Sheltowee Trace Trail

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Sheltowee Trace Trail
Sheltowee Trace Red River Suspension Bridge.jpg
Hiker crossing the Red River
Length 323 miles (520 km)
Location Kentucky and Tennessee
Designation National Recreation Trail
Trailheads Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Tennessee
Rowan County, Kentucky
Use Hiking
Hiking details
Trail difficulty Easy to strenuous
Season Year-round
Hazards Severe weather
American black bear
Tick-borne diseases
Biting flies
Steep grades
Limited water
Diarrhea from water
Poison ivy
Venomous snakes

The Sheltowee Trace Trail is a 323-mile (519.82 km) National Recreation Trail that was created in 1979 and stretches from the Burnt Mill Bridge Trail Head in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in Tennessee to northern Rowan County, Kentucky. The trail is named after Daniel Boone, who was given the name Sheltowee (meaning "Big Turtle") when he was adopted as the son of the great warrior Chief Blackfish of the Shawnee tribe.[1]

The trail is primarily in the Daniel Boone National Forest, but also takes visitors through the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, Natural Bridge State Resort Park, two large recreation lakes (Cave Run Lake and Laurel Lake), and many wildlife management areas. All but the southernmost 45 miles (72.42 km) are in Kentucky.

The trail is multi-use with certain sections, allowing horses, mountain bikes and all-terrain vehicless in some designated sections. Using off-road motorcycles, SUVs, 4x4, ATVs and even mountain bikes in certain areas can result in equipment confiscation and fines. While the southern terminus was moved in 2014, the trail into Pickett State Park remains open for those that wish to exit on that trail or wish to walk further down the scenic Rock Creek.


  1. ^ Manning, Russ (2000). 100 Trails of the Big South Fork: Tennessee and Kentucky. The Mountaineers Books. p. 204. 

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