Daniel Boone National Forest
|Laurel River Lake in the fall.|
The intricate topography, lush forests, and ample water features make Daniel Boone National Forest a constantly entertaining area to explore.
Zilpo Road is a short and sweet nine miles across forested ridges to sizeable Cave Run Lake and the Zilpo Recreation Area. Along the way you have the option of stopping in at the Pioneer Weapons Hunting Area, which is noted for its abundant wildlife and Clear Creek Recreation Area. Bring your hiking boots and daypacks for leg stretchers along the Sheltowe Trace National Recreation Trail and the Tater Knob Trail. It's a short but colorful drive from Somerset to Stearns via US-27. Begin your drive with the brilliant colors reflected on the waters of Lake Cumberland. If time permits, a picnic at General Burnside State Park, the state's only island park, could be a perfect addition to your travel plans. Then drive south through the brightly dappled hills of the forest. Once in Stearns, take the Big South Fork Scenic Railway, a narrated eleven-mile, open-air excursion. At the end of the line is the Blue Heron Mining Community, a recreated '30s and '40s mining town. The skeleton structures in this tiny village feature life-sized photos of past residents and taped oral histories. From the bridge over the roaring Cumberland River at Blue Heron, the view is breathtaking. While you are in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, you can take advantage of miles of hiking and horseback riding trails, developed and primitive camping sites, and many other outdoor activities.
Corbin, just east of Laurel River Lake and the forest, is just off I-75. Here you can visit the original restaurant where Colonel Harland Sanders created Kentucky Fried Chicken. Take the US-25E south to Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. Along the way are the Dr. Thomas Walker State Historic Site, Pine Mountain State Resort Park, and the Kentucky Ridge State Forest. At Cumberland Gap, stop at the Pinnacle Overlook for a breathtaking view of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. The Hensley Settlement is a chance to see what isolated farmsteads of the early 1900s were like.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication