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Turkey Bay OHV Area

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Explored:  December 22, 2003 by Shawn Dunnaway

We got a rare opportunity to go deep inside Turkey Bay's OHV Area in the Land Between the Lakes on Monday, December, 22, 2003.  We have been to Turkey Bay several times before but never on ATVs.

After riding with family and friends for about six hours, we didn't cover half of the 2,500-acre OHV area.  The network of trails, some marked and some not, ranged from flat to ridiculously steep and rocky.  On this day not many riders were out, being three days before Christmas.  But the few that were, the day provided excellent weather conditions with no wind and temps in the mid 50s.

Turkey Bay is well-known across the country by ATV and off-road enthusiasts.  With dozens and dozens of miles of trails the elevation of Turkey Bay ranges from 355 at Kentucky Lake's edge to about 600 feet.  With an elevation change of nearly 250 feet, the terrain around Turkey Bay is quite hilly and downright steep in most places.  If we had to guess, about 60-70% of the trails are rocky with the rest being dirt.  Good stuff!

A highlight of the trip was riding the three miles of shoreline along Kentucky Lake.  ATV riders are able to ride along Kentucky Lake, right on the water, from near US 68 all the way to Turkey Bay.  During this trip, the lake was at winter pool elevation.  In the summer months, you probably can't ride along the shore because the water would be too high in many places.

For the historical buffs, Turkey Bay seemed to have been mostly uninhabited lands before LBL moved in.  There are a handful of old home sites back there and even a couple of old paved roadways in the far northwestern corner (near Fenton).  We saw an old car from the 60s (no idea how it got where it was), a shed-like building that had not been torn down, and some sort of weird tower-like building that was still standing in the northwestern corner of the OHV area (see photo at bottom).  There are also three cemeteries in Turkey Bay, but we didn't see any of them.

Turkey Bay is managed by the Land Between The Lakes and riding there does cost... permits are required.  For more information about permits and fees, call LBL at 1-800-LBL-7077.  You can also find more information on our Turkey Bay page.

Photo by John Mahler

If you've never visited The Land Between The Lakes in the fall, you are missing a real treat. Whether you are hiking, fishing, boating or just sight-seeing, fall is one of the most beautiful times to visit the lakes.