Exploring The Daniel Boone National Forest

The Daniel Boone National Forest, nestled within the state of Kentucky, is the ultimate camping getaway. Beautiful views, epic recreational opportunities, and an abundance of hidden gems make this the perfect camping destination.

With more than 708,000 acres of pristine wilderness, the Daniel Boone National Forest is home to lakes, waterfalls, forests, streams, arches, scenic byways, and stunning gorges. The forest boasts more than 600 miles of hiking trails, numerous mountain biking trails, excellent rock climbing, fishing, and endless opportunities for fun on the water. If you’re planning a camping trip to Kentucky, you won’t want to miss out on these spectacular features of the forest.

The Red River Gorge

Located in the Cumberland Ranger District, the Red River Gorge is a unique area known for it’s natural stone arches, strange rock formations, and impressive sandstone cliffs. The 900-foot Nada Tunnel is one way to enter the gorge. Built in the early 1900s as part of a logging road, this narrow tunnel is not only spectacular, but there are numerous claims that it’s haunted.

More than 100 natural arches can be found in this section of the forest. Sky Bridge, Double Arch, Grays Arch, Rock Bridge, Buffalo Arch, and Princess Arch are of a few of the more popular arches and are definitely worth the hike.

If you love being on the water, the Red River boasts some of the best canoeing in the eastern United States. If you prefer being on land, the Clifty Wilderness is a peaceful area featuring hiking trails, unique fauna, hemlock forests, and of course, cliffs.

Scenic Byways

Perhaps the best way to take in the gorgeous sights in the Daniel Boone National Forest is by car. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery along the Red River Gorge National Scenic Byway or the Zilpo National Forest Scenic Byway. With more than 600 miles of drivable road, you could days exploring this region of Kentucky (but we recommend you get out and adventure on foot on occasion).

Lakes

If your main goal is to spend a week on, in, or near the water, this could be your new favorite destination. There are three fantastic lakes located within the Daniel Boone National Forest; Cave Run Lake, Laurel River Lake, and Lake Cumberland. Cave Run is best known for its muskie fishing, Laurel River for its peaceful coves, and the 50,000-acre Lake Cumberland for i’s excellent year-round recreation both on and around the water.

Waterfalls

Live for waterfalls? You will find plenty of magic falls in the Daniel Boone National Forest. While some of the waterfalls are seasonal, you won’t have a problem finding a gorgeous hike that ends at a beautiful waterfall throughout the year. The most popular falls in the forest include Kellacey Falls, Dog Slaughter Falls (pictured above), Vanhook Falls, and Lick Creek Falls.

Where to Camp

Want to camp nearby? Check out Oh Kentucky Campground, a year-round park offering RV and tent camping, or Gabriel Fork Cabin, a quaint, remote cabin. Looking for more outdoor accommodations in Kentucky? Discover your next campground, cabin, or resort on Camp Native!

Jessica Goehring title: Administrator
Jessica is a freelance writer. She resides in Minnesota with her husband, dog, and 6 cats. In her free time she enjoys reading, traveling, and being President of the Introvert Club.