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In the Daniel Boone National Forest, the Sheltowee Trace is considered the “backbone” of an expansive interconnecting trail system. Many other trails link to the Sheltowee Trace. Some trail connections provide loops for a short day hike, while others offer opportunities for multiple days of recreational challenge.
Come and explore nature along the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail. This trail traverses nearly 290 miles across narrow ridges and deep ravines. The trail is open year round, so you can enjoy outdoor adventure in every season.
From north to south, the trail travels from the Knobs region to the Cumberland Plateau in southern and eastern Kentucky. Old homesteads, oil and gas wells and logging tracts can be seen along the trail, representing the remnants of past land uses that have occurred over time.
In 1979, the Sheltowee Trace was officially dedicated as part of the Daniel Boone National Forest trail system. The trail is named in honor of Daniel Boone. Sheltowee (pronounced shel-toe-ee) is the name given to Boone by Chief Blackfish of the Shawnee tribe, meaning “Big Turtle.”
White diamonds bearing the image of a turtle mark the trail route. Trail junctions may also be marked with the national recreation trail symbol as shown on the map.
Hiking is allowed on the entire trail. The terrain is mostly rugged, so be prepared for strenuous travel in some areas. Horses, mountain bikes and off-highway vehicles less than 50 inches wide are permitted, but only on sections designated for those uses. Trail signs will indicate use permitted. You can customize the length and difficulty level of your trip by incorporating recreation areas and using trailhead parking lots along the route.