at its northern terminus at Hwy 377 just past Morehead
The 19,200-acre Pickett State Forest is adjacent to the massive 120,000 acre Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. The Sheltowee shares trail space with portions of Hidden Arch Loop and John Muir Trail as it passes along Rock Creek into Big South Fork Explore large rock houses, natural sandstone bridges, scenic bluffs, waterfalls, and wild mountain streams. Sections 38 and 37 pass through Hemlock Grove Camping area to Peters Mountain.
Section 36 begins at Peters Mountain with views of the Big South Fork water shed. It passes along sand stone ridges and around boulders and rock houses. It junctions at Ky 582 and FSR 6120. Section 35 continues along the ridge with the option to side trip to Koger Arch. Pass abandoned mines before fording Grassy Fork Creek. Sec 34 descends to the BSF boundary at Big Creek before ending at Yamacraw Bridge.
Section 33 beings at Yamacraw bridge following the Big South Fork river to Alum Camp and boat ramp. It continues with steep rock walls towering above you. You will small water falls and views of the Big South Fork. The section ends at Yahoo Falls at Yahoo Arch Trail Junction. Section 32 continues past the falls to the confluence of The Big South Fork and Big Creek. Views of The Big South Fork to the west as you traverse this section. Section 31 begins at the BSF Boundary as you work your way up Big Creek. Large boulders line the creek bed with small cascades flowing amongst the creek. Cross the creek and climb away from the Big South Fork with may creek crossings. Pass through an impressive rock house on your way up to US 27 at Flat Rock Baptist Church. Section 30 Begins at the church and follows a gravel road to the trail head. Follow along side US 27 before descending along Railroad Fork Creek. This multi-use section shares many horse trails so be sure to watch for the turtle markers. Pass through beautiful Magnolia groves and cross several wooden bridges as it follows along the creek to the confluence at Indian Creek. Abandon mines can be seen from the trail, as well as several rock houses and other rock formations. Climb out at trail head junction at Ky 700.
Section 29 Crosses over Ky 700 and descends from the ridge top road. It follows along a creek before emerging back on Ky 700. Section 28 begins with a steep road walk till it turns on to FSA 6239. A steep descent takes you back to The Big South Fork where it moves along the river passing though smooth sandstone shelf that is open to the river. Enter Kentucky State Nature Preserve (no camping) following along the river. The trail emerges at the Ky 90 bridge. Cross the Cumberland River to the Cumberland Falls State park parking lot.
Cumberland Falls is 125 feet wide and 68 feet tall. Because of the angle of the falls if there is Full Moon it is possible to see a moonbow (a night rainbow) which is unique to these falls. Cumberland Falls is sometimes called the "Niagara of the South". It is the largest Fall in the state of Kentucky.
Section 27 of the Sheltowee (10.8) starts at the Cumberland Falls parking lot and follows the concrete path through the visitor center before descending down to the banks of the Cumberland river. Here you have great views of the Falls from below. There are some nice camping sites along this section including Bark Camp Creek, Star Camp and Dog Slaughter Falls. The trail follows along between the Cumberland River and the large bluffs above crossing several creeks before reaching Laurel Lake Boat Ramp. The trace follows Laurel river and becomes more rugged moving up and down before passing through a natural break in the escarpment. This area is interesting for it's large cliffs and rock houses. End at Laurel Lake Dam.
Laurel Lake is a 5,600 acre lake with 200 miles of shore line located within the Daniel Boone National Forest. One of the deepest and cleanest lakes in Kentucky, Laurel Lake is known for it's emerald green coves and cliff-lined shores.
Section 26 starts from Ky 1193 trail head to the Laurel Dam. It is notable for it's beautiful lake vistas and emerald green water. The trail winds in and out along the fingers of the lake passing by campgrounds, boat docks and marinas before ending at the KY 192/1193 trail head. There are many 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.
Laurel Lake (KY 192) to Pine Mountain Church passes through the Cane Creek area. Points of intrest include Van Hook Falls and Big Dog Branch. This section of the trail can be rugged at times, but you are rewarded with the surrounding beauty.
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.
The Red River Gorge section begins at Natural Bridge and passes the the heart of the gorge before working it's way through the north section of the Cliffty Wilderness area.
The Cave Run Lake is located in the Daniel Boone National Forest, 60 miles east of Lexington, Ky. The 8,270-acre recreation area is well known for its rugged beauty. Cave Run Lake has a host of outdoor activities including fishing, hiking, biking, canoeing, backpacking and camping.
The Cave Run Lake section of the Sheltowee Trace begins at KY 1274 and follows the challenging ridgetops through Clear Creek Lake Recreation area, around Cave Run Lake and finally passing to the north through Recreational Area.
Last Modified 11/5/18
Red River Gorge
Stanton Ranger District
705 W. College Ave.
Stanton, KY 40380
London Ranger District
761 S. Laurel Road
London, KY 40744 606-864-4163
Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
4564 Leatherwood Road
Oneida, Tennessee 37841
Park Headquarters - (423) 569-9778
Visitor Center - Tennessee - (931) 879-3625
Visitor Center - Kentucky - (606) 376-5073
Pickett State Park
4605 Pickett Park Highway
Jamestown, TN 38556
Trail head 192/1193—Take I-75 to London Ky, exit on KY 192 west to Junction at KY 1193. Trail head parking is on the left just before the junction.
Laurel Lake Dam—Take I-75 to London Ky, exit on KY 192 west to Junction at KY 1193. Turn left and follow KY 1193 to Dam.
Cumberland Falls—Southbound on I-75 exit Corbin, Ky, on KY 25 south. Follow KY 25 to KY 90 and turn right, continue west on KY 90 into the park.
Cumberland Falls—Northbound on I-75 exit Goldbug, Ky, on KY 25 north. Follow KY 25 to KY 90 and turn left, continue west on KY 90 into the park.
Trail head Ky 1274—Take I-64 to KY 36 Owingsville exit. Follow KY 36 to KY 1274, Turn left.
Cave Run Lake—Take I-64 to US 60 exit 123. Follow US 60 to Salt Lick, KY. Turn right on KY 211, follow through town. Turn left on Clear Clear Creek Rd.
Pickett State Park—Take I-40 to Exit 317 and take Hwy. 127 north for 46 miles. Turn right on Hwy. 154 and travel another 12 miles to the park entrance.
Pickett State Park—Southbound on I-75 take KY 461 south to KY 80, take 80 west to U.S. 27, take 27 south to Oneida and follow TN 297 west to TN 154. Turn Right follow TN 154 2.6 miles, park is on the left.
Pickett State Park—Northbound on I-75 take TN 63 west to U.S. 27, take 27 north to Oneida and follow TN 297 west to TN 154. Turn Right follow TN 154 2.6 miles, park is on the left.
Questions or comments about this website? Send me a message at: backpackcamp.