DescriptionDaniel Boone National Forest runs along the Cumberland Plateau in the Appalachian foothills of eastern Kentucky. The forest encompasses more than 708,000 acres of mostly rugged terrain, including towering sandstone cliffs, steep forested ridges and narrow, low-lying ravines. Natural stone arches, waterfalls and caves are among the forest's exceptional geological features.
Visitors appreciate the recreation, scenic beauty and abundant wildlife in the forest. Popular features include Cave Run Lake, Laurel River Lake, the Red River Gorge Geological Area, Clifty Wilderness Area, Beaver Creek Wilderness and Wildlife Management Area, and the Natural Arch Scenic Area. Two state parks fall within the forest: Cumberland Falls State Resort Park and Natural Bridge Resort Park near the Red River Gorge in Slade .
Mature pine and hardwood trees grow on lands once cleared by logging, mining and farming. This diverse forest provides a suitable habitat for wild turkeys, quails, songbirds, white-tailed deer and other mammals as well as 23 threatened and endangered species of plants and animals. The forest also fosters the growth of a variety of rare flowering plants, including the wild white fringeless orchid and the white-haired golden rod.
Some of the recreational opportunities include camping, picnicking, hiking and boating. The approximately 290-mile Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail bisects the length of the forest running north to south. Hikers and other trail users are rewarded with unforgettable scenery in addition to sightings of birds and other animals. More than 600 miles of trails, along with an abundance of rivers and streams, offer quiet escapes. Mountain biking, horseback riding and off-road vehicles are allowed along designated sections of trail.
Among the highlights of the Red River Gorge National Scenic Byway are the natural geologic features, including sandstone arches carved over millions of years. Trails lead to these geological landmarks and also to picturesque waterfalls. The 11-mile Zilpo National Forest Scenic Byway runs through the forest near Cave Run Lake and provides views of the native landscape and wildlife. In the southern region of the forest, sections of the Wilderness Road Heritage Highway and the Cumberland Cultural Heritage Byway transect through the national forest.
A recreation fee is required in most areas. Kentucky state boating, fishing and hunting regulations apply. For additional information contact the Forest Supervisor's Office, Daniel Boone National Forest, 1700 Bypass Rd., Winchester, KY 40391; phone (859) 745-3100.
Things to SeeGladie Cultural-Environmental Learning Center