To do as there-and-back trail it would be 27 miles. Great, long hike. Would NOT recommend going in the summer because ticks are awful! Just went today and probably picked off total of 40 ticks for two people- even after using bug spray. Def a strenuous trail- not anything too difficult, just lots of ups&downs. We started at the trail head in Dawson springs, right before the bridge (you will park by a canoe rental place). Walk over bridge and trail veers off road and into the Forrest in about .4 miles. Portions were VERY thick, but trail marked well just have to pay attention. The park office said this would be best trail head to use because hikers weren't able to find trail head near resort due to it being so overgrown. Not a trail if you don't like fighting through bushes/overgrowth.. Would recommend for late fall, winter, and early spring.
This trail is not the hardest trail in KY and it's not the prettiest, but doing any portion of the Pennyrile Nature Trail (PNT) is pretty strenuous and satisfyinlgy pretty. Let's start with the basics. No equestirans and not ATV's. That's a plus. Trail is mostly single track on compacted soil with very little two track and abandoned roads. Rocky sections are rare. This trail got a bad rap a few years ago for haveing lots of uncleared windfall and got hammered with the ice storm more recently than that, but all that has been fixed. Trail blazes aplenty an it is well signed. Three trail heads, one north, one south and one in the middle. 13.5 miles for length is spot on. Not too many places to camp with level ground, but they can be found. Some pretty ravines, hardwood forests and bluffs on the south end. This trail has many ups and downs that will wear you out. Plenty of lake views when leaves allow for long views. In short, a hard trail with enough scenic views to make it worth your while and a whole lot of miles if you do the whole thing. Food nearby at both ends of the trail! Leave no trace.
The Lake Trail is only a 2.5 mile loop. Pretty easy. If you want longer, do the Pennyrile Nature Trail which is 31.1 miles headed N. Trail runners beware, lots of ankle twisters but fine for experienced runners. I turned around about 2 miles in after crossing the 2nd hardball bec I was fighting sticker bushes at that point.
Randall F. on Pennyrile Forest Trail
Very scenic area. The loop around the lake is very hard and hilly. Lots of trees and shade so is a good walk on sunny days. Black top road into the Pennyrile lodge and the dinning is very good the times I visited. Trails are well marked and kept clean. Saw a ground hog squirrels and lots of birds on my visits. Lake is alway very scenic and worth the trip to see and walk. Might be too hard for small children and people not in good shape. Can be fished any time of the year. Lake is very clear all the time. In the fall the leaves are very pretty and makes very good pictures with the lake.