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Kentucky Adventure Tour

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

The KAT is the premier overland route in Kentucky. The Kentucky Adventure Tour is the perfect amalgamation of Appalachia with its quaint towns and villages, scenic rivers, and dense forests.



Route Overview

Adventure Rating: Baja

Trip Length: 933 miles, 7-14 days

Season: Year round, but Spring - Fall recommended.

Technical Rating: Mostly green, blue on the alternative "hard trails".

Typical Terrain: 60% gravel and dirt roads, 40% paved backroads.

Recommended Vehicle: Truck/SUV w/ 4x4 and AT tires.

Adventure Vans: Sprinter 4x4s should be able to handle the majority of the main route. There are some sections with low hanging branches that may make passage for high roof Sprinters more difficult.

Alternative Routes: Yes! See bottom of route details for info.

Route Details

The Kentucky Adventure Tour is a 900+ mile loop (not counting the hard sections) around the hills and mountains of southeastern Kentucky. It is about 40% rural narrow twisty paved roads with the rest being gravel, dirt roads and trails. The route can be run in either direction, and you may choose to start at any location you like. Most adventurers tend to do portions of the route, but we recommend doing the entire track if you want to experienced Authentic Kentucky.


KAT Segment 1 (254 mi) Segment 1 travels from the Hindman area to just outside of the small village of Livingston. Much of this section of the route travels through the Daniel Boone National Forest, which contains numerous campgrounds and side trails to explore. The Red River Gorge Geological Area is definitely worth visiting, and provides numerous swimming, fishing, and boating opportunities. KAT Segment 2 (242 mi) Segment 2 travels from the Livingston to Newcomb, and also traverses through the Daniel Boone National Forest. The route also passes through the 125,000 acre Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. Segments 1 and 2 of the KAT both provide numerous recreational opportunities, especially those involving water (boating, swimming, fishing, etc). KAT Segment 3 (215 mi)

Segment 3 passes through a combination of forest service roads and county roads and byways. This section does pass through the Cumberland Gap area, but recreational opportunities are fewer compared to segments 1 and 2, although we definitely recommend checking out Pineville Overlook and Chain Rock.


KAT Segment 4 (222 mi) This section of the route begins in the Clintwood, VA area, and makes it's way back across the Kentucky border and concludes near Hueysville. This segment travels primarily through county roads and byways. Please be mindful of private property, as dispersed camping opportunities on this segment will be far and few between.



Alternative Routes

The route features numerous "hard trails" along the route. If you're looking for something bit more technical and challenging, then you'll want to check these out!


Camping Recommendations

Dispersed camping is permitted in various areas within Daniel Boone National Forest. We encourage adventurers to take advantage of the exquisite wild camping, where permitted.


Discovery Points

  • DP1 - Southfork Elk view

  • DP2 - North Fork Kentucky River

  • DP3 - Nada Tunnel

  • DP4 - Red River Gorge Geological Area

  • DP5 - Red River Jump Rock

  • DP6 - Wildcat Battle Monument

  • DP7 - Natural Arches

  • DP8 - Laurel River Lake

  • DP9 - Dog Slaughter Falls

  • DP10 - Wagon Arch

  • DP11 - Yamacraw Historic Bridge

  • DP12 - Princess Falls

  • DP13 - Twin Arches

  • DP14 - Pickett Fire Tower

  • DP15 - Oscar Blevins Historic Farmstead

  • DP16 - East Rim Overlook

  • DP17 - Pineville Overlook

  • DP18 - Cumberland Gap

  • DP19 - Pinnacle Overlook

  • DP20 - Hensley Settlement

  • DP21 - Black Mountain

  • DP22 - Birch Knob Observation Tower

  • DP23 - Mill Rock Point Overlook

Maps + Navigation


>> Always check with local land managers for road closures and conditions.


Recommended Maps

  • Google Maps

  • Gaia GPS (Neotreks Land Use layer, Gaia base layer)

Download GPX files


TIP: To expose alternative routes and points of interest in Google Maps, open the sidebar and select the desired layer.




Resources


Land Managers

Gallery



Terms of Use: Should you decide to travel a route that is published on Overlandtrailguides.com, you do so at your own risk. Always take the appropriate precautions when planning and traveling, including checking the current local weather, permit requirements, trail/road conditions, and land/road closures. While traveling, obey all public and private land use restrictions and rules, and carry the appropriate safety, recovery, and navigational equipment. The information found on this site is simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. In spite of the fact that this route, associated GPS track (GPX and maps), and all route guidelines were prepared under diligent research by Overland Trail Guides, the route accuracy and current conditions of roads and trails cannot be guaranteed.

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