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jay

Anyone hiked the Sheltowee Trace in Daniel Boone National Forest?

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jay

Am thinking of doing a portion of this trail and was curious if anyone here had any information regarding it?  No sure how heavily trafficked it is and would prefer part of it that is not heavily used, if possible.  Any input would be appreciated, thanks.

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Mark

I hiked several sections of the Sheltowee Trace when I lived in Kentucky, but only as 1-2 night trips. Here are some quick thoughts:

- The most trafficked part of the ST is in the Red River Gorge area. It is an exceptionally beautiful area, but sees a lot of visitation especially on weekends. There are some good loops you can do in the Red River Gorge using parts of the ST, or hike it as a section, but if you do that you miss some of the amazing adjacent scenery. 

- I think the area near London, KY around Van Hook Falls (parking above Laurel River Lake off Hwy. 192) is absolutely gorgeous and is one of the prettiest hikes in the state. That said, it is best suited to a leisurely weekend or overnight trip (a 12-mile partial loop is a great option for this). The section north of Cumberland Falls State Park is also beautiful as well. Hiking from Cumberland Falls State Park to a point north (ideally past Van Hook Falls) would be a good trip.

- For longer backpacking trips with a high likelihood of solitude, you'd definitely want to consider the section of the Sheltowee Trace (as well as other trails) in the Big South Fork area of Kentucky/Tennessee. Amazing landscape, trails are usually in pretty good shape, and not a lot of people. If I were to plan a backpacking trip back to Kentucky (I live in Montana now), the Big South Fork is where I would want to go.

Hope this helps, I'd be happy to answer any other questions but it has been 5 or more years since I've hiked most of those trails so my information is a bit out of date.

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jay

Thanks for the info, it gives me a great starting point.  One of my pet peeves on hikes is feeling like I am not so much in nature as in a herd.  I am a big fan of solitude when I hike.

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wspscott

The southern end of the Sheltowee through Big South Fork is a great place for solitude. It is very scenic and you could probably hike 50 miles without seeing anyone if you were hiking in the middle of the week. Check out the part between Honey Creek in TN and Blue Heron in KY.

Happy to answer any questions or provide more details

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jay

that’s perfect, just what i am looking for.  thanks!

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wspscott

The Nat Geo map gives a pretty good overview of BSF. I have a couple trip reports on my blog if you want some ideas

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jay

yea, that would be most excellent.  Greatly appreciated!

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jay

awesome, i looked the area up online but only for a general idea of the location.  i notice that there are a number of small streams there.  do you think the water could be filtered and safe to drink?  several areas near me in ohio you can’t drink the water due to mining chemicals still in the water.

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wspscott

I never thought about it, there was mining in parts of BSF (Blue Heron) and there were oil wells in other parts, but a lot of it looks like it was just farm land gone back to forest. A couple gallons of filtered water probably won't kill you :) 

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