For outdoor adventurists that are looking for some midwest hiking, Kentucky has a lot to offer. Known as the “Bluegrass State” for its bluegrass musical origins, the state is filled with green pastures and the longest cave system in the world at Mammoth Cave National Park.
The Red River Gorge is located in eastern Kentucky and is part of the Pottsville Escarpment. Much of the gorge is located in the Daniel Boone National Forest which is well-known for its abundance of sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, natural bridges and rock shelters.
The area is famous for its rock climbing and hiking trails. For those who love to hike, camp and rock climb, the Red River Gorge fulfils all your outdoor needs.
Camping in Estill County
Where can I camp in Estill County?
Natural Bridge Cabin Company Campground
Natural Bridge State Park Surroundings
Natural Bridge State Resort Park, Kentucky, 2008 by Roger Gerbig is licensed under CC BY 2.0
|Tents & Car Campers|
The Natural Bridge Cabin Company Campground is situated closely to the Natural Bridge State Park and the Red River Gorge.
The campground is small and peaceful with campsites that range from basic to ones with complete electrical and water hookups. The basic campsites have a fire ring while campsites with hookups include a picnic table.
There’s a large grassy field which is used for overflow tent and car campers that are equipped with shelter and hookups as well. Most campsites are situated in shaded areas and are located next to the Bolin Branch of the Red River.
The bath house comes with flush toilets and the shower house is equipped for hot showers.
There are a couple features of this campground such as a catch and release fishing pond, free wireless internet, a shelter and dump station which make it more convenient for campers. In addition, the campground is pet-friendly and offers great trails into the surrounding area.
There’s also zip lining, mud-bogging, and rock climbing which is famous to the area. You’re close to the Clifty Wilderness Area, the Red River Gorge and the Kentucky Reptile Zoo.
This is a great spot if you have children as there are plenty activities for them to take part in.
Lago Linda Hideaway
The Iconic Raven Rock, Red River Gorge
Red River Gorge, the Raven Rock by Ulrich Burkhalter is licensed under CC BY 2.0
|Tents & RVs|
The Lago Linda campground really is a hideaway. It’s tucked away almost one mile from the main road with its own private driveway to drive down. The campground provides campers will ample privacy and security while giving them a stunning environment.
There is 25 Piney Woods and Lazy Oaks campsite which are all located along the ridge top, giving campers space in between each other for privacy. All the campsites are gravelled and have electrical hookups if needed.
Each campsite comes with its own city water, fire ring and picnic table. There’s also a large meadow for extra tents and campers which includes a covered cooking pavilion with electricity. The bathhouse offers campers with flush toilets and hot showers and broadband internet access.
The property is children and pet-friendly, however, pets must be leashed at all times. This campground is popular for rock climbers as they typically enjoy secluded and peaceful campgrounds to relax at after a day of climbing.
The campground is conveniently close to Red River’s crags and hiking trails. If you’re interested in spending your days exploring nature and hiking the Daniel Boone National Forest this campground is perfectly located for you.
4 Guys RV Park
Daniel Boone National Forest
Q1577 by S.J. & Jessie Quinney Library is licensed under CC BY 2.0
|Tents & RVs|
The 4 Guys RV Park is a campground which accepts tents, RVs and campers. The campground is small, yet quaint with 45 campsites available for campers.
There are campsites situated inland while there are around ten campsites which face the Middle Fork Creek. The campground is open all year round and has plenty of amenities for both adults and children.
Campers that stay at this campground have full hookups, swimming pool, laundry facilities, private bathrooms, camp store, picnic tables, wi-fi and a playground for children. This campground is focused on providing families with ample amount of activities for children and include themed activities, Frisbee golf and a basketball court as well.
In addition to these campground amenities, the campground itself is located in the middle of all the attractions in the surrounding area. If you’re interested in hiking, the Nada Tunnel, Red River Gorge, Daniel Boone National Forest and Clifty Wilderness Area are all at your disposal.
For more intense activities, there’s plenty of fishing, kayaking, hunting, rock climbing, and zip lining to do for both adults and children. With this much going on in the area, you won’t be bored whether you’re on the campground or in the wilderness.
What’s there to do in Estill County?
