Friday, November 18, 2011

Hike 2011.083 -- Kenlake State Resort Park

Hiked Friday, November 18. After a very wet and/or blustery week, today was the first sunny morning in quite a while. Temperatures reached into the mid-50s, warmer than it's been since Monday.

However, since I wasn't feeling in top hiking mood, I took it easy. I drove into Kenlake State Resort Park for the first time. This park lies on the west shore of Kentucky Lake, right where the US68/KY80 bridge crosses the lake. As a "Resort Park," this means the park is developed with hotels, cottages, a marina, a golf course, and tennis courts.

Tucked among all of that are a couple of pockets of relatively undeveloped forest. Two short loop trails ("Cherokee trail" and "Chicasaw trail") provide less than 1.4 miles of trail. I walked one of the loops twice, and also walked along the shoulder of a couple or road segments twice to accumulate my three mile minimum to qualify as a hike.

From the hotel, facing towards the parking lot, one access point to the Cherokee Trail is to the far right end of the lot. There's a sign there. This trail drops in two switchbacks into a small hollow. A powerline right of way also cuts through here, so you've got a narrow clearing to view along those towers.

After the switchbacks, you have a choice of either heading straight (more or less easterly) or make a sharp turn down and to your left (more or less westerly). A water pipeline cuts across this holler.

This being a loop, one way is as good as another. Either way, you're surrounded by trees and have no sight of the nearby lake. You will see the hotel or other out buildings above you, and the road is also nearby. Also, which ever way you go, after about 1/4 mile, you'll reach a trailmarker with two icons: A hiker and a bed. Following the bed would take you back to the hotel, while following the hiker takes you up towards a road. Once at road level, you could cross and head a bit to the southwest to access the Chicasaw trail.

This picture here, taken fromt he road, shows the northern Cherokee trailhead to the right, and the Chicasaw trailhead to the left, in the distance.

The names, incidentally, are from the Chicasaw, who once lived here, and the Cherokee, a portion of which walked through this area during their "Trail of Tears" forced march from Georgia and points to the southeast towards Oklahoma.

The Chicasaw trail gives a slightly higher path, though, again, there's a split, and either way will loop you down into a gully before bringing you back up. This trail appears to have been truncated, so there are "Trail Closed" signs at about this trail's midpoint.

In addition to walking these loops (the former trail, twice), I also hiked towards a tall watertower. It had a spiral staircase that climbs to the top, and would have provided a great view of the area. But access to the watertower appears not to be permitted.

I also walked down the road toward Cottages #260-275, going past the last of the cottages for a view of Kentucky Lake. There's supposed to be a trail that runs past the last of these cottages, but I did not see it. It's either down near the water level or no longer open.

An easy 3 to 3.3 miles for the day. Along the way, I repeatedly spooked a trio of deer.


  1. Very nice. And very different from the San Gabriels.

  2. Thanks. It's been a very different last four months or so of hiking in western Kentucky instead of southern California.

    Still hoping to complete my second consecutive 100 hike year, but it's going to be tight. 41 more days to do 16 hikes is nearly one every other day, particularly after you take out travel days, rain days and family event days that get thick near the end of the year. I'm going to need a run of good weather to succeed!

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