Daniel Boone National Forest sits in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Southeastern Kentucky. Its 700,000 acres of rocky gorges, sandstone cliffs, and diverse wildlife have been attracting visitors since 1937. Back then, the forest was known as Cumberland National Forest, before it was renamed in 1966 in honor of Daniel Boone, a well-known explorer in the area.
Anyone traveling from either northern Tennessee or Central Kentucky can access the forest via Interstate Route 75. Stretching between the larger cities of Knoxville, TN and Lexington, KY, you’ll find many city folks on their vacation here during the weekends and public holidays. The beauty of this forest lies in its diversity. It doesn’t matter when you decide to rent a camper at Daniel Boone National Forest, and you’ll find something exciting to get stuck into. From miles upon miles of horse-riding trail to exhilarating ATV adventures, scuba diving to rock climbing, you’re in for a treat.
With over 600 miles of multi-use trails to discover, it’s no surprise that hiking is one of the main reasons why people choose to go camping at Daniel Boone National Forest, though choosing which trail to embark on can be a difficult task. Consider the one-mile, paved Sky Bridge Trail. This may be a short and relatively easy walk, but it showcases some of the most spectacular vistas over the stunning Red River Gorge. The Red River Gorge is also where you’ll see most of the rock-climbing taking place as the sturdy walls provide excellent climbs for both novices and experts. If you want to have a go at climbing yourself, consider booking a few lessons with one of the professionals in advance of your visit.
ATV enthusiasts with RV rentals in Rowan County are in for a treat! There are over 150 miles of trails designed to be used by Off-Highway Vehicles nestled into Daniel Boone National Forest. The majority of these skirts around the forest’s edges, however, 15 miles of them take you on a heart-pumping journey through the heart of the forest. Just remember to be mindful of hikers, bikers, and horse riders, as some of the trails are used by a variety of mediums.
Home to three large lakes, Cave Run Lake, Laurel River Lake, and Lake Cumberland, and numerous waterways, water-based recreation is another great reason to enjoy a weekend of Daniel Boone National Forest camping. Motorized boating, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and tubing are all possible within the parks, but scuba diving is by far one of the park’s most unique water activities. Due to its fantastically clear waters, Laurel River Lake is the place to scuba if you want to enjoy the underwater marine life. Just make sure you stick to the designated scuba zones that are indicated with yellow flags.
Camping at Daniel Boone National Forest
Whether you’re looking for scenic lakeside spots or a shaded spot tucked away into the mountains, they’ll be something for you when it comes to parking up your RV rental for the night.
Within the national forest, campers can choose from Holly Bay Campground, or Grove Drive-In Campground, both of which sit on the banks of Laurel River Lake. As well as offering visitors’ prime access to the lake’s boating, swimming, and scuba diving facilities, campers can select an RV-friendly site with electric and water hookups. Both campgrounds feature modern restrooms, complete with hot showers and flushing toilets as well as a convenient dump station. Should you wish to camp further into the forest, look out for signs to Bee Rock Recreational Area or Rockcastle, where there are little to no amenities, but you’ll have a more tranquil camping experience.
For those who are after all the bells and whistles of modern motorhome camping, there’s a handy KOA located just outside of Corbin. Sitting just five minutes from Daniel Boone National Forest and five minutes from the city, this KOA harbors the perfect balance of convenience and natural beauty. As well as the normal top-notch facilities of a KOA including full hookups at every site, modern restrooms, and an onsite general store, campers can benefit from an outdoor swimming pool, site-wide WiFi, and a dog park.
Exploring the Area
You won’t need to venture too far to experience some of that famous southern hospitality, as Corbin is home to the historic Harland Sanders Café and Museum. This is famously where Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken developed the secret fried chicken recipe in the 1940s. Although the cafe has been out of use for some time now, it was restored to its former beauty in the 1990s, and now people visit from all over the country to learn about the history of this global brand and see the kitchen where it all began.
The small city of London sits just north of Corbin and is home to several other notable museums. Nestled into the Levi Jackson State Park is the Mountain Life Museum, which transports visitors back to a time when the area was first being settled. The site features seven original pioneer buildings along with countless tools and artifacts that portray how life once was in the area. If you decided to camp in the state park itself, you’ll even receive a discount on your entry fee!
Adrenaline seekers renting an RV nearby shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit London’s Dragway. When there isn’t a rally or race taking place on the tracks, visitors can opt to take lessons in one of the very speedy race cars. Just remember to check the schedule ahead of your visit to avoid disappointment.