Camp Kentucky had a chance to connect with Kimberly to talk about the Daniel Boone National Forest. She gave us some insights on the huge park from recreation activities to the best places to camp in Daniel Boone National Forest.
Get To Know Daniel Boone National Forest
When was the Daniel Boone National Forest Founded
The Daniel Boone National Forest was founded in 1937. It was originally named the Cumberland National Forest but was renamed in 1966 after the adventurous frontiersman who explored most of Kentucky. As a national forest (unlike a park), Daniel Boone Forest is spread across 21 counties of eastern Kentucky. The 708,000 acres of national forest land are intermingled with state and private land in these counties, which significantly increases tourism/economic opportunities for local communities.
What are the most popular activities in the forest
There are so many recreational activities and opportunities at Daniel Boone National Forest. Camping, hiking, and fishing are just a few of the many popular activities. The forest has more than 600 miles of trail that are managed for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking and off-highway vehicle use in designated sections. Swimming and boating in the numerous rivers, lakes and streams through out the park is also popular. Many people come to walk around the forest for all of the nature viewing from thousands of plants to the abundant wildlife and breathtaking scenery.
What are the best family camping areas at Daniel Boone National Forest?
There are three districts that offer camping in the forest, Cumberland, London Ranger, and Stearns District. Camping in the national forest can range from back country to RV sites. If looking for a place to camp with your family, here are the best places to camp:
Clear Creek Campground – Has parking available at the campground with tent and camping trailer accessible sites. There are no hookups but the spaces can fit a 30 ft RV. Each campsite has a fire ring and picnic table. The campground has toilets, vaulted toilets and running water.
Twin Knobs Recreation Area – Is a 700 acre campground at Cave Run Lake, with nearly 200 campsites to accommodate RVs and tent camping. Parking is available at the campsites. There are bathhouses with showers on on premises. Being on the lake their is a sandy beach for swimming and a boat ramp. Plus 3 group camping sites to reserve.
Zilpo Recreation Area – Another campground on Cave Run Lake, this site is 300 acres and has sites for tent camping and RV hookup. There are also basic rental cabins that sleep up to 7, with beds, table, porch, accessible ramp entrance and picnic tables. There are bathhouses with showers and water facilities. There is also an nice sandy beach and swimming area in the campground.
Koomer Ridge Campground – Located near the Red River Gorge, this campground offers semi primitive camping sites for tents and RV’s. There is no electrical hook ups but there are vault toilets, bathhouses and showers. The campground offers parking plus 54 tent sites and 19 trailer sites.
London Ranger District
Grove Drive-In Campground – This campground is located on a wooded ridge above Laurel River Lake. Parking is available at the campsites which can accommodate both tent and RV’s. Each site has a paved vehicle pad, gravel tent pad, fire ring, picnic table and lantern poles. The drive-in sites have electricity and water. Plus the campground has bathhouses with showers and running water. There are 6 great hiking trails in the campground with access to the lake.
Holly Bay Campground – It has wooded sites near Laurel River Lake. The campground has 28 sites that may be reserved. All other campsites are on a first-come, first-served basis. There are 75 drive-in sites and 19 walk-in sites. It offers both tent and RV camping that are equipped with a paved vehicle pad, gravel tent pad, fire ring, picnic table, and lantern poles. The drive-in sites have electricity and water.
Bee Rock Campground – It has developed campsites on both sides of the Rockcastle River, 19 on the west side and 8 on the east. The east side is open year round; the west side is open from mid-April to mid-October. Each site has a tent pad, fire ring and picnic table. There are also vault toilets and centrally located water.
Rockcastle Campground – Most of the 27 campsites are designed for tent camping, although a few are large enough to accommodate pop-up campers. Each site has a tent pad, grill, picnic table, and lantern poles. The sites are near the water’s edge. There are vault toilets available for patrons. Some of the most popular hiking trails on the London Ranger District lead from this campground.
S-Tree Campground – This campground has 20 sites, mostly for tent campers. There are some great hiking trails near the campground. Parking is available at the campground and sites include a picnic table, tent pad, grill and lantern pole. No electricity or dump station is available at the campground. There are vault toilets available.
Great Meadows Campground – This campground has 18 sites for tents and RV’s. There are no hookups or dump sites are available. It is developed on both sides of the road. Deer Loop is on the right; Raccoon Loop is on the left. The campground offers vault toilets and centrally located water with parking available at the campground.
Overall there are many camping, hiking, boating and fishing opportunities through out the Daniel Boone National Forest. The scenery is beautiful and the campsites are a great break from the hustle and bustle of a city.