History: The Land Between The Lakes is a 170,000-acre National Recreation Area nestled between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. It was established by President John F. Kennedy in 1961.
Historical sites are a large part of the park, and include Fort Henry, where Civil War reenactments take place; The Homeplace, a farm typical of where Civil War soldiers in Tennessee grew up; and the old Laura Furnace, where iron ore was produced in the 1800s.
The area was also home to elk and bison, which were wiped out in the late 1800s. The park’s Elk & Bison Prairie is a 700-acre restoration of the animals’ native habitat, and features reintroduced elk and bison that roam freely within the enclosure.
With more than 70 miles of horse and wagon trails, plus an extensive network of old roads that lead to the most scenic spots in the Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley area, Land Between the Lakes is the largest inland peninsula in the United States.
Terrain: Land Between The Lakes features thousands of acres of ridged peak forest and parkland between two large waterways. Trails meander through rolling hills filled with deciduous trees that turn colors in the fall. Open grassland is also part of the park’s protected terrain. (For a map, visit www.lbl.org/vcmaps.html.)
Top ride: Take the 11-mile Trail #6 from the Wranglers Campground, and ride to the ruins of Laura Iron Furnace. This iron mill has been quiet for more than 100 years, but shimmering blue stones remain on the ground, left over from its heyday.
You’ll likely see deer, wild turkey, hawks, and a waterfowl-filled shorelines as you make your way along this spectacular riding trail. You’ll eventually come across the spot where Laura Furnace Creek empties into Blue Hole, a deep spring that’s a rich blue for the better part of the year.
Stay over: Camp at the Wranglers Campground, which has stalls, hitching posts, hot showers, and more.
In the saddlebag: Bring along insect repellent for both you and your horse.
Contact: Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area, www.lbl.org.
Audrey Pavia (www.audreypavia.com) is a freelance writer based in Norco, California. She’s the author of Trail Riding: A Complete Guide (Howell Book House) and Horse Health & Nutrition for Dummies (Wiley). Pavia rides competitive trail with her 9-year-old Spanish Mustang, Milagro.