Land Between The Lakes NRA – Thursday, July 17-24, 2014

00 - Map of Travel to Canal COE Campground
A - Myrtle Beach State Park, Myrtle Beach, SC - June 18-25
B - Zooland Family Campground, Asheboro, NC - June 25-26
C - Stony Fork Campground, Wytheville, VA - June 26-July 2
D - Natural Bridge State Park, Slade, KY - July 2-13
E - Kentucky Horse Park Campground, Lexington, KY - July 13-17
F - Canal COE Campground, Grand Rivers, Ky - July 17-24

Thursday, July 17, 2014 – Travel Day to Canal COE CG, Grand Rivers, KY

We were on the road by 9am this morning. It was a very easy and pretty ride to Canal COE Campground in Grand Rivers, Kentucky.  Traffic was light and the weather was beautiful :o))

 02 - Martha Layne Collins Blue Grass Parkway07 - After Elizabethtown, we picked up Wendell H. Ford Western Kentucky Parkway


Canal COE Campground reminds us very much of MODOC in South Carolina. It is located on Lake Barkley and Barkley Canal.  We were surprised how very hilly and tight the roads are.  You will be backing uphill to put your rig into most of the sites!!

11a - Canal Campground Entrance - Beware 11b - Hilly Campground - must back uphill

Our site is really nice.  We knew it was lakefront:o))  However, we did not know that it was a steep drop to the lake and the lake view was blocked by trees:o((  That was a bit disappointing as we really had plans to just chill and do some fishing from our site.  Well, that was not going to happen since there really is not any easy shore access fishing spots.  Barkley Lake is all about BIG BOATS and SKIDOOS!!!
11c - Canal COE Campground - Site 73  11d - Canal COE Campground - Site 73
Once we got set up, we drove across the Barkley Canal which connects Lake Barkley and Kentucky  Lake to enter The Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area.  We were headed for the North Welcome Center to get information about what to see and do while we are here.
12c - land-between-the-lakes-map
12b - Crossing Barkley Canal - Entering LBL

Friday, July 18, 2014 – Driving the The Trace Scenic Byway
We decided today, before the weekenders arrived, would be a good day to drive The Trace. The Trace is the road that runs 43 miles north to south through The Land Between the Lakes.  Heading south, Lake Barkley is on the left and Kentucky Lake is on the right. Our campground is the RED star on the North end map.

Click on any photo to enlarge or hover your mouse on any photo for a description. 

North End                                                                            South End
00 - land-between-the-lakes-map- North   00 - land-between-the-lakes-map- South  
Our campground is just a mile from the North end of LBL. 

Our first stop was at the Barkley Canal Overlook.

Looking towards Lake Barkley                                                  Looking towards Kentucky Lake

00b - Barkley Canal Overlook - Lake Barkley  00c - Barkley Canal Overlook - Kentucky Lake


After that, we drove straight down The Trace about 30 miles. 

We crossed into Tennessee and continued on to the South Bison Range.

01 - Traveling South on The Trace to the Bison Range

We bypassed all the other attractions which we would check out on our return trip.

As we approached the range, we could see the Bison.

Perfect timing as they were moving and wouldn’t be here long:o))

02b - Entered Tennessee and see the  Bison Range02c -  Bison Range


After watching the Bison for awhile, we turned around and headed north on The Trace.

The first attraction we came to was The Homeplace, a recreation of a Mid 19th Century Farm.

This photo is from the Internet.

5-Homeplace Cabin a Mid 19th Century Farm

We decided to bypass this attraction as we have done several farm recreations in the past.


FYI: There is no charge to drive through the Land Between the Lakes.  However, three attractions: The Homeplace, Woodlands Nature Station and Golden Pond Planetarium have a $5 per person fee.    The Senior National Park Pass does get the cardholder only a 50% discount on these 3 attractions.  The other attraction that charges a fee is the Elk and Bison Prairie: $5 per car and no discount allowed. 


At just about the middle of The Trace, is the Golden Pond Visitor Center and Planetarium.

We stopped and looked through the interpretive displays.

04 - Golden Pond Visitor Center  04b - Golden Pond Visitor Center

We did not visit the Planetarium which has shows on the hour from noon to 4pm.


The highlight of our day was the next stop, The Elk and Bison Prairie!!

This is a restricted access area.

You pay at the automated entry gate which opens once you pay your $5.00!!

 06 - Elk and Bison Prairie Sign  06b - Elk and Bison Prairie Sign

Click on any photo to enlarge or hover your mouse on any photo for a description.

Just a few hundred yards into the Prairie, we saw two Elk tucked back under the trees. 

One was standing and the other lying down.

06c - Elk Standing  06d - Elk Standing and lying down

After watching the Elk for a bit, we continued our drive through the prairie.06d - One way drive through the Prairie

We didn’t see much until we saw brake lights at the hilltop in front of us…

The Bison had taken over the road and had no intention of moving out of the way!!06e - Bison Jam at the top of the hill

This is one time I wish we had a Sun Roof ;o))06e2b - Bison Jam - wish I had a sunroof

But I do have a ZOOM!!06e2 - Bison Jam at the top of the hill


Gradually, the herd moved around us… kind of just hanging out!!

There we sat and the line of cars continued to form behind us:o))

Did I mention these are BIG animals !!!!!

06e3 - Bison Jam at the top of the hill 06e4 - Bison Jam at the top of the hill06e5b - Bison Jam - OK you win 06e5c - Bison Jam - not in any big hurry

After about 20 minutes,

a park ranger drove around us and tried to move the herd.06e6 - Bison Jam - Ranger trying to break the jam06e6b - Bison Jam - Ranger trying to break the jam

They really weren’t intimated by her attempts, but finally gave us half the road;o)06e6c - Bison Jam - Ranger makes a break thru

This Big Boy just wasn’t willing to budge….

06e7 - Bison Jam - He never did move  06e7a - Bison Jam - He never did move

No Bill,  you  CAN’T  pet  the  Bison!!! 06e7b - Bison Jam - reach out and touch

That was waaaaay coooool ;o)))

We continued north on the Trace.
07 - Driving North on The Trace
Our last adventure was to see Woodson Chapel Cemetery, one of over 200 old cemeteries in The Land Between The Lakes.  You will see signs for them all along the highway.  We didn’t realize it was 6 miles down a stone and dirt road!!  But we just took our time and finally found it.
07b - Side Trip to Woodson Chapel Cemetery  07b2 - Side Trip to Woodson Chapel Cemetery - 6 miles07b3 - Side Trip to Woodson Chapel Cemetery - 6 miles  07b4 - Side Trip to Woodson Chapel Cemetery - 6 miles
Sat & Sun, July 19-20, 2014 – The Weekenders Are Here !!!
We made the decision to just chill this weekend.  These two lakes are huge and attract large crowds on the weekends.  Have to admit between the boats and skidoos, it sounded like someone was running a huge weed-wacker all weekend;o(( 
During our morning walk on Saturday, we saw some neat wildlife.
A Red-bellied Woodpecker at its nest, going in and out.
01 - Morning walk - Red Bellied Woodpecker and nest
01b - Morning walk - Red Bellied Woodpecker entering the nest 01c - Morning walk - Red Bellied Woodpecker looking out of the nest
There are deer all over the campground.
01c - Morning walk - Young Buck01d - Morning walk - Fawn
At the Camp Host’s site, we saw this pretty bird and funny weather forecast station;o))01e - Morning walk - Yellow Bird
01f - Morning walk - Weather Forecaster

Sunday we decided to go to Miss Scarlett’s Restaurant for breakfast.
Nice people and place, but the food did not live up to all the advertisement. 02 - Miss Scarlett's Restaurant
 After breakfast,
we drove to see the dams that create the lakes that border The Land Between The Lakes.
Kentucky Dam controls the Tennessee River to form Kentucky Lake.03 - Kentucky Lake Dam
Barkley Dam controls the Cumberland River to form Lake Barkley.03a - Barkley Dam
Both the Tennessee and Cumberland River have a real problem with Asian Carp.
We could see them jump and there were Bow Fisherman trying to shoot them.
03c - Asian Carp  03d - Bow fishing for Asian Carp

Both Saturday and Sunday afternoon,
we just enjoy the beautiful weather from our recliners and let the hummingbirds entertain us:o))4 - Hummingbird4b - Hummingbird4c - Hummingbird
Monday, July 21, 2014 – Hiking The Honkers !!
During our driving tour of The Trace, we skipped the Woodlands Nature Center.  We knew we were coming here on Monday to hike The Honkers Trail.  Up until today, we have had mild weather.  This week, things will be heating up, so we arrived at the trailhead by 8:30am to try and beat the heat!!
01 -Woodland's Nature Station  02 - Headed to the Honkers Trail
The Honkers Trail is a 5 mile loop trail. 
Halfway, you cross Honker Dam, which creates Honker Lake.00 - Honker's Trail Map
It was a pretty walk through the woods.
03 - Pretty Walk in the Woods03a - Pretty Walk in the Woods
Our first view of Honker Dam.
04 - First View of Honker Dam
Crossing Honker Dam
05 - Crossing Honker Dam
Honker Lake on the left                                         Lake Barkley on the right
05b - Crossing Honker Dam - Honker Lake to the left05a - Crossing Honker Dam - The Barkley to the right
Honker Lake has been closed to boats because of the Invasive Water Lilies;o((05v - Crossing Honker Dam - Honker Lake Invasive Water Lilies
By the time we crossed the dam, the temperature was near 90 degrees!!
The last two miles were hot and buggy:o((
06 - Heat is On and 2 miles to go 06s - Heat is On and the bugs were bad
At the end of the hike there was a gazebo.06b - Heat is On and almost done
Staying cool in the shade of the Gazebo were momma and baby barn swallows:o))
07b - Barn Swallows Adult07 - Barn Swallow Chicks
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 – Highs In The 90’s!!
After yesterday’s hike in the heat, we chose to take care of chores today.
Hopefully, it will cool down by Wednesday, our last day in The Land Between the Lakes.
Late this afternoon, we did one of the really touristy things to do in Grand Rivers, KY.
01 - Patti's Settlement01b - Patti's Settlement - A little Bit of Everything01c - Patti's Settlement - Pretty Flowers01d - Patti's Settlement - Waterwheel
It was another scorcher, so no one was walking around!!
We are really hoping that Patti’s is much better than yesterday's breakfast at Miss Scarlett’s.
01e - Patti's Settlement - Restaurant  01f - Patti's Settlement - Waiting for our Sandwiches
We both ordered burgers which come with coleslaw and homemade chips:o))
Bill had a double cheeseburger, so big he had to eat it with a knife and fork.
I had a chicken & portobello mushroom burger which was wonderful.
We both agreed we could have made a meal on just the Homemade Chips!!!
Patti’s is famous for her desserts. 
We just didn’t have room, but you can check out the dessert menu.
If we ever get back this way,
we will order a dessert with a side of chips for our meal :o))
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 – Cooler, But Raining ;o((
Well, we got some cooler weather, but the rains came in and stayed. 
Since there would be no outside adventures, we prepared for our travels tomorrow.
We made a run to the grocery store, got fuel and tried to get the blog up to date ;o)
Tomorrow, we will be leaving Kentucky and heading to Tennessee
where we plan to meet up with some old and new friends!!


  1. Anywhere to see bison is pretty cool :-)

  2. I didn't see that nasty old "no dogs" sign at the Honkers trailhead...are dogs allowed on the hiking trails? We've thought about stopping there on the way to Amazon in the fall.

    1. This is from their web site FAQ.
      Are my pets allowed in LBL?
      A. Pets are allowed at LBL, including hiking trails and campgrounds, but must be on a leash and under physical control at all times (especially when encountering other users on the trails). For health and sanitation purposes, you are required to clean up after your pet. Pets are not allowed inside the Camping Shelters. You may also have your pet at the Elk & Bison Prairie; pets must remain in the vehicle or on a leash at ALL TIMES while inside The Prairie. Pets are allowed at The Homeplace, and the Nature Station offers kennels for pets whose owners want to visit the facility (due to the wild animals in the backyard). Exceptions are made for dogs used for accessibility, such as guide dogs.

  3. I'm trying to figure out if you were sitting in your bison jam the same time we were sitting in ours. They are so cool those bison. Big and imposing. This is a great summary of your week. Don't envy you the motor noises at the big lake but sometimes you just don't know what a place is like without going there. Looking forward to hearing about the old and new friends.

  4. I love seeing bison up close, they are such amazing looking animals, but boy do they smell! ;c)

  5. I love the young bison- they are so much fun to watch.

  6. The bison reminded me of the Black Hills. They are fascinating to watch...and huge when one comes up to the car!

    Hope you had a safe trip to Tennessee and that Texas T works OK for you.

  7. I enjoyed your visit to Land Between the Lakes! It's been on our To-Do List for a long time . . . need to get there one of these days!

  8. Thank you! We're planning a family trip to LBL and your blog is proving very helpful! Do you recall where the playground was in Canal Campground? We have two children who love to camp near the playground and play til it's dark! We like when they tire themselves out!

    1. It has been 3 years since we visited and I can't remember where the playground was located. However, if you call the campground ((270)362-4840), I think they could tell you what sites are closest. Have a great time!!!