Variety Of LBL Trails Make This A Recreation Paradise
With more than 200 miles of trails winding their way through rolling woodlands and along isolated shorelines, no wonder the USDA Forest Service's Land Between The Lakes (LBL) National Recreation Area is a draw for out door enthusiasts of all types.
"Whether you like to hike, horseback ride, mountain bike, or ride an ATV, LBL has got a trail for you," said Matt Walker, LBL Recreation Technician in charge of Trails and OHV. "We offer something for just about everyone."
LBL's hiking trails are especially diverse. Visitors of all skill levels will find trails that meet their needs. More extensive hiking networks include the 65-mile-long North/South Trail; the 14-mile Canal Loop, which is a shared-use trail with mountain bikers; and the 26-mile Fort Henry system, which traces the path of General Grant's troops during the Civil War.
Each trail network has its own distinctive features, said Walker. "Canal Loop has a rugged beauty, North/South showcases LBL's diversity, and Fort Henry has Civil War history."
Shorter hiking trails wind through the Environmental Education Area near The Nature Station. These trails offer scenic beauty as well as educational opportunities. The longest, at 4.5 miles, is Honker Trail, which covers such varied terrain as woodlands, meadows, and the lakeshore. Center Furnace Trail, at .3 miles, is literally a walk through time, offering a glimpse at the region's role as a major iron ore producer in the early 19th century. Long Creek Trail, at .2 miles, is handicapped accessible.
Mountain bikers have fast discovered LBL; thanks in part to its newly expanded mountain bike trail system. Canal Loop was opened to mountain bike use in 1997, and offers some of the most challenging riding in the region. In fact, Canal Loop has been the site of several National Off-Road Bicycle Association (NORBA) sanctioned events in recent years.
Bikers wanting a less challenging ride can choose the Energy Lake Mountain Bike Trail, which covers scenic forest and lakeshore terrain and stretches approximately 14 miles. Jenny Ridge, at 12.5 miles, blends hilly terrain offering scenic vistas with less rugged portions through streams and forests. LBL's horseback riding trails have been newly expanded, as well.
With LBL's Wranglers Campground fast gaining a reputation as the region's premier horse camp, trail riders from around the country have begun descending on LBL in record numbers. Thus in 1997, LBL's horse trails were doubled from 40 miles to 80 miles. Horse trails depart from Wranglers and cover a variety of terrain, from woods to the lakeshore. Many also pass by historic sites, such as the ruins of the Laura Iron Furnace.
"Horseback riding is quickly growing in popularity, and LBL has fast become a center for trail riders," said Matt Edwards, LBL Recreation Technician in charge of Wranglers Campground. A variety of competitive events are held on LBL's horse trails each year, Edwards added.
Another fast-growing sport is the use of All-Terrain Vehicles, or ATV's. LBL has the first federally designated area set aside just for ATV use - the 2,500-acre Turkey Bay Off-Highway Vehicle Area. ATV enthusiasts from hundreds of miles away have long known about Turkey Bay and its varied and challenging landscape. Turkey Bay riders can splash through mud and water or ride up and down varied terrain. Turkey Bay is also an informal campground, and many visitors will make a weekend of their ATV experience.
"Trails are such an important part of LBL, and we're really proud of the variety of trail experiences we offer here," said Walker. "Our trails have really put us on the map, so to speak, but we hope our continuing efforts to expand and improve our trail systems will keep us there."
Land Between The Lakes is located in Western Kentucky and Tennessee, accessible from I-24. For more information on LBL's trails or to get a trail map, call 1-800-LBL-7077.
LBL TRAIL MAPS:
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