Round Bales in the Field by Jimmy Emerson, DVM is licensed under CC BY 2.0
The Estill county rests on the cusp of Daniel Boone National Forest. It’s located on the west side of the forest and was named on behalf of Captain James Estill, a Kentucky militia officer who was killed in the Battle of Little Mountain during the American Revolutionary War.
The main attraction in this area is the Daniel Boone National Forest and the various historical churches in the area. It’s a great spot to be if you’re interested in hiking and exploring the surrounding wilderness.
Central Daniel Boone National Forest
Where can I camp in Central Daniel Boone National Forest?
Red Hill Horse Camp
Sky Bridge, Red River Gorge
Sky Bridge by US Forest Service – Southern Region is licensed under CC BY 2.0
For those that are looking for a slightly different camping experience, why not discover Southeast Kentucky on horseback? The Red Hill Horse Camp offers campers with the experience of a lifetime, as you’ll be able to soak in the scenery and wildlife on horseback.
Of course, you’re more than welcome to hike the trails in the surrounding area, but if you’re curious, Red Hill Horse Camp offers 3-day rides that are held several times a year.
They’ll take you to Windy Gap, White Oak Brank, Horse Lick Creek and other scenic spots that you need check out while you’re there. Though, you can also simply choose to camp at their campground as well as they offer shaded campsites for tents and campers.
The campground is fully equipped with all the essential amenities such as hookups, dump station, shower house, stalls, and picnic shelter. In addition, the campground will supply you with trail maps, ensuring that you don’t get lost and tackle all the various hikes in the area.
The campground is located in the Daniel Boone National Forest, thus, you have all the natural attractions easily accessible by foot or horseback. A great location for outdoor enthusiasts.
Red River Gorge Geological Area
|Tent & RVs|
On the border of the Daniel Boone National Forest, situated in London, Kentucky is the Westgate Campground. It’s open all year round, twenty-four hours a day, so, you’ll be able to set up camp whenever you’d like. The campground is greeny and spacious, providing campers privacy between neighbours.
The campground offers full amenities for campers such as full hookups, wi-fi-, dump, restrooms, showers, playground grill and a swimming pool which will come in handy in the summer months. If you have any pets, they’re welcome here, though they must be leashed at all times.
What’s great about this campground is its location. Though it’s close to the Daniel Boone National Forest, so you’ll be able to quickly access the park and see all the natural attractions within it.
In addition, it’s also extremely close to London, Kentucky which allows offers an array of attractions such as flea markets, Wildcat Off Road Park, the Original KFC, the London Dragway Drag Racing Action, museums, and restaurants. So, if you want a day break from hiking through the wilderness, you’ll be able to spend a lazy day in town.
Laurel Lake Camping Resort
Laurel River Lake by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District is licensed under CC BY 2.0
|Tent & RVs|
If you want a campground with tons of space, then Laurel Lake Camping Resort is the perfect choice for you. It’s tucked away in the green hills and woodlands of Kentucky, bordering 87 acres of the Daniel Boone National Forest. In addition, it’s walking distance to the stunning Laurel Lake and a short drive from the Cumberland Falls State Park.
The campground itself includes 8 deluxe cabins, 36 RV sites, 15 campsites with cable hookups and a number of primitive campsites for tents. It also offers campers a country general store in case they forgot anything, free wi-fi, shower house, scenic pond, and fishing on site.
If you’re interested in testing your hand at hunting, there’s a shooting range within a 10 minutes walk from the campground. Whether you’re looking to hike, fish or casually explore the area, there are lots to see and do, so make sure you have a good pair of shoes with you.
Since you’re bordering the National Forest, you have an endless number of trails to hike, leading you to jaw-dropping views. If you have pets, they’ll love spending time running around in the open wilderness and exploring nature with you.
What is there to do in Central Daniel Boone National Forest?
Daniel Boone National Forest
the Red River Gorge, Daniel Boone National Forest, KY by Morgan is licensed under CC BY 2.0
This area is made up of several counties such as Laurel and Rockcastle County. The campgrounds listed below to these various counties in this area, however, they’re all located in the centre of the Daniel Boone National Forest.
