Hiking and Backpacking at LBL

The Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley areas offer countless opportunities for backpacking and hiking. With over 400 miles of trails, the LBL area offers some of the most scenic backpacking and hiking in all of Western Kentucky.

The Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley areas offer countless opportunities for backpacking and hiking near Land Between the Lakes. With over 400 miles of trails, the LBL area offers some of the most scenic backpacking and hiking in all of Western Kentucky.

Hiking near Kentucky Lake is such a unique experience. Here you can explore abandoned roads, walk along the peaceful shores of Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, or roam through the backwoods near the lakes. Many of the trails in the area are multi-use trails. Meaning not only is it open for hiking, but mountain biking, go for trail running, or even backwoods camping.

AboutKentuckyLake.com has basic information below about hiking and backpacking in the area. Before you plan your trip, we always recommend checking the official visitors websites and available guides for the latest information and policies.

Canal Loop Trail

The Canal Loop is a popular trail among local mountain bikers and hikers. It features a series of 3 loops connecting together to form a total of 11-miles of trail. If you don’t have time for the full loop, the shortest portion of the trail is just over 1-mile.

This trail is a must visit for any avid mountain biker or hiker alike. Overnight camping is allowed on the Canal Loop trail with a permit.

Trailhead: North Welcome Station

Central Hardwoods Scenic Trail

The Central Hardwoods Scenic Trail connects both Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. This is another trail that is multiple use for both mountain bikers and hikers.

The Central Hardwoods Scenic Trail has over 11 miles of trail. The majority of the trail is stone with the remaining parts being paved asphalt. Note that overnight camping is NOT allowed on this trail.

Trailhead: Cumberland and Parking Lots

Fort Henry Trails

The Fort Henry Trail system offers a number of trails throughout the southwestern portion of Land Between the Lakes.

Camping and backpacking is allowed along the Fort Henry Trails. You can mix and match your path throughout the trail system depending on which loops you take. The trail system also include public restrooms and picnic areas with grills.

Trailhead: South Welcome Station, Boswell Landing

Hillman Heritage National Recreation Trail

The Hillman Ferry Campground has ~5.5miles of trails throughout the area. The trails are open to the public for hiking and, in certain areas, biking.

The trail consists of a series of 4 loops taking you through the trail system.

Trailhead: Area A in Hillman Ferry or via Bohanan Loop

North End of North/South Trail

The North/South Trail runs along the entire length of Land Between the Lakes. The North End of the trail is a single track trail available for mountain biking, hiking, and backpacking.

This trail also offers overnight camping at a distance of 50 feet away from the main trail, although a permit is required (available at the North Welcome Station).

Trailhead: Golden Pond Visitor Center, North Welcome Station, Jenny Ridge Picnic Area