ExploreSouthernHistory.com - D. Boon Hut Trail, Kentucky
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - D. Boon Hut Trail, Kentucky
D. Boon Hut Trail
The "D. Boon Hut" is a log ruin in a dry rock shelter
that tradition says was built by famed frontiersman
Daniel Boone as a winter hunting camp.
D. Boon Hut Site, Kentucky
The ruin is located in a large
rock shelter in the Daniel
Boone National Forest. It is
near Gray's Arch Picnic Area.
Hunting in Kentucky
Early frontiersman such as
Boone used rock shelters as
temporary camps since they
provided additional protection
from the elements.
"D. Boon Hut Trail" - Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky
A Daniel Boone Hunting Camp?
Copyright 2012 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Custom Search
Story of the D. Boon Hut
Three Kentuckians found a
piece of wood in the ruin with
the name "D. Boon" carved
into it. This ignited the story
that Daniel Boone had used it.
Cliffs and Rock Shelters
The trail to the shelter leads
into a deep gorge surrounded
by sandstone cliffs and
numerous rock shelters.
Historic Sites of the Early Frontier
The "D. Boon Hut" is one of the most unique
historic sites in the South. It is located in the
Daniel Boone National Forest of Kentucky.

The hut, only ruins of which can be seen
today, was discovered in 1959 by three
Kentuckians. At that time it was still intact and
consisted of wooden shakes or shingles laid
over polls placed atop rocks inside a large
rock shelter.

Inside the structure they found a piece of
wood with the name "D. Boon" carved on it.
This, of course, prompted massive interest in
the structure and speculation that it might
have been a winter hunting camp of the
famed frontiersman
Daniel Boone.

Boone did cross the mountains into Kentucky
several times in the 1760s and 1770s and
often made use of both rock shelters and
crude huts during his hunting expeditions.
His trips usually lasted for months and he
explored the area of today's national forest
more than once.

The "D. Boon Hut" is one of many supposed
relics of Daniel Boone found in Kentucky. In
addition to the hut, his name has been found
carved on trees and rocks. Families possess
treasured long rifles said to be his, as well
as various other artifacts believed to have
been associated with the frontiersmen.

The number of such relics expanded
dramatically during the 1950s and 1960s,
thanks to movies and television shows about
the famous hunter and explorer. Fess Parker
brought Boone's story to a new generation of
Americans in the 1964-1970 when he played
a coonskin cap wearing version of the heroic

In Boone's case, however, the real person
was an even bigger hero and personality
than film could ever make him out to be. He
crossed the mountains into Kentucky and
hunted an unexplored wilderness, often
alone, with little more than his long rifle, knife
and wits.

The product of a Quaker family, Boone was a
peaceful man at heart and longed only for the
solitude and beauty of the wilderness, even
though violence stalked him for much of his
life. So far as is known, he never actually
wore a coonskin cap.  
Please click here to
learn more about Daniel Boone.

There is something fitting about a ruin deep
in the woods of Kentucky supposedly
associated with Daniel Boone. It is a good
story and brings to mind the great
frontiersman in a tangible way. The trail
leading to rock shelter has helped many
families to remember Boone and wonder if
they might be walking in his footsteps.

There are, as you might expect, serious
questions about whether the hut actually
could be associated with Daniel Boone. Its
style of construction, with wooden shakes
forming its roof, seems odd for something a
frontiersman would have put together in a
large rock shelter deep in the wilderness as
a place to weather the winter.

Shakes would have taken a lot of effort to
make when a cover of logs and earth would
have served the same purpose just fine.
National Forest Service experts have looked
at the hut in an effort to determine its
authenticity. They found that the wood from
which it was made was weathered and old,
but that the "D. Boon" carving appeared to
have been made long after the wood was cut.

The story also has emerged that some local
boys actually made the hut while playing in
the area decades ago. They used material
from an old farm structure. This of course,
could explain the weathering of the wood and
other inconsistencies that plague the story of
the hut actually having a Daniel Boone

Sadly the hut itself was badly damaged by
vandals some years ago and today only
scattered pieces of wood remain. The Forest
Service has placed a fence across the mouth
of the rock shelter to protect the hut and the
other historical and archaeological
resources of the shelter from further damage.

An observation platform provides a good view
of the interior, including the remains of the
"D. Boon Hut."

Whether or not the structure really was built
by Daniel Boone, its mere existence has
become part of the lore of Kentucky and has
helped preserve memories of Boone and his
long nights spent alone deep in the woods of

The D. Boon Hut Trail leads off the Gray's
Arch Picnic Area. To reach the area from
Mountain Parkway, take Exit 33 (Slade exit).
Turn left, then right onto KY 15, then drive 3
miles and turn left onto Tunnel Ridge Road.
Look for the picnic area entrance about one
mile ahead on your right. The short trail leads
from the picnic area down into a deep gorge
to the rock shelter.

Please click here to learn more about the
Daniel Boone National Forest.
Photos by Brian Mabelitini