Kentucky: Turkey Bay OHV Area

Turkey Bay, Ky.

Tired of riding the same local trails over and over again? Plan a trip to Turkey Bay in Kentucky.

Located right in the middle of the "Land between the Lakes" area in western Kentucky, the Turkey Bay OHV area spreads over 2,500 acres containing hundreds of miles of trails, so it's very unlikely you will be able ride all the trails in a single weekend. But wouldn't it be fun to try?

No matter which season you choose to visit Turkey Bay, the surrounding heavily wooded hills and valleys come alive with color. Redbud and dogwood bloom in early spring, the forest turns a lush green all summer, and the changing leaves in the fall provide a rainbow of color.

Riders who have ridden trails in the central part of the good ol' USA, know what to expect when it comes to trail conditions: expect every condition imaginable. Because of the geology in the area, rocks are everywhere, from large and fixed to small, loose attention-getters will test you and your tires. Don’t forget your plug kit!

Many of the hills will challenge the novice rider, so don’t attempt anything you aren’t ready for. There is always a way around these obstacles.

One feature that makes this area special is Kentucky Lake. The park is set up so you can camp right at the water's edge, if you want. Just imagine: After riding for a few hours, you’re hot, sweaty and covered with dust, so how cool would it be to ride your ATV down to the lake and go for a swim or jump on your personal watercraft for a spin around Kentucky Lake?

Riders at the park keep the area clean, urged on by the placement of "Pack it in, pack it out" signs.

We have all heard the anti-ATV forces falsely claim that motorized recreation and wildlife can’t coexist. Less than a mile away from the Turkey Bay trails is the elk and bison prairie natural area. This is an area where the US Forest Service has tried to re-create nature as it was 200 years ago. By the way, for $3 you can drive your car through this "natural" area.

To ride the trails at Turkey Bay, you can purchase a three-day permit for $15, a seven-day for $25, or an annual permit is a bargain at $45. You can purchase ice, soft drinks, your OHV permit and pay your $8 camping fees at the park entrance. There is an abundance of primitive camping sites, drinking water is available and chemical toilets are conveniently located.

Helmet use is required and riding passengers on ATVs not designed to carry passengers is prohibited. No person under the age of 16 may operate an ATV with an engine size exceeding 90cc.

Legislators in Kentucky are currently working on legislation that, if passed, would ban all ATV riding by children under 16. The ATVA is working to help stop this restrictive legislation in Kentucky.

Turkey Bay is a true off-highway vehicle area. Not only are ATVs and motorcycles welcome, but full-sized 4x4s and dune buggies also use the trails.

Aurora, only four miles away, is the closest town with restaurants, gas, groceries and motels.

For more information contact the USDA Forest Service, Land Between the Lakes, 100 Ban Morgan Drive, Golden Pond, KY, 42211; call (800) LBL-7077; or visit