Daniel Boone National Forest

The Daniel Boone National Forest is located along the Cumberland Plateau in the Appalachian foothills of eastern Kentucky. The forest encompasses over 707,000 acres of mostly rugged terrain. The land is characterized by steep forested ridges dissected by narrow ravines and over 3,400 miles of sandstone cliffs. Daniel Boone is comprised of four ranger districts: Cumberland, London, Stearns and Redbird. A portion of the Redbird district rests within Owsley County.

The Redbird district features: Redbird Crest Trail of nearly 100 miles of recreation for off-highway vehicle use, hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking; Big Double Creek Picnic Area and Cawood Recreation Area to picnic in the cool shade of creekside woodlands; and Redbird Wildlife Management Area.

Millions of visitors come to enjoy the scenic beauty and abundant wildlife that the forest has to offer. Cave Run Lake and Laurel River Lake are popular attractions of the forest. Other special areas include the Red River Gorge Geological Area, Natural Arch Scenic Area, Clifty Wilderness, Beaver Creek Wilderness, and five wildlife management areas.

Over 600 miles of trails provide a quiet escape to more remote places within the forest. Hikers, horseback riders and other trail users get back to nature along the 269-mile Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail that extends the entire length of the Daniel Boone. Hundreds of miles of winding rivers and streams provide the finishing touch in outdoor beauty.

Come and discover what you've been missing. Daniel Boone National Forest is nature's best in southern and eastern Kentucky.

Daniel Boone National Forest Attractions

Daniel Boone National Forest surrounds or contains a variety of popular and notable features, including:
  • One of the world's largest concentrations of caves
  • Cave Run Lake
  • Laurel River Lake
  • Buckhorn Lake
  • Red River Gorge Geologic Area - popular with hikers, campers, and rock climbers
  • Sheltowee Trace Trail
  • Natural Bridge State Park
  • Yahoo Arch
  • Yahoo Falls
  • Cumberland Falls
  • There are two areas designated as Wilderness:
  • Clifty Wilderness
  • Beaver Creek Wilderness
Owsley County and the Daniel Boone National Forest are a haven to many species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and other wildlife including: black bears, deer, bobcats, chipmunks, squirrels, elk, fox, shrews, voles, opossums, skunks, raccoons, rabbits, wild turkeys, woodchucks, songbirds, hawks, owls, eagles, bats, vultures, hummingbirds, turtles, snakes, lizards, frogs, toads, salamanders and treefrogs.

The forest consists of sloping hills, ridge top flats, narrow valleys, hardwood forests, bottom wildlands and miles of rivers and streams.

Daniel Boone National Forest Recreation Activities

The Daniel Boone National Forest is one of the most heavily used forests in the South, with over 5 million visitors annually. People come here to backpack, camp, picnic, rockclimb, boat, ride and relax. The forest contains three large lakes (Cave Run Lake, Laurel River Lake and Lake Cumberland), many rivers and streams, two wilderness areas, and the 269-mile Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail that extends across the length of the forest.

Abundant wildlife, lush vegetation, magnificent scenery, and numerous recreation opportunities offer visitors much to enjoy. Please practice Trail Safety and Leave No Trace to make your visit safe and enjoyable while protecting resources we all enjoy.

Most national forest system lands are open, free of charge for your use and enjoyment. Entrance and user fees may be charged at some areas.

Recreational Activities:
  • Auto Touring
  • Biking
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Historic & Cultural Sites
  • Horseback Riding
  • Interpretive Programs
  • Off Highway Vehicles
  • Picnicking
  • Recreational Vehicles
  • Visitor Centers
  • Water Sports
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Winter Sports
  • Photography
  • Small Towns

Daniel Boone National Forest Redbird District Attractions

  • Redbird Crest Trail
The Redbird Crest Trail System is a 100 mile trail system which is located in Clay and Leslie counties. The trail generally follows the ridgetops. Some parts may be steep and rough. Some areas are so narrow that only single track vehicles can drive on them.

It is a multiple-use trail, which means that hikers, horses, mountain bikes, motorcycles and ATV's under 50 inches wide are welcome. One portion of the route on Sand Hill Road is open to licensed vehicles only.

The trail is marked with orange-painted, diamond-shaped blazes spaced no further than 1/10th of a mile. Trail symbols are used at road intersections and as a reminder. Intersecting trails are identified with signs.
  • Redbird Wildlife Management Area
Redbird Wildlife Management Area is hilly to steep with gentle slopes in bottomlands and on ridge tops; mostly forested with approximately 100 acres of openings and 25 miles of improved hiking trails. No developed facilities. Mobility impaired access to permit holders on designated area, which is currently the Redbird Crest Trail.
  • Big Double Creek
A picnic area is located near Big Double Creek. The picnic area contains two large fields suitable for baseball, volleyball, football, and kickball. There are also in-ground grills, picnic tables and toilet facilities. It is suitable for community picnics, family outings, reunions, weddings, birthdays, and school events. There are no developed trails in the area, but lots of room to explore.
  • Cawood Recreation Area
A picnic area is by a hemlock shaded creek at an old Civilian Conservation Corps Camp. Cawood Picnic area is also used for weddings, birthdays, church socials, reunions and Boy Scout outings. In-ground and pedestal grills, picnic tables, horse shoe pits and toilet facilities are available. There are no developed trails in the area, but lots of room to explore.
  • Monkey Hollow Wildlife Sanctuary
World Animal Foundation's Monkey Hollow Wildlife Sanctuary offers a unique vacation opportunity for nature, wildlife and companion animal lovers. Experience Wonderfully Wild, Breathtakingly Beautiful Oneida, Kentucky. Situated on 28 acres along the Cumberland Plateau in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky, the sanctuary is nestled in the Daniel Boone National Forest and provides habitat for wildlife: large, small, endangered and common. It is also home to the World Animal Foundation Animal Orphanage housing dogs and cats available for adoption.

During your stay at Monkey Hollow's Cabins, experience a diverse array of forest, aquatic, wetland, and upland habitats. Bring your camera: the sanctuary is a safe haven to many species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and other wildlife. Friendly dogs and cats are welcome. A dog park is available at the sanctuary. A limited number of primitive tent camping locations are also available on the property........more

For Details of Other Daniel Boone National Forest Districts Visit www.DanielBooneNationalForest.org