by Kelley Roark and Stuart Carroll (Falcon Guides)
© 2016 Kelley Roark and Stuart Carroll/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
We started at the Folk Life Center in the afternoon. The view from the Folk Life Center is great because you are on top of a high hill overlooking Kentucky Lake. From the back of the Folk Life Center you begin a steady, at times steep, descent to reach river level (almost). Trails are blazed in a counter clockwise direction on the 5 mile loop. From there you stay fairly flat most of the way, crossing several creeks and creek beds. The area looks to be prone to flooding so be aware of river level and recent rains before you go. The creeks appeared clear and would have been good for filling up water bottles, provided you treat the water as the Ranger recommended. The last good water stop before proceeding up a steep hill to the 5 Mile Loop Shelter would have been at the bridge built for an Eagle Scout project.
The shelter was nice, but provided little shelter from the wind the night we were there. It faces Southwest so we had a great view of the sunset from on high. Firewood was scarce, but more was found past the campsite, down the trail.
The next day we hiked the rest of the 10 mile trail. When you get on the 10 mile loop you continue toward the river which is also counter clockwise as you look at the map. We found water about a mile from the shelter and very little after going through an area near the river that looks like it could have been a log loading area back in the day. That area was fairly swampy and could have been a mess if it had rained recently. From there you proceed up a steep grade of old macadam, overgrown with grass in many areas. Before you reach the Log Cabin, near the parking lot be sure to enjoy the view from the old homestead, over looking the river with a lush carpet of green moss.
The trail was in good shape, the staff were very helpful, both on the phone and in person. The few hills we climbed were fairly steep, but most hiking was around hills at river level or along ridgelines with wonderful views.
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