This is the third in my on-going series of articles about Land between the Lakes.
The change in weather and my wife being pregnant have kept us from enjoying the great outdoors at Land between the Lakes. But last weekend, we jumped at the chance to take advantage of the 50 degree, sunny weather. We had our brunch picnic at the surprisingly empty Taylor Bay, located near the north end of LBL.
We drove from Taylor Bay to the Fort Henry area. The Fort Henry area is where my mother’s family lived prior to the TVA coming in (particularly the Blue Spring area.) I enjoy hiking there, and I am very grateful of their sacrifice. During the Civil War, Fort Henry was a fort on the Tennessee River. The original site is underwater due to the Kentucky Dam in Grand Rivers, KY.
There are nine trails in the Ft. Henry trail system. The Telegraph Trail is the northern most east to west trail and the Artillery Trail is the southern most east to west trail. These two trails form a 13 mile loop. Inside this loop are other trails running north to south. This allows hikers to map out a variety of “loops” ranging from a couple of miles to 13 miles.
I have provided a link to a map of the Ft.Henry trail system at the end of the article. Please refer to the map to see the trail points I refer to throughout this article. All the Ft. Henry trails are blazed, well marked, and easy to follow.
We chose to hike the first leg of the Artillery Trail. This is the wagon trail used by General Grant in his advance to Fort Donelson in Dover, TN. The wagon trail is very evident in spots, making it very easy to stay on trail. Where trail points 26 and 3 cross Ft. Henry Road is an excellent spot to pull over and start the adventure. The Artillery Trail is 3.2 miles in length and blazed yellow. We chose to do the first leg (points 26-3-4-20) and then back to to the car; a trip of approximately 3.5 miles.
The walk in was steeper than I anticipated – not terrible, but remember my wife is four months pregnant. She did not complain and seemed to enjoy herself, as long as we took a lot of breaks for water and photos, as well as plenty of bathroom breaks. Once on top of the ridge, the trail was more level.
The scenery was very peaceful. At the top of the ridge is Pine Hill. This area has one of the highest concentrations of big pine trees in LBL. The pine smell was strong at times. No lakes or creeks, just woods, miles and miles of woods. With the leaves off the trees, we could see for quite long distances and observe the surprisingly deep hollows and long ridges. However, trampling on the leaves scared away all chances of seeing any wildlife. Overall trail time was around 2 hours 15 minutes. But this hike wasn’t about speed, it was about having a great day. It was a great day.
Detailed Maps of the Hiking Trails in the Fort Henry area
More photos, uploaded to Google Earth
Articles in Series
Additional Articles from my LBL series: