The Long Creek National Recreation Trail, located very near and in between Honker and Hematite Lakes, is paved and handicapped-accessible. This trail is ideal for individuals who use wheelchairs or have a tough time getting around.
The trail is very scenic. It has a printed guide at the trailhead so users can spot and distinguish different types of habitat along the way. At only two-tenths of a mile and completely flat, anyone can enjoy a taste of this environment.
The back of the trail is a loop that parallels Long Creek, the stream that empties Hematite Lake. The “right-of-way” along the trail is mowed and maintained, so users have an opportunity to explore some of the area around the creek. As we were walking toward the creek, we spotted a gorgeous Green Snake Rough. These insect-eaters are completely harmless and can be handled, but we didn’t bother and let him on his way.
Walking further around the loop we saw movement in the grass and heard a “plop” in the water nearby – another snake, but we didn’t see what kind it was. At this point, we had seen three snakes in the last 15 minutes, so we decided to be on the lookout. We aren’t “herpers” and have no experience with snakes.
Not 25 feet further, I spotted a five-foot long Black Racer. This one startled me because of his size. He didn’t move or seem bothered by us as we walked on with a careful eye on the critter.
After the loop, we headed back down the trail to the car. It was a great little hike that netted us some awesome wildlife viewing. However, if you don’t like snakes, you probably don’t want to take this trail. Chances are you’ll spot one or two, or even four! Maybe check it out in the winter?
When I was a kid, I thought it would be neat to be an archaeologist. I suppose that is why I find some of the remains of “past civilizations” fascinating in the Land Between The Lakes. But the society that is evident in LBL today was from 50 years ago, not 5,000… a period which most archaeologists might enjoy. In fact, many people remember what it used to be like in LBL before TVA took over. But for folks like me, we don’t have the memories… but we see the evidence and hear the stories.
Sometimes I waste time browsing satellite maps of the lakes and surrounding area. I’ll educate myself with seemingly useless information, but sometimes I’ll find something that I have to go see for myself. One day I spotted a bridge that appeared in the waters of Energy Lake.
During summer pool the bridge is covered by water. Two signs posted on the bridge warn boaters of the potential hazard. Believe me, if the signs weren’t there and your boat ran over the concrete structure, you would be in trouble. We went out to the mouth of Energy Lake (Crooked Creek Bay) at the end of LBL Road 154 (by the way, there are a ton of backcountry camping opportunities around this area). At the end of the road, there it was… about 100 feet from the shoreline.
The bridge is about 160 feet long, one-lane and is made entirely of concrete. I suppose it is a fish attractor because there were several anglers out there fishing around the bridge. The structure used to be a part of Kentucky 289, a state-road that paralleled Lake Barkley prior to the creation of the lake in the early 1960s
Prior to the Land Between The Lakes being taken over the by US Forest Service from TVA, one of the more popular attractions in the park was Silo Overlook. It was located on the shores of Lake Barkley near Honker Lake at the end of Mulberry Flat Road (GPS 36.908W, 88.016N).
The structure was an abandoned silo that rises about 40 feet from the ground. It was converted into an overlook with a wooden incline built to the top. Folks could walk up the top of the silo for beautiful views of Lake Barkley.
Sometime in the late 1990s, or perhaps during the Forest Service/TVA transfer, Silo Overlook was abandoned. We aren’t sure why but can speculate that is was for safety and liability reasons. The access road has been barricaded and closed to vehicular traffic, but you can walk down the old road to the remains of Silo Overlook.
The first portion of the walkway/incline has been removed to keep people off of the silo. The rest of it is in terrible condition with all the wood deteriorating. Extensive renovations would be needed if Silo Overlook were to ever open again.
While there, we also explored the shoreline of Lake Barkley and took some photos of some interesting objects. As always, if you can provide any insight into these objects or the silo (especially if you have old photos of Silo Overlook open), please share them with us by emailing email@example.com. We’ll credit you on this page with any information provided.
Thanks to Bryan for the photo at the top showing Silo Overlook’s glory days. The remaining photos shown here are from our trip in November 2008.
“Vampire Hotel” (moniker) is an abandoned structure near Kentucky Lake in the Land Between The Lakes. The stone and concrete structure was partially torn down in the 1960s with the creation of LBL but part of it remained. It was one of just a handful of remaining structures in LBL not completely removed. Throughout the 1990s, it had become a popular hangout spot with locals – some of whom were less than reputable.
In 1901, William White had a problem. He wanted to bring a railroad to Cadiz, Kentucky from nearby Gracey to help transport tobacco and other freight across the area. Gracey had nice rail lines served by the Illinois Central and the Louisville and Nashville. Connecting Cadiz to Gracey would benefit the citizens of this Trigg County seat immensely.
Empire Farm is an abandoned farming educational and demonstration area in Land Between The Lakes. Empire Farm once served as the headquarters of the Kentucky Woodlands National Wildlife Refuge in the 1930s. The refuge covered large swaths of land in the northern portion of present-day Land Between The Lakes.
When Land Between The Lakes became a National Recreation Area in the 1960s, Empire Farm became an agricultural education center until sometime in the 1980s. The fields today are still maintained by cooperative farmers, but the buildings and barns have been abandoned for quite some time.
Crystal Akers recently sent us these photos of her own personal exploration of Empire Farm. If you want to explore this area for yourself, see the Google Map below the photos for directions.
Photos of Empire Farm
Thanks again to Crystal Akers for the great photos.
Location of Empire Farm
This area is located in the northeastern part of Land Between The Lakes near the abandoned Silo Overlook.
Lake Barkley recently turned 50. The US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) built Barkley Dam on the Cumberland River near Grand Rivers in the early 1960s. The dam birthed Lake Barkley – a shallow sister of Kentucky Lake, just a few miles east of its sibling.