Hiking at Kentucky Lake & Lake Barkley

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Kentucky Lake Area Hiking Trails

We've ranked the best hiking trails around Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. The vast majority of the best trails are in Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area.

1. Hematite Lake Trail

By far our favorite hiking trail. At just 2.2 miles, this easy trail goes around gorgeous Hematite Lake.

Located near The Nature Station, this easy walk around Hematite Lake offers a chance to see migratory waterfowl and other wildlife. 

Bring a picnic to enjoy at one of our picnic tables at the trail head.

Length: 2.2 miles Rating: Easy to Moderate
Trail Map

2. Lake Bridges

We couldn't possibly forget about our newest trails! Eggners Ferry Bridge at Aurora features a hike/bike path that crosses Kentucky Lake. Parking areas are located on either side of the bridge and offers a spectacular view of Kentucky Lake.

The Lake Barkley bridge at Canton is nearly identical to Eggners Ferry Bridge. Perhaps a bit easier to walk on the east side of the bridge due to a gentle slope, the trail crosses Lake Barkley with parking on either side of the bridge.

The east side of the Lake Barkley bridge features interpretive historical markers about the site near the bridge.

Together, these two bridges connect to the next trail on our list...

3. Central Hardwoods Scenic Trail

This new trail runs roughly parallel of US 68 / KY 80 in LBL.  2.5 miles of the eastern portion from Lake Barkley to near the former site of Golden Pond has been paved.  The other 8.5 miles is gravel and runs from the former site of Golden Pond to near Kentucky Lake at Fenton.  There are several access points and features 12 bridges along the trail. This trail connects to the new bridges across Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. 

Length:  11 miles Rating:  Easy to Moderate
Trail Map

4. Center Furnace Trail

Embarking from the ruins of the Center Iron Furnace near The Nature Station, this easy walk is marked with interpretive signs, offering a glimpse of the bustling industry that thrived in the region 150 years ago.

Length: 0.3 miles  Rating: Easy
Trail Map

5. Long Creek National Recreation Trail

Located near The Nature Station, this paved trail is accessible to visitors with physical disabilities.

Length: 0.2 mile paved  Rating: Easy
Trail Map

6. Canal Loop Trail

In the north end, this series of connecting trails provides walks ranging from 1.5 miles to 14 miles.  One of the most popular trails, because it offers spectacular lake views and the opportunity for short walks.

Length: 14 miles  Rating: Easy to Moderate  Elevation change: 80 feet
Trail Map

7. Honker Trail

Located near The Nature Station in the heart of the Environmental Education Area, this trail winds around Honker Lake through a variety of habitats:  dense forest, meadows, and along the lakeshore.  Be sure to watch for the resident flock of Giant Canada Geese which nest in the area and give the trail its name!

Length: 4.5 miles Rating: Moderate
Trail Map 

8. Woodland Walk

An easy, wooded trail winding through the forests and along the shoreline of Honker Lake.  Enjoy a picnic at the trail head's picnic shelter!

Length: 1.0 mile  Rating: Easy
Trail Map

9. North South Trail

Take the grand tour!  This trail spans the entire length of LBL and ranges from rugged, hilly terrain in the north to more smooth hiking in the south.  Portions are accessible from The Trace for those wishing to hike a section of the trail.

Length: 65 miles  Rating: Moderate to Strenuous Elevation change: 200 feet
North Trail Map
 - South Trail Map

10. Fort Henry National Recreation Trail

Located in the south end of LBL, Fort Henry is a system of 10 connecting trails totaling 26 miles. The trail follows closely the route of General Grant's troop movements from Fort Henry to Fort Donelson during the Civil War.

Length: 26 miles  Rating: Moderate  Elevation change: 100 feet
Trail Map

Other Lakes Area Trails