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Author Topic: Big South Fork overnight hikes  (Read 2928 times)

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rookie34

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Big South Fork overnight hikes
« on: September 30, 2013, 07:16:10 PM »

I'm looking for suggestions for good overnight hikes in BSF.  Best places to park, best loops, etc..

Any suggestions at all would be appreciated.

Thanks.
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genes

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Re: Big South Fork overnight hikes
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2013, 08:37:05 PM »

You can't go wrong at Bandy Creek.  Plenty of parking and lots of trails.  One to four night trips are easily accessible from Bandy.
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Gene

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Re: Big South Fork overnight hikes
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2013, 11:59:46 AM »

Bandy Creek would definitely be a good place to start.

Another option would be to park at the Sawmill Trailhead off of Middle Creek Road (off of Divide Road) and do a loop leaving from there. There is a great partial loop that you could do that would take you past Slave Falls, Needle Arch, alongside a nice creek, past Twin Arches (an absolutely amazing formation that you must see if you visit the area), and that has several good spots for camping.
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Ewker

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Re: Big South Fork overnight hikes
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2013, 01:02:09 PM »

too bad it is shut down now  >:(
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rookie34

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Re: Big South Fork overnight hikes
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2013, 05:12:31 PM »

Thanks guys.  What about Blue Heron area?  Only asking cause I think that is closer for us.  We are coming from Danville, KY.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 05:17:18 PM by rookie34 »
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genes

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Re: Big South Fork overnight hikes
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2013, 07:24:42 PM »

Blue Herron is also a very nice hike.  It is a 6 mile easy loop.  You could make it a day hike or an overnight backpacking trip.  You can park at Blue Herron or at the trail head. There is plenty of water while you are on the trail near the river.  Up on the ridge line there is no water.  If you time it right, you could see the Stearn's train arrive at Blue Herron. 
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Gene

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Re: Big South Fork overnight hikes
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2013, 09:24:03 AM »

Thanks guys.  What about Blue Heron area?  Only asking cause I think that is closer for us.  We are coming from Danville, KY.

I've done a bit of hiking around the Blue Heron area and while it's pleasant hiking, I'd probably recommend the Bandy Creek area, Leatherwood Ford area (hike up to Angel Falls overlook, camp along Grand Gap Loop . . . not many campsites but you can make it work and be sure to pack all the water you'll need) or the area around Yahoo Falls over Blue Heron. Be sure to have a good map.

I would also say that if you're going to be spending a night in the woods the extra 30-45 minute drive to get to some of the more appealing places is definitely  worth it.

Not sure when you're planning your trip, but the BSF is currently "shut down" so make sure it's back up and running and you can purchase your required permit before you head down there. If you have any other questions feel free to PM me and I'll do my best to get back to you.

Also, if you're not determined to backpack then camping at Great Meadows (off a gravel road near the KY/TN border, operated by the DBNF) and driving to dayhikes from there would be a good place to base out of and the drives through there are gorgeous. But I totally understand the desire to just get down there and park and hike and not get in the car until it's time to leave.
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KeyserSoze

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Re: Big South Fork overnight hikes
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2013, 11:27:16 PM »

So just how big are these barricades anyway?
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genes

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Re: Big South Fork overnight hikes
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2013, 04:06:40 PM »

Most of the ones I've seen are yellow tubular metal gates.  They are pad locked and strategically placed to keep cars out.  You can easily hike around them if you find a place t park on one of the nearby roads.  The Bandy Creek area is normally very safe and secure.  Not so for many areas of the DBNF in Kentucky.  However, with the shut down, there may not be any security in any of these "National" areas and the bad guys know this.
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Gene

nlinesk8s

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Re: Big South Fork overnight hikes
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2013, 07:52:06 AM »

I'm surprised no one mentioned the Honey Creek Loop trail.  It's about six miles and makes a great overnight.  A good part of the trail goes up the creek bed, so it can be really rough in places, including one or two where removing your pack is required to squeeze through.

