Local Backpacker James Gant from Hillard writes,
“Located on the far Western edge of Kentucky, Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake flow into Tennessee. At a little over 6 hour’s drive away from Columbus, the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area is a beautiful 170,000 acre playground. Because the LBL is in both Tennessee and Kentucky while also being National Recreational Area it is important to call ahead of time, since they have their own hunting dates that don’t necessarily line up with state dates.
I went backpacking there the last week of October. The leaves had not quit changed yet but early fall was a great time to visit with amazing weather low traffic. The trails are well marked. Finding a map for backpacking proved a little difficult but you can purchase a decent map at the trail heads for $3. The trails are well maintained and easy to follow. Since the LBL is surrounded by water most of the crowds spend their time on the water leaving the trails clear of traffic. While I was there I only saw a few people for the four days I was there. The campsites are primitive but most of them are easily accessed by car so you may have some company at night. The main North to South Trail is great but it is not a loop trail so you will spend some time going back the way you came unless you meet up with a friend you can park at each end of the 49 mile trail.
The LBL is an amazing place to go with the family and do some car camping. They have two large bison herds that can easily be seen from your car. The bison areas are not near the trails at all but you can get really close to them. There is also an old 1800’s style farm to visit and a planetarium for the family to visit. The LBL is also fairly close to Mammoth Cave National Park along with many other caves.
The Land Between the Lakes Recreational Area is well worth a visit.”