Daniel Boone National Forest
Named after the legendary American pioneer and frontiersman, the Daniel Boone National Forest, with its 708,000 acres of federally protected forest land, stunning sandstone cliffs, steep forested slopes and narrow ravines, still remains virtually unspoiled and in the naturally preserved state it was in when Boone first crisscrossed its terrain.
Home to more than 600 miles of connected hiking trails, mountain-biking trails, multiple off-road vehicle trails, world-class rock climbing, abundant wildlife, Kentucky’s biggest waterfall, three large pristine lakes, boating, jet skiing, water skiing, fishing, hunting, camping, swimming, horseback riding and more, the Daniel Boone National Forest in The Kentucky Wildlands offers endless possibilities for outdoor adventure.
Trails provide multiple connection points for hikes of all lengths and difficulty levels. Hundreds of miles of connected trails for mountain biking, horseback riding and appropriated off-road vehicle paths cross what the U.S. Department of Agriculture designates as “some of the most rugged terrain west of the Appalachian Mountains.” 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.
Cave Run Lake, Laurel River Lake and Lake Cumberland (known as the Houseboat Capital of the World) provide thousands of acres of world-class boating, jet skiing, tubing, water skiing, record-setting fishing and clear-water swimming. Enjoy multiple picnic areas and hundreds of secluded backcountry and RV-accessible campsites (electric and water hookups available).
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 to the top of Natural Bridge.
Much more to explore awaits within the Daniel Boone National Forest.
Photography of cascades: Christian Mansfield