40 miles, 3,029 ft elevation gain, 75 ft/mi.
Light. Beginner friendly due to low elevation gain and smooth riding.
Terrain, Bike Choice
Gravel, singletrack. Preferred bike rank: Rigid MTB, Gravel bike, Hardtail.
Established campgrounds including amenity camping at Sheltowee Trace Adventure Resort.
Number of Nights
Food & Water
Seasonal camp store mid way through and food available at camp.
Bikepacking Laurel Lake
Drawing some inspiration from the Boondoggle 45 route, this mixed-surface overnight is a mix of gravel, road and single track, with about 20 miles each day and camping at Sheltowee Trace Adventure Resort, about halfway through the ride. This lollipop route incorporates section 26 of the Sheltowee Trace, which runs along Laurel River Lake as well a number of scenic (and hilly) gravel forest roads in the Daniel Boone National Forest.
- Pristine gravel riding
- Amenities at camp
Start your adventure with eight miles of singletrack by heading south on section 26 of the Sheltowee Trace National Recreational trail. This section of the Sheltowee is popular with mountain bikers and offers numerous views as it skirts along Laurel Lake. Just north of the dam, you’ll get on the road at KY-1193. Enjoy a panoramic view of the lake as you cross over the dam. On the south side of the dam, take advantage of the restrooms and, if you have the time and inclination, you can take a dip in the lake at Spillway beach, before continuing south up a long gradual climb on KY-1193.
For a cold drink, ice cream, water, or a meal, stop off at the camp store at Laurel Lake Camping resort before getting on Bee Creek Rd. and heading back into the Daniel Boone National Forest for some gravelly goodness. Enjoy a long descent on Daniel Boone Forest Rd. 193 and stop off for a view of Bark Camp Creek.
You’ll exit the forest again on return to pavement on Devil Creek Rd, before looping down and around to KY-90, via Young Cemetery Rd. Turn left into the Sheltowee Trace Adventure Resort to make camp.
For Day 2, get back on KY-90 W (Cumberland Falls Rd.) for a short stint before returning to the gravel on Daniel Boone Forest Rd. 195. Enjoy a long descent down to the trail head of Dog Slaughter Falls before hitting your first challenging climb of the day back up to the ridge. After skirting along the ridge, you’ll complete the rounding of the lollipop, before turning back onto the stem. Enjoy another descent back down to Bark Camp Creek before turning up the gas for your second long climb of the day. At the end of the climb, you’ll return to pavement again on Bee Creek Rd. and loop back around to KY-1193.
You’ll pass the camp store at Laurel Lake Camping resort again before getting back onto KY-1193 and enjoying a fast paved descent back down to the dam, where you can stop off for a restroom or swim.
At the north side of the dam, you’ll pick up some single track that parrallels KY-1193. Get one last taste of gravel on Daniel Boone Forest Service Road 132, complete with a descent, punchy climb, and the last view of the lake through the trees, on Daniel Boone Forest Service Rd. Then, rejoin the pavement on Les Stapleton Rd and back onto KY-1193 N for a short stint back to the car.
- Free parking is available at the Vanhook Falls Trailhead lot of the Sheltowee Trace at the intersection of KY-92 and KY-1193. However, this area is popular so it’s possible that parking may not be available. Overflow/more secure parking is available at neighbouring Sheltowee Camp for a small fee.
- To guarantee a site at the resort, we suggest making a reservation via the website. Sheltowee Trace Adventure Resort offers two primite areas. The backwoods may end up offering you more privacy. But, the drive-in primitive sites also have trees and much better proximity to restrooms, showers, and water.
- Cell service is sketchy along the route for most carriers. But, the resort offers Wifi, which is accessible from the “drive-in” primitive area.
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