New Meetup: Pennyrile State Park

From: Clinton L.
Sent on: Wednesday, April 22, 2009 3:18 PM
Announcing a new Meetup for Bowling Green Hiking Meetup!

What: Pennyrile State Park

When: May 2,[masked]:00 AM

Where: Click the link below to find out!

Meetup Description: Let's venture to the West and check out Pennyrile State Park, located in the Pennyrile State Forest about 20 miles northwest of Hopkinsville.

Hike Stats

Meeting time: 8 AM
Hike Distance: 5(ish) miles
Estimated Hike Time: 4 hours
Difficulty: moderate to difficult

Well behaved dogs are welcome - Pennyrile has a strict leash law

People traveling from Bowling Green can meet up in the Fairview Shopping Center Parking lot at 8AM to Carpool/ caravan over to Pennyrile State Park.

Estimated drive time from BG to Pennyrile is about 1.5 hours. We will head up the Natcher Parkway and catch the W. Kentucky Parkway to Dawson Springs and take KY109 down to the park. We will hike the Lake Trail and use the Cane and Pennyroyal trails to complete the loop. I just uploaded a trail map to the Files section, too.

Trail descriptions:

Trail Length: 1.8 miles; Trail Rating: Difficult.
The Lake Trail is the most popular of Pennyrile's Trails. The trailhead descends from the lower parking area of the lodge lobby and skirts the water's edge to the beach and boat dock facilities. The trail makes a demanding ascent up hand-laid, stone steps to a secondary bluff line where the trail moderates in terrain. Impressive boulders cast down through geologic time are strewn along the lake's edge in this area. The trail descends to lake level and follows the shoreline to a remote shelter at the intersection of the Lake and Pennyroyal Trails. Immediately past the shelter, hikers will encounter a forestry access road (closed to the public). After walking a short distance along this old gravel road, the trail continues. A pumphouse is on the left side of the trail. Shortly after crossing a low wooden bridge, hikers bear right to the lake's edge. The Cane Trail intersects with the Lake Trail immediately prior to crossing a small creek. The trail winds to a ridgeline that leads to the trail outlet at the end of Cottage Road. Hikers must then walk the Cottage Road to Pennyrile Dam, and climb the hand-hewn steps, and return at the lodge pool and play area.

Trail Length: 1.3 miles; Trail Rating: Moderately Strenuous.
The trail is so named for the patches of wild cane that occur at streamside in its lower reaches. From the end of Cottage Loop, the trail makes a moderately steep ascent to an upland forest ridge and passes through a mixed hardwood section of the forest. After winding along the ridgetop for a short distance, the trail descends to lower elevations through a stand of loblolly pines. These trees are not native to Kentucky, but are part of a reforestation effort. The gentle decline eventually leads to lake level and meanders along a woodland creek until it intersects with the Lake Trail. Hikers should bear left at this merging to return to the Cottage Loop trailhead.

Trail Length: 1.4 miles; Trail Rating: Moderately Strenuous.
Pennyroyal Trail is often missed by many hikers because of its remote trailhead. The trail was named for the abundant occurance of a wild mint, the American Pennyroyal, for which the park is also named. Unfortunately, the plant is becoming increasingly rare.After crossing a portion of the Lake Trail from the beach/boat dock area, the trailhead of Pennyroyal Trail is found after climbing sandstone steps to a secondary bluffline overlooking the beach. Hikers pass a wooden shelter and it is at this point that they must bear right and move upstream into the deeper woodlands. As the trail meanders along the creek, the oak-hickory forest gives way to a mixed hardwood forest. Beautiful evergreen Christmas fern communities are scattered throughout this section. After cresting near the ridgetop, the trail quickly descends to intersect the Lake Trail at yet another remote wooden shelter. Hikers should bear right at this merging to return to the beach/boat dock area.

Learn more here:

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