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Daniel Boone National Forest
Daniel Boone National Forest
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Located in the Southeast region of the United States, the Daniel Boone National Forest encompasses the southern part of Kentucky and the northern portion of Tennessee. The destination’s namesake, Daniel Boone National Forest, is part of the Cumberland Plateau region, covering over two million acres of land in the heart of the destination.[1][6] Considering the number of natural sites that constitute the destination, outdoor activities are a relatively popular draw for tourism. Hiking and lake recreation are two particular pastimes that tend to pique the interest of travelers.[4] For those who gravitate more toward lake activities, Lake Cumberland can provide opportunities for such undertakings. The lake is found to the west of Daniel Boone National Forest and is said to be the “largest and most visited lake in the eastern United States.” The marinas around Lake Cumberland offer visitors rentals for stand-up paddle boards, ski boats, pontoons, and other watercraft.[5] Wildlife can also be found throughout Daniel Boone National Forest, as the site is home to 54 species and subspecies of mammals, in addition to 194 species of birds, 44 types of reptiles, 41 amphibians, and 150 fish.[1]

What Daniel Boone National Forest is known for

Daniel Boone National Forest, the namesake of the destination, constitutes 708,000 acres of federally owned land in the heart of the Daniel Boone National Forest Destination. The forest is chiefly known for being a focal point for tourism, as the site “serves a million or more visitors a year.” This is seemingly due to the many distinguishing features of the park, which are under federal protection in a 2,100,000-acre proclamation boundary.[1] Visitors who take an interest in the cultural and natural significance of eastern Kentucky can explore Daniel Boone National Forest’s 600 miles of trails, 2 federally recognized wildernesses, and over 250 recreation sites. A few specific outdoor activities that can be undertaken in the forest include fishing, camping, hiking, and wildlife viewing.[4] Some of the trails can also cater to horseback riders and mountain bikers. Furthermore, hunting tends to be relatively popular among travelers, as one particular location within the forest—the Pioneer Weapons Wildlife Management Area—is a designated area where hunters are permitted to utilize primitive weapons, namely bow and arrow, muzzleloaders, and crossbows. The previously noted recreation sites have a combined capacity to accommodate a total of 15,830 visitors.[1]

With regard to the water-based activities that can be enjoyed at Daniel Boone National Forest, boating, kayaking, scuba diving, canoeing, water skiing, tubing, and swimming are a few activities that are available in the forest’s lakes, rivers, and streams. The management of the national forest encourages tourists to be wary of cleanliness when entering and exiting the bodies of water in Daniel Boone National Forest as part of the efforts to avoid potential problems with invasive species. They ask that fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts clean their equipment before and after any activity in the lakes and rivers of the forest.[4]

Akin to Daniel Boone National Forest, Lake Cumberland—which can be found to the west of the destination’s namesake—offers a significant range of outdoor activities for tourists. Regarded as “one of the largest and most visited lakes in the eastern United States,” Lake Cumberland has gained the reputation of being a popular fishery and the “Houseboat Capital of the World.” The lake reportedly “boasts the largest fleet of rental boats in the country,” hence its unofficial deeming as a houseboat capital. Striped bass, crappie, bluegill, and catfish draw a considerable number of fishermen to the lake, and it should be noted as well that fishing boats and pontoons can be rented from the marinas that dot the lake’s shores. Ski boats, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards can be rented at these marinas as well. Moreover, over 1,200 miles of shoreline encompass the lake, where visitors can explore rocky cliffs and wooded coves.[5]


While the destination’s namesake is chiefly located in the state of Kentucky, the Daniel Boone National Forest Destination encompasses a portion of both southern Kentucky and northern Tennessee. The destination is located to the east of one of Tennessee’s prominent cities, Nashville, as well as one of Kentucky’s larger cities, Lexington, which is found to the north of the destination outside of its boundaries. A considerable fraction of the destination is composed of natural land, however, a few cities and towns are scattered throughout the region as well, such as Cookeville, Tennessee; Crossville Tennesse; Jamestown, Tennessee; Livingston, Tennessee; Columbia, Kentucky; Russell Springs, Kentucky; Somerset, Kentucky; London, Kentucky; and Williamsburg, Kentucky.

