Sheltowee Trace Trail

Gear up for approximately 325 miles of breathtaking backcountry adventure on the connected hiking and mountain biking trails of the Sheltowee Trace Trail, Kentucky’s longest trail system. Stretching northward from the Tennessee border through the mountainous Big South Fork National River & Recreational Area and spanning the densely wooded Daniel Boone National Forest, the Sheltowee Trace Trail provides numerous access points, trail lengths and difficulty levels for a wide range of hiking experiences.

Though most of the Sheltowee Trace Trail hiking would be considered moderate, there are treks involving some steep climbs and drops over untamed rugged terrain, along narrow ridges through deep gorges and below towering cliffs. Trekking along scenic marked pathways on what the USDA Forest Service calls the “trail system backbone of the Daniel Boone National Forest.”, hikers can take advantage of connected local looping trails for shorter, leisurely nature strolls and rides, more challenging day excursions or connecting thru-hikes.

Discover incredible natural wonders all along the Sheltowee Trace, such as crossable natural sandstone bridges and numerous waterfalls, including Cumberland Falls, known as the “Niagara of the South” and its one-of-a-kind moonbow (a rainbow generated by a full moon). Beautifully rugged scenery and spectacular vistas greet you at every mile with the views changing with the seasons. Waterfalls and wildflowers are at their peak in spring while cool nights and tremendous fall color come with hikes in the fall.

You can stake out a trailside campsite, as primitive camping is allowed along the trail. And you can stop off at a connecting Trail Town for local dining, shopping, supplies and lodging in a historic downtown, including the picturesque Trail Town of Morehead where the Sheltowee Trace runs right down Main Street or historic Stearns, where you can enjoy a delicious dinner at the Whistle Stop Cafe and maybe catch some trivia. 

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