ThruHiking Journal:
The Sheltowee Wanderer


Sheltowee Trace National Receation Trail

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Insanity 2016 (thru hike in 9 1/2 days)

On Thursday night March 10th my son Chanse and I camped out at the Northern Terminus to get an early start on our thru hike. Chanse was on spring break so we only had 10 days to get as far as we could on the Sheltowee.
The weather had been unusually warm with nighttime lows in the mid 50's. The mild temps allowed us to lighten our packs with thinner sleeping bags and less clothing. We carried homemade backpacks and minimalistic gear to allow for a faster pace. Our packs weighed 26 pounds each including food and water.
The trail was in much better shape than when I last thru hiked it in 2009. The first day we started at 05:20 and made it just past Cave Run lake before calling it a day. That first day was 38 trail miles and set the pace for the whole trip. Chanse set the pace on day one. He had injured both feet a couple weeks before by wearing too small of boots for a 45 mile prehike.
The only thing that will save our trails is using them.

Need Help - Parking in / near Arvel

We are planning to do a section between Arvel and Sparks Ridge Rd. Parts of Sections 19 & 20.

-Are there any places to park in Arvel or anyone to contact about said parking? Mile marker 120.

-Also, another group may be looking to intersect us on the first night and thought about parking at or near Mt. Bethel Church.

-Finally ending at Lime Kiln/Hwy-89 and parking at the power line right of way there. Thoughts? Mile Marker 132.5

Thanks in advance.

spam on site

someone needs to delete all of these spam post and block the guy posting them.
Conquest: It is not the Mountain we conquer but Ourselves

Change on

Big changes are happening!

In an effort to keep the ST accessible via mobile, we made a new map.

The site landing page is a google-style map that you can use to locate your position in the field, if you have a smart phone and a data connection. You can't search it like google map, but it does show the current alignment of the ST.

Is the map useful? Is this forum hard to find or use?

Considering the multiple ways people connect to information these days, this forum is becoming less used and maintained. The trail on the ground however is exploding with use.

While this forum will always exist (especially as an archive), the web site will continue to evolve.

Any feedback or ideas would be helpful.
Help map trails by submitting your waypoints and trail photos.

2015 Trail Check Updates

Be advised the access road off highway 89 in Jackson County into S-Tree is closed. It looks like it will be closed for a long time. There was a major erosion of the road with all the rain in April, about 1 mile in, resulting in about 300 feet of the road disappearing over the hill. To access the Trace in S-Tree and to camp there you will need to go in through Sand Gap Ky. Off Rt 421 turn onto Sand Gap Road where you will see a Forest Service sign for S-Tree Campground. It is 10 miles on asphalt and then gravel to the campground. The Trace crosses this road 1/4 mile from the campground.
Check us out at and on facebook in the hiking groups under The Sheltowee Trace. Sign up and join the discussion. Become a member of The Sheltowee Trace Association and help us maintain and grow the Trace.

Trail Check Spring Edition

Volunteers are needed to help the Sheltowee Trace Association check the Trace for blowdowns, blockages, erosion spots from the spring rains and signage / blazes.

The Trace is broken down into 48 sections varying in length. Volunteers are asked to sign up for two sections - preferred and secondary. We will confirm your section within 24 hours, and then you have until the end of May to hike, bike, horse back ride your section and complete the assessment form. Once you're done, you send the form to us via email as a pdf attachment or send in the mail. Take photos of major issues please.

For more information - to register, click this link. The assessment form is posted to our webpage at the Trail Check link below.

To register:

More Info:

Thanks for your help. Your assessments will be reviewed and a trail maintenance plan created for trail crews to go out in June - July

Check us out at and on facebook in the hiking groups under The Sheltowee Trace. Sign up and join the discussion. Become a member of The Sheltowee Trace Association and help us maintain and grow the Trace.

The ST: Where IS it, really?

How about an update on the trail information? Isn't the "new" Southern Terminus at Burnt Mill Bridge and NOT Leatherwood Ford? Information like this should be easier to find on the site and the old stuff really needs to come down. Maps need to be current and NOT 3 years old.

One more thing: Making the ST longer isn't necessarily better. If the ST is currently the 319 miles that it's alleged to be, then let's make that 319 miles more "hiker friendly" before extending it further out of Kentucky. Personally? I see no advantage to extending "Kentucky's Long Trail" any further into Tennessee. I DO see working harder at the "Trail Town" concept as worthwhile.
Do Not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old: seek what they sought.

Section hiking from 75 to Mckee

I have next week off work and was considering hiking from exit 49 on I75 up to Mckee. I've never seen Horse Lick Creek and the rain and high water lately has me concerned. What is it like fording or do I even need to ford? Is there an alternate route during high water?

Krentucky Trail

Hi Everyone, I need some info on the Kentucky Trail at the intersection of the JMT ( Burke Knob area ) of Big South Fork. I cant seem to find much on it. I'm planning on a trip 1st day of March 2015, leaving Leatherwood via JMT. If anyone knows this trail, your help would be appreciated.

Request for help

The STA office has received this request for help.

"I need some help. I backpacked in sheltowee back in college. I am coming back with my son from Lincoln Nebraska. I am looking for a specific canyon we stayed in one night. This canyon had a large altar set up against the canyon wall. I did not get pictures of this artifact and it has always haunted me. The stone table was overgrown with old vines when I discover it. I do not know if it is a commonly visited artifact.
We entered the trace around Slade I believe. There were signs for the Natural Bridge. I am looking for information or resources to narrow my search for this canyon. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Other things I remember about the canyon were that it had two waterfalls trickling from above on either side and a large cube cut out of the rock near by where we set up our tents.
Thank you."
Check us out at and on facebook in the hiking groups under The Sheltowee Trace. Sign up and join the discussion. Become a member of The Sheltowee Trace Association and help us maintain and grow the Trace.

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© 2005 outrageGIS mapping

A forum and interactive map for The Sheltowee Trace is 260-mile backcountry trail connecting recreation in Daniel Boone National Forest, Cumberland Falls & Natural Bridge State Resort Parks, and the Big South Fork National Recreation Area. Sheltowee Trace Nationa

l Receation Trail, Sheltowee Trace, Sheltowee Trace hiking maps, Daniel Boone National Forest, Laurel River Lake, Big South Fork, Clifty Wilderness, Beaver Creek Wilderness, Red River Gorge, Cave Run Lake, outrageGIS mapping, Boyd Shearer, trail maps, trail guides, backcountry camping, rock climbing, mountain biking, thru packing