Turkey Bay OHV Area: A Great Place to Wheel!
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This site is dedicated to Turkey Bay Off Highway Vehicle Area in Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. It is truly a great place to "wheel."

Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area (LBL, as I will call it from this point forward) is administered by the U.S. Forest Service, after having been handed over to them in 1999 by TVA. It is located in western Kentucky between Barkley Lake and Kentucky Lake. 

The Tennessee River and the Cumberland River run parallel to one another and are separated by only a few miles in western Ky. When the dams were built to create Kentucky Lake on the Tennessee River and Barkley Lake on the Cumberland River, the remaining land between these rivers that had not been flooded became LBL.

Turkey Bay OHV Area is located just south of Hwy 68 on "The Trace," which is the main north-south road through LBL. Once you cross either Barkley Lake or Kentucky Lake on Hwy 68, depending on the direction from which you enter LBL,  just go south on the Trace about two miles. The entrance to Turkey Bay will be a right turn as you are going south on the Trace.

Turkey Bay has 2000 acres of great terrain for wheelin'. It consists of heavily wooded hills and hollows, with narrow, twisty, rocky trails that are lots of fun to run.

There are gullies or ravines that twist and turn and can present a real challenge. 

There are mud holes for those who like mud, but I am not a fan of mud and avoid it when I can.

You can drive right down to the gravel shores of Kentucky Lake, which is the western boundary of Turkey Bay OHV area.

There are trails near the lake that climb ridges, go down the opposite sides, wind around coves, and repeat the process for the succeeding ridges and coves. The lake is often in view as you run these trails.

I tried to find one picture to use here on the home page that would be representative of the wheelin' at Turkey Bay, but because of the great diversity in the terrain, there was no single picture to be found that would serve that purpose. I just picked one that I liked, and it shows Kentucky Lake in the background with my Jeep parked on top of one of the ridges near the lake.

They claim to have 100 miles of trails within Turkey Bay OHV Area, and I believe it. There are trails intersecting trails and trails that fork and then fork again and again.  It is almost impossible to learn every segment of every trail. As many times as I have been there, I am still not totally familiar with each trail section.

You must be careful to check things out up ahead, if you are on an unfamiliar trail. Trails that start out with very easy terrain can turn into something that you do not want to tackle, and there may be no good place to turn around.  This is especially scary when you start a steep climb and get near the top, only to find a rock ledge that is more than you can handle, or trees too close together to allow you to continue.  In many cases, a three point turn would put you too far off camber, so you must back down a good ways.

It's best to go with someone who is familiar with Turkey Bay to serve as your trail guide. When I lead, I sometimes still have to ask people to hang back until I check something out first. I will eventually know every foot of every trail, but I am not to that point yet. Also, conditions can change, so a trail that might have been doable at one time can become impassable, if a large tree falls across it, or if it has become more deeply rutted since your last run.

Most of the ridges have trails that run along the very top and trails that drop off from them and lead down into the hollow below. You have to be sure what's down there before you commit! There could be a large tree across the trail just around the corner and out of sight from the top, or the last three or four feet at the very bottom could be a straight drop-off. Many of these descending trails are WAY too steep to allow you to back up.  Just be careful, and check out the trail ahead before you commit to anything. I don't want to scare anyone away, but I don't want anyone to get hurt, either. Common sense will keep you out of most of the potential dangers.

From what I have just said, I think you can see the importance of communication on the trails. If the leader goes to check something out, he is not going to want to turn around and come back to tell everyone whether or not they should go ahead. A properly functioning CB radio is a MUST! They are just about the cheapest mod you will ever get for your Jeep, and they can be worth their weight in gold.

There is terrain at Turkey Bay for the beginner in a stock Jeep, but there is also very challenging terrain for the more experienced Jeeper with a built-up Jeep. It's important to know where you are going, so that you stay on terrain that you are prepared to tackle.

Turkey Bay OHV Area is pretty much open every day of the year, but if you are driving a long way to get there, it would be smart to call first to be sure they are open.  If there has been a lot of freezing and thawing of the soil, they will sometimes close Turkey Bay for a few days. If the water level is real high in the lake due to heavy rains, then at least part of Turkey Bay would be closed. Call 270-924-2000 for up to date info.

The fees are very reasonable. They charge $15 for three consecutive days, and that is per vehicle, not per person. If you think you will be going as many as three times per year, then the yearly pass for $45 is the way to go. These fees do not include camping, although there are camp sites within Turkey Bay OHV Area. 

You will find a link named "Kentucky Lake Info" on my "Links" page that will take you to a website with a LOT of info on accommodations, local attractions, etc.

I now ask that you do me a favor and click on "People Between the Rivers" in the navigation bar above. There is a sad story that you need to read concerning the former inhabitants of LBL. Please click on the link that you will find on that page, and read the story of what happened to these people as told by one of them.

Sunday, January 4, 2004

Trash!
I guess it's just a temporary set back, but Turkey Bay was trashier yesterday than I had seen it for a good while. I spent a good part of my time picking up cans and bottles, instead of wheelin',  like I should have been able to do.
 
I had been very pleased with the trend that I had seen:  the place seemed to be getting cleaner as time went by. I have participated in all three clean up days they have had since I have been going to Turkey Bay, and the amount of trash to be found during the clean up days had gone down each time. On the last clean up day, you litterally had to go looking for trash, and when you found some, it was just and isolated bottle or can here and there.
 
Yesterday, however,  on just about every trail I ran, I would find cans and bottles intermittently. I guess it was still actually cleaner than when I first started going to Turkey Bay, but there was much more trash than I had been seeing lately.
 
People, PACK IT IN - PACK IT OUT!  I'm preaching to the choir, as they say, cause the people who come to this website are Jeepers, and Jeepers don't litter. Jeepers tread lightly!
 
Tom
7:57 am pst

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Picture file sizes
OK, I guess I have come to a decision about the pictures in here. I'm going to leave them like they are.
 
I know the pages load VERY slowly for those with a dial up connection. I have dial up too, so you can imagine how long it took me to upload the pics and to do all the editing on this website.
 
What's the big hurry? Just let the pics load, and then when you click on them, they immediately show up at full size and in good quality.
 
At least try a page or two and see if you think it's worth the wait.
 
Tom
12:23 pm pst

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Not sure what to do about picture file size
I tried downsizing one of the pics, and it looked awful on the screen. I guess I would rather have more of my webspace tied up and have slower loading of the pages than to have crummy looking pics. Oh well.
8:19 pm pst

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Big picture files
Hey, I know some of these pages take too long to load for those with dial-up connections. Believe me, I KNOW: I have dial-up too. I'll fix that eventually by reducing the definition of the pics with my photo editing software and replacing the ones in here with the new ones. I guess for viewing on a computer, the quality of these pics is much higher than necessary. I'm new at this, so I'm learning as I go.
 
Tom 
4:49 am pst

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Be sure to re-read stuff
Hey, just cause you have already read a section in here, don't assume that nothing has changed. I am constantly revising text as I continue to build this site. Things will be changing rapidly until I get this site like I want it, and then it will be getting updated as I get more pics from my wheelin trips, although the changes will not be as frequent then.
8:52 pm pst

2004.01.01 | 2003.11.01

Have you hugged your Jeep today?