“A little singletrack, a little gravel grinding, and a whole lot of fun!
— Chris Chaney
This ride is a must-do if you're in the Morehead/Cave Run area. This loop includes three miles of the Sheltowee Trace and a new section of singletrack built after "The Decision" (see history). Clack Mountain Road is a fantastic gravel doubletrack that can suck you in and cause you trouble real quick.
The USFS has put out a good map showing allowed uses in the whole area with planned trails as well: fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DO…
Need to Know
Begin from the visitors center parking area near the Cave Run Lake dam. Follow the Sheltowee Trace NRT: Section 8
north up a long steady climb with a couple of distinct cruxes to Lakeview Ridge Trail #122
. Once on the ridge, enjoy fun rollers and great views of Cave Run Lake for a couple of miles until you go down an extremely fast doubletrack downhill.
Once you cross the bridge, turn right, and it will bring you to Highway 801. Turn left and ride Highway 801 for roughly half a mile until you see Clack Mountain West Road
also known as Forest Road 16 on your left. It is across from Twin Knobs Campground. Ride this 4.5 miles until you see Forest Road 964. Turn left onto 964 until you reach the Sheltowee Trace NRT. After riding the Sheltowee Trace NRT for a mile you'll turn left onto the "Thumb" or Limestone Trail #109
. Once on Big Limestone Trail #109
, the nature of the trail changes to singletrack, which will be on the left side of the doubletrack road.
After riding Big Limestone Loops 1-4, you'll turn left onto the Sheltowee Trace NRT: Section 8
, which will take you back to your car, which is 3.5 miles. Enjoy the rollers across the ridge and a fantastic singletrack downhill descent.
History & Background
Twenty years ago, Cave Run Lake was the crowning jewel of Kentucky mountain biking. But after years of conflict between bikers and equestrians, years of overuse by horse people and under maintenance all around, the trails were in terrible shape.
Not so long ago those user conflicts came to a head. The Forest Service was forced to intervene and the result was a decision (THE Decision fs.usda.gov/detail/dbnf/new…
) which separated user groups and designated hike/bike and hike/horse areas with one small section of shared horse/bike trail.
The major upside of this decision was the allowance of some new trail development for horseback riding and mountain biking. Slowly but surely, Cave Run is once again becoming a mountain biking destination in the Bluegrass state.