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Land Between The Lakes
Outdoor Recreation Area Handbook
This comprehensive guide covers everything you can do at this 170,000-acre recreation destination, encircled on three sides by water, including fishing, boating, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and historic study. Land Between The Lakes is located in Kentucky and Tennessee about 100 miles northwest of Nashville.
Chris and William with LBL book in Iraq. They are both on the cover of the book!
Sea Kayaking at Land Between The Lakes
Land Between the Lakes Recreation Overview
Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area truly lives up to its name. Recreation opportunities abound, whether they be camping, fishing, hiking, nature study, horseback riding, swimming, mountain biking, historical study, pleasure boating, scenic driving, wildlife observation, paddling, road biking and off road vehicle driving.
Though the size of LBL is an impressive 170,000 acres, the vast lake acreage on either side of the land broadens opportunities here. But first, let’s start with the land. Here, we see the unique features of Land Between The Lakes. They are more than just land and more than just lakes. In the south, there is The Homeplace, a living history farm where interpreters dressed in period clothing lives as area residents did back in the 1850s. The Bison Range is nearby. Here, one of two herds of buffalo live and reproduce where they once did centuries ago. The Golden Pond Planetarium at the main visitor center offers a glimpse into the night sky, explaining that which lies beyond earth. The Elk and Bison Prairie is a restored “barren” where elk and bison live in an ecosystem like western Kentucky was before the Untied States was a country. The Nature Station is an environmental education area where visitors interact with the animals of LBL. On site staff explain how the land and animals form the web of life, and lead guided events exploring different threads in this web, including such activities as eagle watching tours.
It is on the land where we can camp. Nine developed campgrounds complement the nearly limitless backcountry camping opportunities. Campers can enjoy hot showers, or rough it. Or they camp with like-minded folks, as the equestrians do a Wranglers Camp. The horseback riders also enjoy their own trail system, with nearly 100 miles of bridle paths.
Other trail enthusiasts will find pathways for them. Hikers and mountain bikers can enjoy the North/South Trail, the master path of the LBL trail system. This trail runs over 60 miles along the peninsula between the lakes. Many paths spur off the North/South Trail. Other trail systems lie within the recreation area confines. The Fort Henry Trails run among the hills and hollows of the south end, allowing hikers to retrace the footsteps of Civil War soldiers who fought here, as do the nearby Fort Donelson National Battlefield Trails. The Nature Station Trails are complemented with environmental education opportunities along their paths. The Canal Loop Trails are developed for mountain bikers. Road bikers pedal the many paved roads of LBL.
And there are the lakes. A canal links Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkely, making them one of the largest man made bodies of water in the world. It is on these lakes where anglers vie for crappie, bass, bluegill and catfish. Fishing is big here. LBL has 16 lake access areas, in addition to boat ramps at campgrounds, that make getting on the water easy. Others will be getting on the water simply to boat, or swim, and enjoy cool water on a hot day. A few others will be paddling by canoe or sea kayak, looking out on the 300 miles of undeveloped shoreline that LBL offers. Other smaller lakes and ponds lie within the confines of LBL, adding more scenic fishing, swimming and paddling opportunities.
All the above activities are detailed in this book. Yet there is more: visitors can picnic, they can backpack, they can hunt, and they can camp together in group facilities. Also, area state parks and nearby accommodations and services in area towns are detailed, including B&Bs, outfitters and tourism contacts. This book will spare readers the tiring and sometimes frustrating research of the Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area and leave them time to enjoy all the beauty this swath of Tennessee and Kentucky has to offer.