This 5.2 mile trail departs from the “C” area. Riders follow the trail along the western edge of Ford’s Bay on Lake Barkley. This trail offers many scenic vistas and opportunities to view wildlife such as bald eagles, ospreys, waterfowl, and shorebirds. Binoculars recommended.
This short two-mile loop trail provides a beautiful late afternoon or early morning ride. It departs from the “C” trail head. Watch for deer, wild turkey, and wildflowers.
This 2.6 mile loop trail departs from the “E” trail head and returns to camp in the back of “D” overflow. It too provides a great early morning or evening ride.
This 3-mile trail begins in area “A” at the old tobacco barn. We designed Trail 4 to follow saddles and ridge tops which minimize erosion and resource damage. Horse enthusiasts enjoy this trail at night riding under a full moon.
#5 is closed for erosion repair and culvert replacement.
This 9.3 mile trail departs from the “A” trail head by the old Tobacco Barn. On this trail you will find many natural springs, gentle rolling hills, and fields.
Departing from the day-use area, this 11.8 mile trail takes you to “Blue Hole.” Pack a lunch for a relaxing picnic by the creek — we provide picnic tables and tethering poles. You might want to also visit the block building, Laura Furnace, plus the historical marker and grave of The Little Drummer Boy.
After going to the Blue Hole, you may want to continue on Trail 7 to the tobacco barn. This 10.8 mile trail departs from area “C.” It follows along Forest Service Roads #174 and #353 before crossing Road #165.
The longest trail in the system, this 19.3 mile trail departs from area “C” and is shared with hikers along portions of the North/South Trail. Several roads serve as part of the trail. At the half-way point, you may join up with Trail 12 and ride around the South Bison Range to take in the sights.
This 8 mile trail departs from the Day Use Area and crosses Forest Service Road #165. Watch for the old chimney and natural spring near Bacon Creek Road. As you ride through sections of this trail, you may notice a rebirth of the area from a prescribed fire in 2004.
This 10.5 mile trail has become our riders favorite trail. It offers a wide variety of terrain. Ride along the edge of Lake Barkley and notice the homestead remnants.
Please do not disturb these remnants, and remember to watch for old wells and cisterns.
Tobacco Barn - FS Rd #172
Tobacco was a staple crop in the region. Evidence of its importance can be seen at this abandoned farm and homestead in the southern end of Wranglers off Forest Service Road 172. This old tobacco barn has been standing for decades. Its solid construction barely shows the passage of time. Other structures nearby — an old chicken coop, shed, and the homestead itself — wear their age with grace and dignity.
Laura Furnace Creek empties into Blue Hole, a deep spring rich in blue color for most of the year. Located on the south end of our horseback riding area, it’s a favorite spot for riders because of the peaceful scenery, cool water and proximity to many historic sites.
Notice the abundance of shiny blue rocks on the ground? That’s slag, evidence of the Laura Iron Furnace. It ceased operations more than 100 years ago and left a permanent mark on the landscape. This historic site offers a conservation learning opportunity.
Remember, leave the “slag” or “blue rocks” behind for others to enjoy. These date from the late 1800’s Iron Industry and are a protected part of history. To learn more, visit the Center or Great Western Iron Furnaces’ display boards.
Home is Where the Habitat is
Take notice of small ponds. These small wetland ecosystems provide habitat for waterfowl nests, aquatic reptiles, and amphibians. Ponds provide food, water, and shelter for many species of wildlife you may never see.
Riding in creeks and streams pollutes our watersheds. Avoid lengthy rides in creeks, streams, ponds, and lakes. Protect our wildlife.
Help us preserve our heritage.
Carvings and graffiti on trees and structures are unsightly and detrimental to timber and historical structures. Protect your public land.
Iron ore production helped the area prosper during the mid-1800s. It also took its toll on the environment. On the eastern boundary of Wranglers, Laura Furnace Creek flows right by the site of the old Laura Furnace. Notice the blue slag covering the forest floor, a by-product of the smelting process. Up the hill, large stones are testament to the furnace structure, now long gone. Observe the uniform size of the meadow’s trees; all planted at the same time. Workers cut timber near iron furnaces for charcoal, the iron furnaces’ fuel supply. The Laura Furnace ceased production in 1880, and the forest is still recovering from its overuse.
Little Drummer Boy
Historians believe Nathan Futrell to be the youngest drummer boy in the Revolutionary War at seven years old. The childhood adventures of this little American patriot have become the stuff of legend. By 1820, the North Carolina-born Futrell had settled right here on Ford’s Creek where he planted the area’s first apple orchard. He and his wife, Charity, are buried up a hill a mile or two beyond Wranglers Campground. The Daughters of the American Revolution erected a plaque in honor of Futrell’s war contributions. Kindly tether your horses outside the cemetery when you pay your respects.