In north central Tennessee and southeastern Kentucky, there's fabulous riding in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area (BSF), which is under the auspices of the National Park Service. A multi-recreational area comprised of 125,000 acres in the Cumberland Plateau, BSF offers more than 180 miles of well-maintained, well-marked riding trails, and helpful, courteous rangers and stable managers to make your riding vacation in the area enjoyable.
But it's the trails with views of awesome gorges and sandstone rock formations that make BSF worthwhile. The trail footing is comprised mostly of dirt and sand, with some mild rocky areas, especially around and through creeks. And, at one point, you can even ford the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River. Although the area is rugged, the trails are well-constructed and placed so that you can have a great outing regardless of your riding level and your horse's trail experience, as long as you're prepared and choose the appropriate trails.
The following directions will get you to the main park, but note that the road from Oneida has some steep sections (up to a 13 percent grade) and hairpin curves. It's a good, paved road, and many a big rig has traversed it. But if you're a timid driver, or your vehicle is low on power, you might want to consider one of the other approaches.
Interstate 40 travelers: Take the Jamestown-Crossville exit onto U.S. 127. Go north on U.S. 127 for 36 miles into Jamestown. Two miles north of Jamestown, take Highway 154 north to the intersection of Highway 297 (Leatherwood Ford Rd.). Take Highway 297 east to BSF, located just off Highway 297.
Interstate 75 northbound travelers: Take the Oneida-Huntsville Exit 141 onto Highway 63. Follow Highway 63 for 21 miles through Huntsville, Turn right on U.S. 27, and drive north seven miles to Oneida. At the first traffic light, turn left onto Highway 297 west. Follow U.S. 297 to BSF.
Southbound I-75 travelers: Take the Mt. Vernon Exit 62 onto Highway 461 south for 19 miles to Route 80. Take Route 80 west into Somerset, Kentucky. Take U.S. 27 south to Burnside, then onto Highway 90 west for 15 miles. Then take 90 Business through Monticello to Highway 167. Go south on Highway 167 that becomes Highway 154 in Tennessee. A couple of miles after you pass Pickett State Park Entrance on your left, turn left on Highway 297 (Leatherwood Ford Road) and follow it and the signs to BSF.