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Riding The Trails At Turkey Bay Off-Highway Vehicle Area

Turkey Bay Off-Highway Vehicle Area is one of the lesser-known jewels hiding within the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area on the southern Kentucky and northern Tennessee border. The nature reserve is in-between two lakes, Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley.

Land Between the Lakes boasts 170,000 acres of woods and wetlands. This area is home to countless species of wildlife. LBL has several wonderful campgrounds, a planetarium, horseback riding trails, and the off-road wonder that is Turkey Bay.

Turkey Bay OHV
All images courtesy of Teresa Filgis

Turkey Bay OHV area is an off-road getaway where 4-wheelers, dirt bikes, and UTVs come to play. A UTV is a utility task vehicle or more commonly known as a side by side. These are awesome in the fact that UTVs can seat two, four, or up to six people.

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My family has recently gotten our first side by side, a four-passenger Kawasaki Tyrex. I wasn’t really sure what to expect when my husband made this purchase. He got it for the whole family, but of course, it was his idea. “The kids will love it,” he said. I was a bit more cautious, but boy was he right. Our kids, who are 10 and 6 years old, do love it. And so do I!

UTV
Kawasaki Tyrex

Turkey Bay hosts many different off-road vehicles, but the UTVs were by far the most popular vehicles there. The beauty in owning a side by side is that you can easily fit a family into one vehicle together.

Now, there are many brands to choose from if you are considering getting a UTV. Do your research to find out what will fit your family’s needs. We got the Tyrex by Kawasaki, a four-seater that has been great for us. Some more popular brands are Polaris, Can-Am, and Yamaha. Some of these UTVs are made for speed, some are made for climbing steeper trails. It all depends on what you are looking for in a utility vehicle.

Turkey Bay
Riding along the shoreline

Turkey Bay has over 100 miles of trails for off-road vehicles. These trails snake along the Kentucky Lake shoreline and go deep into the forests of LBL. Trails are marked by color—primary trails are yellow, secondary trails are orange, and the blue trails are the tertiary trails.

Having been to Turkey Bay several times now, I know that the blue trails are the steepest, most narrow, and hardest to navigate. The yellow trails are my favorite because these are the trails that everyone goes on, the most common trails.

Worn smooth by riders, these trails are meant for speed. You can really fly on the yellow trails. If you want more of a challenge then the orange trails are the way to go. You can still go at a good pace, but these trails are steeper. It’s better to take a bit more time on the orange trails. If you can navigate the harder blue trails, they connect the primary (yellow) and secondary (orange) trails.

Turkey Bay also offers backcountry camping for $8.00 per night. There are no electric hook-ups and there is no bathhouse. Wranglers Campground, another wonderful camping area located in Land Between the Lakes, is less than a mile away.

Guests staying at Turkey Bay can use the facilities at Wranglers Campground at no extra charge. Wranglers has nice bathhouses and a small general store with limited seasonal supplies. You must show your Turkey Bay camping permit to use their facilities.

Camping
Camping at Turkey Bay

If you enjoy riding the trails through the woods and by the water, Turkey Bay Off-Highway Vehicle Area at Land Between the Lakes is an awesome off-road park. You can climb the hills on your dirt bike or 4-wheeler, or you can hit up the hills and valleys in your UTV so the whole family can join in on the fun.

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