The Cumberland Plateau serves as the setting for Daniel Boone National Forest, characterized by wooded ridges, ravines, and 3,400 miles of sandstone cliffs. Proof of historic and prehistoric peoples is evident in structural remains and archaeological evidence from the rock shelters of the national forest. One particular area that reflects this geographically significant aspect of Daniel Boone National Forest is the Red River Gorge Geological Area—presumably known for its abundance of natural stone arches, unique rock formations, and sandstone cliffs. Notably, the USDA Forest Service designated the Red River Gorge Geological Area a geological area, as the name would suggest.[6]

One of the largest bodies of water in the Daniel Boone National Forest Destination is the aforementioned Lake Cumberland, located to the west of the namesake. Covering a surface area of over 60,000 acres of water, the lake extends across about 1,225 miles of shoreline. On account of it being a fishing and boating hub in the southern region of the United States, a number of lodging businesses and campgrounds are established in its vicinity, facilitating access to Lake Cumberland. The lake and its surrounding land can offer a fair amount of recreational pastimes, including hiking, birding, boating, fishing, disc golf, swimming, and geocaching. However, future visitors should be aware that some of these previously listed activities are unique to a specific area or lodging business near Lake Cumberland.[7] Wolf Creek Dam was added to the Cumberland River for flood control purposes in Russell County, ultimately creating Lake Cumberland. The formation of the Cumberland River took place on the Cumberland Plateau in proximity to the confluence of Poor and Clover forks in Harlan County, Kentucky. Meandering through Tennessee’s northern region, the Cumberland River joins the Ohio River after a 687-mile course at Smithland, Kentucky.[8]


Following the colonization of the Americas, what is now known as Daniel Boone National Forest was land on which the French and British tried to stake a claim due to its natural resources. The Shawnee tribe who lived around Ohio would utilize the northern portion of the land for seasonal hunting, while the southern portion was occupied by the Cherokee. In 1669, Rene Robert Cavelier was one of the first Europeans to explore the area, followed by Thomas Walker in 1750. Daniel Boone’s expedition, however, began in the late 1760s, intending to prepare for future settlement. More settlers began to take interest in the area upon the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, as they considered the lack of permanent inhabitants to be “financially attractive.” Mary Breckenridge—the founder of the Frontier Nursing Service—played a notable role in the development of Daniel Boone National Forest, as she remained in contact with National Forest Service leadership in hopes of achieving her goals of establishing a national forest and protecting the headwaters of the watershed of the Kentucky River. Eventually, in 1937, 409,567 acres comprised the Cumberland National Forest, a fraction of which is still presently part of the national forest. The forest service purchased more land, “empowered with stronger legislation and favorable public sentiment,” and in 1966, the site was renamed Daniel Boone National Forest.[9]

Until the start of the 20th century, extensive logging occurred in Daniel Boone National Forest, with a relatively high quantity of logs having been sent downstream for processing in sawmills that were established in Louisville, Nashville, Frankfort, and Cincinnati. As the rail industry developed in the area, the logging industry began to decline, reaching its peak in 1907. At the time, there was nearly one billion board feet of lumber production. In spite of its decline, the iron industry gained traction as well, considering the railroad advancements in the area. As such, crossties and lumber for bridge and rail car construction were supported through the extraction of charcoal in Daniel Boone National Forest.[1]


Snug Hollow Farm Bed and Breakfast is located in the woods near the city of Irvine, Kentucky, in the Appalachian area. The property covers about 300 acres of land that is characterized by woods, meadows, streams, and a diversity of bird species. Visitors can engage in several on-site outdoor activities including stargazing, wildlife viewing, fishing in the pond, or walking along the trails. Five hand-crafted cabins, one of which is the main farmhouse where breakfast is served, can be found on the premises. Each cabin is a relatively little house, featuring a half-kitchen, living room, and a porch with a dining area, swing, and rocking chairs, to name a few. The goal of the Snug Hollow Farm Bed and Breakfast is to provide its visitors with a quiet and private stay in the heart of Kentucky. 

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