KENTUCKY HAS HUNDREDS OF miles of hiking trails offering many adventures across the state. My wife and I love hiking trails, but often enjoy getting off the beaten path. While I enjoy hiking, I prefer to do it while accomplishing something else. My wife enjoyed arrowhead hunting when she was growing up along a river in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Whether we’re searching for antler sheds in the woods or fishing lures along the shoreline, we love those cool sunny days to get out and enjoy the outdoors.
In the winter, the water level in many lakes is drawn down to help control spring flooding. This leaves miles of shoreline to explore. There are shells and fossils to be found and lots of sinkers and lures, too. Another plus in hiking shorelines is the birds you see along the way. Pelicans, loons, osprey and bald eagles all frequent shorelines throughout Kentucky. We have even taken up bird watching, finding that many songbirds and woodpeckers enjoy the woods just above the shoreline. This adds even more fun to the adventure. We usually see the same species of birds, but it’s fun to spot them. My favorite is the kingfisher.
During one of our shoreline searches, we stumbled onto a trail that has become our favorite trail close to home and I think you will like it, too. Honker Lake Trail is in the Land Between The Lakes Recreation Area in western Kentucky. We were hiking the shoreline in Honker Bay when we noticed the trail. I’ve fished Honker Bay on Lake Barkley for many years and have been within a cast of this trail many times.
Honker Lake Trail is an easy to moderate trail that meanders through woods and meadows along the shores of Honker Lake. Wildlife abounds with whitetail deer, turkeys, ospreys and other birds. You should especially watch for the flock of Canada geese that nest in the area. The trail was constructed in 1930 to manage waterfowl and the resident geese. These geese still nest there today and, yes, that’s how the lake got its name.
Honker Lake Trail is 4.5 miles and circles the lake, returning back to the trailhead. It takes about three hours to complete. It is dog friendly, but dogs must be leashed. The trail is open all year with wildflowers in the spring, and in the winter, when the leaves are gone, you can more easily see the eagles fishing and the geese soaring overhead. There are restrooms and a covered picnic area, which make this a great place to spend the day. Since there are several trails in the area, it also would make a great weekend camping trip. So, get outdoors and enjoy the many hiking opportunities in Kentucky, including those shoreline adventures. Don’t forget the camera.
The Kentucky Department of Tourism shares seven hikes with beautiful views. From gorges and caves to rolling hills and meadows, Kentucky has a trail for everyone:
- Battleship Rock Trail, Natural Bridge State Resort Park
- Double Arch Trail, Daniel Boone National Forest, Stanton
- Raven Run Nature Sanctuary Trail, Lexington
- Breaks Interstate Park Loop, Elkhorn City (Haysi, Virginia)
- Indian Staircase and Indian Arch Loop, Red River Gorge, Frenchburg
- Eagle Falls Trail, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
- Pinnacle Trail, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Middlesboro