Land Between the Lakes (LBL) is located on a forested peninsula between Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake in West Kentucky and Tennessee. The attractions include Elk & Bison Prairie, Homeplace 1850s Working Farm, Golden Pond Planetarium, Woodlands Nature Station. It also provides multiple outdoor opportunities: 106 miles of horse trails, 100 miles of trails for off highway vehicle, 70 miles mountain biking trails, 100 miles hiking trails for relaxing walks and backpacking, 22 boar ramps for sport fishing, and 250 days a year for season hunting.
– Lake Barkley State Resort Park –
After a 4 hours drive from Louisville, we finally arrived Lake Barkley State Resort Park at 8pm CST on Friday. It should only take about 3 hours, but we made a detour to Clarksville for a dinner at Kohana Sushi & Ramen restaurant. It’s a real hidden gem and a good place to recharge.
Lake Barkley State Resort Park located at the east side of LBL for only 20 mins drive. It provides lodging, dining, camping, boating, golfing, fishing, hiking, swimming and other opportunities. It has an indoor swimming pool with fabulous view of the Lake Barkley. And it’s very possible for you to observe someone fishing for catfish at the lake bank. We originally booked 3 nights to cover the entire Memorial Weekends, but unfortunately had to check out earlier due to the concerns about hygiene conditions and poor maintenance of the lodge. So I personally not recommend to stay here.
– Golden Pond Visitor Center –
We officially began our journey with the Golden Pond Visitor Center. Starting from history, LBL was formed by geological force over million of years, and was framed between two rivers in Western Kentucky and Tennessee, feeding Cumberland River in the east and Tennessee River in the west. Three historic events greatly impacted the community development of LBL.
1. Civil war and emancipation. LBL residents generally supported the agriculture based south before Civil War. The emancipation offered freedom to many enslaved men in LBL communities.
2. Great Depression. The Great Depression plus a severe drought in 1930 fell hard on LBL residents. Farmers were starting to sell off lands. Since president Franklin Roosevelt declared New Deal, LBL community was benefited from a significant program with the formation of Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). They taught farmers how to improve fields, developed fertilizers, and helped replant forests. They also built a dam to control floods and improve navigation. Furthermore, it gave people job to work during Great Depression.
3. Prohibition. After the Civil War and reconstruction, the economy improved. However, the corn price declined and farmers started to turn their corns into a marketable product – whiskey. Even in 1920 when Prohibition was imposed by Congress, some farmers still continued to produce whiskey otherwise there is nothing they can do with the crops. The illegal even expanded after Prohibition lifted, since some local stills didn’t pay the required federal tax for production.
– Homeplace 1850s Working Farm –
The Homeplace 1850s Working Farm and Living History Museum is a two-generation middle class southern family farm. Historic buildings, antics, and traditional activities can bring you back to Civil War time. This place often offers variety of activities that you could participate or even have conversations with farm family as they do their daily chores.
– Woodland Nature Center –
Woodland Nature Center is an educational attraction, locates between Honker Lake and Hematite Lake. It has a backyard area which offers wildlife watching and several guided programs to follow. Just before several days we visited, four rare ref wolf puppies were born at Woodlands Nature Station. Red wolves are endemic to North America and there are only around 200 red wolf puppies in the world.
We hiked Honker Lake Trail in the late afternoon. It’s a 5 mile loop around Honker Lake, and a popular trail to enjoy solitude or birding and fishing. However, the trail condition needs to have some improvement. Trail marker is missing for some parts, and a few trees down. Overall nice hike!
We also booked a Honker Lake sunset canoe trip which started at 6pm. Typically Woodlands Nature Station offers sunset canoe trips and kayak tours or rentals from May to September, but they cancel canoes and kayaks rentals for 2022 season. I recommended the sunset canoe tour since the guide is very knowledgeable and it’s also a better time to see wildlife and view them in a little different way. We luckily encountered beavers, deer, heron, and some bird species.
– The End –
We didn’t have the chance to visit Elk and Bison Prairie this time. We heard that bison, elk, deer, and turkey were in LBL area, but were gone in 19th century when Europeans began to settle. States started to restore wildlife since 1920s.