Though this area is not overly populated, what it lacks in people it makes up for in nature. In addition, it has some of the best air quality in the state due to its lack of industry and population.
This is part of the national forest, thus, it’s full of trails and natural attractions such as the Red River Gorge, Cumberland Falls, Lake Cumberland and Big South Fork National River. If you’re a fan of hiking or have an eye for photography, this area will steal your heart.
Where can I camp in Lake Cumberland?
Wolf Creek Resort
Lake Cumberland on a Cloudy Day
Lake Cumberland by Laurie is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Southeast of Daniel Boone National Forest is Cumberland Lake where the Wolf Creek Resort is situated. Overlooking the lake itself, the resort park is full of campsites which are either inland or lake view.
All the lots are equipped with the essential amenities such as city sewer, city water and an electrical hookup. While you’re able to directly access the lake and enjoy all that it has to offer, on the campground you have the options of using the exercise room, indoor heated and outdoor pools, giving you plenty of activities to do regardless of the season.
Surrounding the campgrounds, visitors can enjoy fishing on the lake, boating and skiing on nearby mountains. In addition, if you have your own boat, there are marinas nearby which are equipped with launch ramps.
The Wolf Creek Branch of Lake Cumberland is approximately 6 miles long and 60 feet deep, meaning that this section of the lake provides visitors with some of the best fishing in the entire lake. In addition, it’s a short drive away from the Daniel Boone National Forest, if you’re interested in hiking and exploring nature.
Conley Bottom Resort
Cumberland Lake by blueathena7 is licensed under CC BY 2.0
|Tent & RVs|
A great campground if you’re camping children as Conley Bottom Resort and Marina is full of activities for everyone to participate in. The campground offers 150 campsites which are all located on Lake Cumberland, thus, everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the magnificent views.
The great part about this campground is that you don’t need reservations as it’s run on a first come, first serve basis. So, you won’t have to rush if you decide to delay your arrival a day or two.
The campgrounds come equipped with a central bathhouse with a washer and dryer, full hookups, fire ring, charcoal grill, and dump station. In addition, you’ll be able to fish from the fisherman’s wharf, have full access to the basketball and volleyball courts and horseshoe pits as well as the playground area. Thus, if you have children, they’ll have plenty to do to entertain themselves.
In addition, the lakeshore swimming is second to none. You’re a short drive away from the Daniel Boone National Forest as well as the General Burnside State Park and the Lake Cumberland State Park. So, if you’re interested in hiking, fishing, and water sports, this is a great option.
Grider Hill Dock
|Tents & RVs|
The Grider Hill Dock is located on the beautiful Lake Cumberland with miles of shoreline to relax on. This campground offers both lodging and campsites for visitors. The campsites are primitive with including only a picnic table and grill.
However, it’s a perfect spot if you’re not looking for extra amenities but rather simply need a place to relax after a long day of hiking or fishing. The campground does offer a bathhouse which is walking distance from the campsites.
There are not many activities on the campground, thus, if you have children, you should be prepared with entertainment for them. There a one-mile walking path that’ll take you on a scenic walk to the lake, however, there’s a ¼ mile route which gets you to the lake as quickly as possible.
During the summer, this campground offers a shuttle service for those fishing on the lake, since typically the catches can become quite large and difficult to carry back.
It’s a good location for those that are interested in exploring nature as it’s also situated close to parks such as the Lake Cumberland State Park and the Daniel Boone National Forest.
What is there to do in Lake Cumberland?
Cumberland FallsbyAaron Vowels is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Cumberland Lake is a reservoir in the Clinton, Laurel, McCreary, Pulaski, Russell and Wayne counties in Kentucky. It was primarily designed for flood control and prevention and currently ranks as the 9th largest reservoir in the USA.
However, the lake has become a huge tourist attraction for south-central Kentucky with over 4.75 million visitors visiting the lake. Over 1,500 houseboats float along the shoreline of the lake with visitors allowed to boat and swim.
In addition, Lake Cumberland is home to two state parks: Lake Cumberland State Resort Park and General Burnside State Park. Thus, it’s an ideal location for those who love to hike, fish, and boat.
I can’t wait to go back to Red River Gorge! It’s also a perfect place to hang your hammocks. See my guide to the best portable hammocks.