Daniel Boone National Forest
Once known as Cumberland National Forest but later named after the legendary American pioneer and frontiersman, Daniel Boone National Forest features 708,000 expansive acres of federally protected U.S. Forest Service land full of stunning sandstone cliffs, rock bridges, steep forested slopes and narrow ravines. Even better, this land still remains virtually unspoiled in a naturally preserved state similar to when Boone first crisscrossed its rugged terrain.
But today, that same terrain also offers an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities across four ranger districts (Cumberland, London, Redbird and Stearns) spanning 21 counties through parts of South-Central and Eastern Kentucky. There are so many things to see and do in Daniel Boone National Forest!
Hiking & Rock Climbing
Home to more than 600 miles of connected hiking trails, mountain biking trails and multiple off-road-vehicle trails, Daniel Boone National Forest also offers world-class rock climbing, abundant wildlife, Kentucky’s biggest waterfall, three large pristine lakes, hunting, horseback riding and more.
Featuring names inspired by the area’s stunning geography – like Rock Bridge Trail and Sky Bridge Trail – trails here provide convenient access points for hikes of multiple lengths and abilities. Hundreds of connected trails for mountain biking, horseback riding and off-road vehicles cross what the U.S. Department of Agriculture calls “some of the most rugged terrain west of the Appalachian Mountains.” The forest also boasts Kentucky’s longest trail system: Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail.
The Red River Gorge Geological Area is known as a premier climbing area, affectionately referred to by rock climbers the world over as “The Red,” with 1,600-plus bolted traditional and sport routes available for all experience levels.
Lakes & Camping
Cave Run Lake, Laurel River Lake and Lake Cumberland (known as the Houseboat Capital of the World) provide multiple marinas, boat ramps and thousands of acres for boating, canoeing, jet skiing, tubing, water skiing, scuba diving, record-setting fishing and clear-water swimming.
Cozy cabin rentals with modern amenities abound, along with plentiful tent and RV camping sites with electric and water hookups. Multiple picnic areas add to the area’s appeal.
Parks & Lodges
For an extended getaway, DuPont Lodge at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park and Hemlock Lodge at Natural Bridge State Resort Park provide relaxing accommodations surrounded by scenic beauty. Both parks offer outdoor activities, such as hiking, birding and fishing, as well as breathtaking opportunities to explore unique natural wonders, such as rafting below the 69-foot, river-spanning Cumberland Falls and riding the Sky Lift up to Natural Bridge.
When you’re ready to explore the forest, the forest is ready for you! Find more information at fs.usda.gov/dbnf.
While you are here, be sure to check out the Daniel Boone National Forest Gladie Visitor Center at 3451 Sky Bridge Road/KY Route 715 in Stanton. For more information, call 606-663-8100 or 859-488-1413.