Primary Yellow 1 isn’t a pretty name, but it is a pretty trail through the Kentucky forest. Located smack in the middle of Land Between the Lakes, Turkey Bay OHV Area boasts over 100 miles of off-road trails, and this is one of the main routes through the park. Camping is allowed nearly anywhere along these trails, even shoreline camping and access to Kentucky Lake.
These trails are the only designated 4x4/off-road trails in the 170,000 acres in the Lakes National Recreation Area. The 40-mile long national park offers hiking, horse trails, 300 miles of undeveloped shoreline, mountain biking, 400+ miles of scenic roads, and 1400 campsites, including within Turkey Bay.
Since this is a primary trail within the OHV park, you will most likely spend time along this trail at some point. Once inside the park, you could spend days exploring it and never take the same way twice. Consider this the first 7 miles of a massive OHV playground and get to Turkey Bay.
Trail Difficulty and Assessment
Stock SUV with High Clearance and 4 Low
The trail gets its rating from the undulating road surface and mud is a constant presence on this trail.
The hardest part of the trail that you
cannot bypass - you have to drive it.
The hardest part of the trail that is
purely optional - you can bypass it.
Typically, more rock or undulated road surface. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 12" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 12" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 24" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep.Read More about our Rating System
This trail is mostly soft and muddy dirt throughout. The loop trail starts on Turkey Creek Road and loops back around to a road that dumps back out on Turkey Creek Road just before the pay station. The trail comes in at a little over 7 miles and contains no specific obstacles to note, only that mud and rainy conditions can make conditions here change quickly due to the areas of off-camber nature of some of the turns. A 4x4 with clearance is needed for this trail due to the muddy and slippery nature of this trail along with rutting from usage that will be easier to accomplish with some articulation. New and experienced drivers can get through this trail without much of an issue.
Stay right at this large intersection with 8201 & 8301 on the left side of the trail, follow the well-worn dirt. This large area has a number of campsites at it, large enough for a trailer with a truck.
3. Unknown Spur - Stay Straight (0.15
Stay straight through these unknown trails. They are not on the official maps but look well worn in.
4. Unknown Spurs - Stay Straight (0.25
Stay straight through these unknown trails. They are not on the official maps but are well worn in.
5. 7301 - Stay Right (0.3
Stay right as 7301 brushes this trail and runs parallel for a short time before becoming 7318 at the next waypoint.
6. 7318 - Stay Right (0.32
Stay right as the parallel track splits to the left at 7318.
7. 7320 & 8204 - Stay Left (0.46
Stay left at the intersection with 7320 & 8204.
8. 7321 - Stay Right (0.57
Stay right at the intersection with 7321.
9. 7344 - Stay Right (0.62
Stay right at the intersection with 7344.
10. 7343 - Stay Straight (0.69
Stay straight through this intersection with 7343 & 8329.
11. 7205 - Stay Right (0.79
Stay right through this intersection with 7343 & 8329.
12. 8330 - Stay Left (0.85
Stay left through this intersection with 8330.
13. Marker 2 - Stay Left (1.09
Stay left through this intersection with Marker 2 that is posted on a tree here.
14. 7209 & 5204 - Stay Straight (1.15
Stay straight through this intersection with 7209 & 5204.
Stay straight through this large intersection at Marker 5. It can get confusing but just try to look straight across from where you started to see where you need to go at the next waypoint.
26. Trail Split - Follow Trail to Right to #6 (3.17
Follow the trail to the right at this intersection. Old maps indicate that the trail on the left used to go all the way north but may be closed off just past this intersection and carries no official number. There is a marker with a number "6" and an arrow.
27. 6201 & 6202 - Stay Left (3.28
Stay left at the intersection with 6201 and 6202.
28. 6205 - Stay Left (3.72
Stay left at the intersection with 6205.
29. Marker 6 - Stay Right (3.6
Stay right at the intersection with Marker 6. The trail to the left heads north towards the only marked rock garden in the park.
30. 6201 - Stay Left (4.36
Stay left at the intersection with 6201.
31. 6204 - Stay Left (4.41
Stay left at the intersection with 6204.
32. Marker 8 - Stay Left (4.45
Stay left at Marker 8. The trail to the right heads back into the middle of the park.
33. 9201 - Stay Left (4.82
Stay left at the intersection with 9201.
34. 9203 - Stay Straight (5.19
Stay straight past the intersection with 9203.
35. 9205 Stay Straight (5.29
Stay straight past the intersection with 9205.
36. End of Trail (5.45
The trail ends back at 167.
There is camping within the trail system of the park along all of these trails and their side trails. The site does not have to be developed as long as any fires are contained. Please pay the fee at the guardhouse within 30 minutes of selecting your site. The camping pictured is at the start of this trail and the end of Turkey Creek Road.
Additional campgrounds, including more amenities like showers and RV hookups, are available within Land Between the Lakes which has over 1400 designated campsites that can be reserved here.
Head east on KY-80 East for 18.2 miles and take the Woodlands Trace exit toward Grand Rivers/Dover. Turn right to merge onto KY-453 S/Woodlands Trace for 2.2 miles to Turkey Creek Road on the right side of the street. Travel 1.06 miles to the trailhead on the right.
My first off road experience... was more up and down than the pics on here suggested, but it was great fun. Took about an hour and 45 to get through it. Mud in lots of spots but I never got stuck. I'm in a '18 JL with all season tires, so I was nervous going in, but it handled everything like a champ. I really enjoyed this trail... more rocks than I had anticipated, and one section around the #19 marker went down severely and was washed out, which made navigating it difficult but it was also very fun. I'll be back.
This trail was my first foray into the LBL off-road park and it was a muddy mess that was actually pretty fun. 4WD is a MUST here, at one point I couldn't get out of the Jeep because the ground below was so slippery even my boots couldn't get traction. I went on a weekday and didn't encounter too many people, though I imagine there are a lot more ATV's during the summer weekends.
From the Community
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Mapping Crew - Colorado
Jen & JD moved to Colorado from Chicago in May of 2015 for work and brought with them a 2001 stock Jeep Wrangler that had been garage bound for two years. Within a month of arrival, all rusty 170,000 miles of it was shaking on Colorado trails and they've never stopped. As time as gone on, their 2001 TJ had to be traded and a 2015 Jeep JK has been added to the family.
JD works as a Systems Engineer for a cable company and Jen runs a business from their home during the week to pay the bills. When the weekend hits, they're almost always hitting the trail. When Sunday night rolls around, the question turns to, 'so what's next week?!'.
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