This pristine region in Kentucky and Tennessee is ripe for adventure

Perhaps no other area in the country is as aptly named as “Land Between the Lakes.” This pristine National Recreation Area is the largest inland peninsula in the United States with more than 300 miles of scenic shoreline bolstered by 170,000 acres that stretch across parts of both Kentucky and Tennessee. With an abundance of wildlife scattered throughout a time-honored environment, this is nature at its finest. An outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, its 500 miles of trails are prime for hiking, biking and horseback riding, and the scenic waterways are great for paddling and fishing.

Both seasoned and beginning equestrians can hone their riding skills on more than 100 miles of horse and wagon trails. Kentucky boasts some of the world’s greatest horse land, and Wranglers Campground is one of the best places to ride in the state. Gallop along the shores and bays of Lake Barkley, through lush forest with wildflowers while passing historical sites like an abandoned farm and the Laura Iron Furnace. Bring your own horse and keep it in the state-of-the-art riding stables at Wranglers and let the guides take you on a trail ride through some of the most scenic terrain in Land Between the Lakes.

Adventurous travelers may want to ditch that big animal for a loud, gas-burning ATV that promises an “off-roading” experience unlike any other. Test your courage and skills by racing through forests, over hills, across creeks and along the shoreline of Kentucky Lake. Take it easy on smooth, maintained trails or try out more challenging backcountry terrain, climbing steep hills and navigating sharp turns. Kids will have a blast on the “Turkey Trot,” a half-mile trail with small obstacles that will get them ready for longer more challenging rides.

Conservationists flock to the Elk & Bison Prairie which offers a native grassland habitat common in Kentucky more than a century ago. Elk and bison roam free within this 700-acre enclosure. Visitors travel in their enclosed vehicle via a 3.5-mile paved loop road. Numerous other wildlife species also thrive in the prairie. Wild turkeys, a variety of birds, small game, butterflies and prairie mammals find sanctuary in the Elk & Bison Prairie.

Backpack a portion of the 59-mile North/South Trail, which traverses the length of the Land Between the Lakes. Hike on rugged forest trails, enjoying native birds, wildflowers and lush greenery in the spring, or a kaleidoscope of colors in the fall. Pitch your tent in the woods under the canopy of the forest for a true wilderness experience.

Especially attractive for hunters, natural wilderness areas abound at Land Between the Lakes, which offers 250 days of in-season hunting. Choose between more than a dozen different hunting areas and travel through the backcountry in search of game like wild turkey, deer or waterfowl. Stay in a backcountry campground or relax after the hunt at one of the nearby resorts.

Food is a major part of traveling and no vacation is ever complete without having a variety of dining options. From pulled pork to fried catfish and delectable barbeque, Cadiz, Kentucky is bursting with home-grown flavors that are sure to satisfy any palate. In addition, visitors who appreciate the fine art of cooking can discover gourmet dining upon first entering the community. All in all, a visit to Land Between the Lakes is a visit to one of nature’s most bountiful playgrounds. The outdoor options, which are as endless as your imagination, will bring out the naturalist in everyone.

Looking for a place to eat? Go Cadiz