But the payback is spectacular scenery, especially about now.  It's also remote enough that you might not see anyone on the trail.   For camping, if you drop off the main trail to where the creek meets the river, just across is a nice flat camping place.   If you are willing to struggle up the steep hillside, there's also a sandy shelf just down from the ridge top that would make a nice camping place. 
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nsaP

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Re: Big South Fork overnight hikes
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2015, 10:06:44 AM »

I know this thread is very old but I have a similar question.  We're supposed to be going to BSF for a bachelor backpacking weekend this Memorial Day.

One, I wondered if it's as busy there as like RRG and other places get on Memorial Day?  I'm assuming so and so my next question is part of that:

Any recommendations for backpack trails for 1 or possibly 2 nights from that Saturday -> Monday that would be easy on non-hikers and also hopefully not be too busy or crowded?  Everyone in our group was eager to commit to a backpacking weekend yet a couple of them never even hike and one I saw hike once last year and he was winded after 1.5 miles of level ground.

I'd like to actually do something close to a backpacking weekend that would be enjoyable for everyone but I'm a bit worried about crowds and ability.
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KYhiker40

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Re: Big South Fork overnight hikes
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2015, 01:59:02 PM »

Two options come to mind.  The first is to car camp at one of the camp sites and then drive over to Yahoo Falls for a nice day hike.  The falls are spectacular and there is a nice arch on the return loop.

If you are set on a backpacking trip, even though some in your group might be miserable, I'd recommend the Lush Lick Falls & Princess Falls out and back.  Park at the Lush Creek trail head, hike about 1 1/2 miles to Lush Lick Falls, continue another mile or so to Princess Falls, then another 1/2 mile to the Cumberland River.  Camp along the river, do some fishing, and return the way you came.

I'll attach some pictures of the falls.  For the record, please take Black Bear precautions seriously.

On another note, I would suggest you NOT hike the Blue Heron Loop, which is in the same general area.  It does not sound as if your group would enjoy the intensity of that hike.
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hungrybear

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Re: Big South Fork overnight hikes
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2015, 06:48:53 AM »

I second KyHiker40's advice.  Princess Falls, Yahoo Falls and Lick Creek Falls are all very nice. 

The 8 mile Yahoo Falls/Negro Creek Loop wouldn't be too hard on most people.  Copper Creek's Trip Report: http://www.kywilderness.com/forum/index.php?topic=6455.0

In January, I hiked a 13 mile trip that hit the three previously mentioned falls, but it wouldn't be as easy on non-hikers. I had a second vehicle for a shuttle.  I started at the Lick Creek Trail-head and ended where the Negro Creek Trail-head meets 700. There were a couple of decent campsites along the river and even a shelter along my route. My trip Report: http://www.kywilderness.com/forum/index.php?topic=7044.0



The Big South Fork wasn't very busy the weekend that I went. From what I hear, it usually isn't as busy as the RRG.  IIRC, my permit cost about $5 from the parks service website.
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nsaP

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Re: Big South Fork overnight hikes
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2015, 05:21:22 PM »

Thanks for the suggestions!  I didn't set up this trip but I would like it if we could pull off the backpacking.  The last bachelor weekend we were supposed to raft and it fell thru so I'd hate to have backpacking fall thru this time.

People are sounding more gung ho and it sounds like they want to try 2 nights, could we make the Lush lick Falls trip 2 nights?  I still need to find that on a map, I was looking at them briefly earlier today but didn't see that trail/trailhead.
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hungrybear

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Re: Big South Fork overnight hikes
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2015, 06:01:15 PM »

I think it might have been a typo.  Lick Creek Falls info:

http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/dbnf/recreation/recarea/?recid=39806

http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5406767.pdf


My GPX tracks: http://files.meetup.com/12832512/BSF_Yahoo_Lick_Jan_2015.gpx

This really was one of my favorite routes I have have taken here in Kentucky.
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