Route: Sheltowee Trace (KY)

Kentucky, US


Climbing between deep hemlock gorges and piney, craggy summits, the Sheltowee Trace is a 319-mile National Recreation Trail (2015 alignment) that spans the Daniel Boone National Forest and Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in Kentucky and Tennessee. The name "Sheltowee" honors the history of Daniel Boone, who was captured by Shawnee Indians while making salt in an area close to the present-day trail. Chief Blackfish, his adopted Shawnee father, renamed him Sheltowee, which meant "Big Turtle."

The Trace was started by a US Forest Service landscape architect Verne Orndorf in the mid-1970s (listen to a 2005 oral history). He envisioned the trail for foot travel only, gaining inspiration from local Sierra Club members who wanted a long-distance footpath in Kentucky. Today, the Trace has an active non-profit, the Sheltowe Trace Association (STA), that actively helps build new trail and maintain existing trail for the public good. was created in 2004 with the goal to help trail users find good information and maps and to promote the preservation of the trail as a long-distance path. With the evolution of the internet, the main attraction to this site, the forum, couldn't keep up with social media and has been archived. While currently registered forum users can post as normal, the forum will not accept new registrations unless you contact us direcly. Looking forward, this site will try to offer the best maps available for the Trace.

Note:  The route is now (2019) officially 333 miles.  Earlier FKTs were done on shorter routes (307 miles in 2014, 319 miles in 2016, 323 miles in 2018).


I will be attempting the self supported record going sobo starting on tuesday, you can follow my spot device here: This link should go active when I begin. Beyond that I will be documenting on instagram via @jupiterhikes and after write a trip report as well as upload any video I took during the attempt.


Also Rick's unsupported fkt from 2016 is really a self supported trip. In his trip report on facebook he mentions stopping at restaurants multiple times. It doesn't matter but I felt it was worth mentioning if this record becomes more popular in the future.

I failed my attempt, giving up about 5 days in after a run in with some nasty dogs that really messed with my already fragile mental state. After a couple half days to regain my stoke I wound up finishing in 11 days and 4 hours. I wrote this trip report in hopes of helping the next girl or guy who goes after the record. Including information from my hike, and about the trail from the perspective of someone traveling light and fast.

I just submitted files for the new self supported FKT for the Sheltowee Trace (new route 333 miles).  9 days, 6 hrs, 57 minutes. 

Here are the five videos documenting my FKT on the Sheltowee Trace:


1. FKT announcement

2. FKT preview

3. FKT part 1

4. FKT part 2  

5. Things I learned and would do differently on my next FKT attempt