ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky
Daniel Boone National Forest
The forest includes some of the most rugged terrain
on the Cumberland Plateau and covers 708,000
acres divided into four districts.
Daniel Boone National Forest
Steep forested slopes like
these add dramatic beauty to
the national forest. Ravines
and cliffs also are common.
Waterfall in the Forest
The Daniel Boone National
Forest is a great place to see
waterfalls. There are six large
and numerous smaller ones.
Daniel Boone National Forest - Kentucky
Wilderness Scenery & History
Copyright 2012 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
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Rock Shelter
Native Americans used rock
shelters in the Daniel Boone
National Forest as hunting
camps. Frontiersmen like
Boone later did the same.
Mountain Scenery
The landscape of the forest
includes running streams,
rock formations, waterfalls
and sheer cliffs.
Mountains of the South
The Daniel Boone National Forest covers
708,000 acres in 21 counties of Kentucky
and includes some of the wildest country
west of the Appalachican Mountains.

It is a landscape that is rich not just in natural
history, but in the history of Kentucky and,
indeed, of America. It was named after the
famed frontiersman Daniel Boone for a
reason, this was the country that Boone was
among the first to explore.

It is appropriate that one of the forest's most
unique historic sites is a ruined hut that
many believe was once used by Boone
himself. The so-called "D. Boon Hut" is in a
large rock shelter near the Gray's Arch Picnic
Area and its name originated from a piece of
its wood on which the name "D. Boon" was
found carved.

As you might expect, the true origins of the
"D. Boon Hut" are the subject of controversy,
but its presence alone adds a mystique to
the area and reminds visitors of the great
American pioneer who once spent years of
his life wandering the forests of Kentucky.
Please click here to learn more.

The Daniel Boone National Forest, in fact, is
rich in the history and archaeology of
Kentucky. It includes some of the finest rock
shelters in the United States, including the
one in which the "D. Boon Hut" was found.

These rock shelters are extremely special
places because they preserve traces of
prehistoric Native American life dating back
thousands of years. The ones in the national
forest have revealed artifacts, meal remains
and seeds dating back to the earliest days of
man's presence in Kentucky.

The also reveal much about the early climate
and tree cover of the region. The shelters
have preserved pollen that has been virtually
undisturbed for thousands of years.

As you would expect, the rock shelters of the
Daniel Boone National Forest are protected
places. Digging in them is strictly prohibited
and can lead to severe fines and prison time.

Early hunters, both Indian and European,
marveled at the soaring arches and natural
bridges of the forest. These remarkable
formations were carved by thousands of
years of wind and water erosion.

Among the most popular of the arches is the
one at Natural Arch Scenic Area. Located at
the Stearns Ranger Station, Natural Arch
features both an overlook and the Natural
Arch Loop Trail, a paved pathway that leads
to the base of the arch. From there steps lear
up to the top of the arch.

Other such formations are scattered through
the Daniel Boone National Forest, some of
them more spectacular than others but all
worth seeing.

The forest has a military history dating back
at least 200 years. Rock shelters there were
found to be excellent sources of nitre, a key
ingredient of gunpowder. Nitre mining took
place during the War of 1812 and again
during the Civil War. The shelter where the
"D. Boon Hut" was found is one of several
that show traces of mining.
One of Kentucky's first Civil War battles took
place in what is now the forest. Accessible
only by a narrow gravel road that leads up
Wildcat Mountain, Camp Wildcat Battlefield is
located off Exit #49 on I-75 (Livingston exit).

Wild and remote, as its name implies, the
battlefield features original Civil War trenches
and other features, all accessed by walking
trails. It was on this ground that Kentucky's
first battle between regular troops took place
on October 21, 1861.

The Confederate forces of General Felix
Zollicoffer, after a difficult march north over
rough terrain, attacked the Union troops at
Camp Wildcat. Fought over difficult ground,
the battle was a Union victory.
Please click
here to learn more.

In addition to its historic features, the Daniel
Boone National Forest is known for its
waterfalls. Virtually every stream flowing
through the forest has a waterfall or cascade
at some point along its course, but the best
ones are to be found in the Cumberland,
London and Stearns Ranger Districts.
Please click here to learn more.

Other features of the forest include nitre
mines, where 19th century miners dug for
gunpowder ingredients; hiking trails, lakes,
the Red River Gorge Geological Area,
wetlands, preserved wilderness areas,
historic iron furnace sites and more. The
Gladie Cabin is a reconstructed log cabin
dating from the late 1800s and Nada Tunnel
is a 600-foot one-way tunnel leading into Red
River Canyon.

The Daniel Boone National Forest is divided
into the Cumberland, London, Stearns and
Redbird Ranger Districts and covers a vast
area of Kentucky.

Please click here to visit the official Forest
Service site to learn more.
Photos by Brian Mabelitini