Knobstone Trail: Descriptions & Trailheads
Reaching trailheads from Interstate 65
Trailheads have been developed for parking. There are KT posts (4-foot brown posts with the letters KT in yellow near the top) at the entrance roads to the trailheads and information signs at the parking areas.
- Deam Lake Trailhead
From Interstate 65, take Exit 16 (Memphis). Go west on Memphis-Blue Lick Road 2.2 miles and turn left on Bartle Knob Road Go 2.8 miles to intersection of Beyl and Mountain Grove roads. Take left on Beyl Road. Follow Beyl Road 2.7 miles to Crone Road. Take right on Crone Road. for one mile. Go right on Cummins Road for 1.3 miles. Go right at T-intersection to Wilson Switch Road. Turn left on Wilson Switch Road for 0.8 mile. Parking lot is on the right hand side of the road. View map.
- Delaney and Spurgeon Park Trailhead
From Interstate 65, take Exit 29 (Salem). Take State Road 56 west about 18 miles to first stoplight in Salem. Turn north on State Road 135, go 3.5 miles and turn right on Delaney Park Road. After 4.4 miles, the road goes left after crossing an old iron bridge. At 5.6 miles from S.R. 135 is Spurgeon Hollow Trailhead on right, down a gravel road. Continue on Delaney Park Road for 0.6 mile past Spurgeon Hollow Trailhead to get to Delaney Park. Turn right into Delaney Park and continue through park, past beech house, and follow gravel road about 0.2 miles to Delaney Park Trailhead.
- Oxley Trailhead
From Interstate 65 take Exit 29 (Salem). Go west on S.R. 56 for 7.8 miles and turn right on Elk Creek Road. Go 50 yards and turn left on Mount Hebron Road. Go 0.2 mile and turn right on Rutherford Hollow Road. Go 0.6 mile and turn left on Banes Hollow Road. Follow Banes Hollow Road for 1.5 miles to Oxley Trailhead on right.
- Elk Creek Trailhead
From Interstate 65 take Exit 29 (Salem). Go west on S.R. 56 for 7.8 miles and turn left on Elk Creek Road. Follow this road across old S.R. 56 and continue until the road turns to gravel. At this point turn left and follow blacktop to Elk Creek Trailhead.
- Leota Trailhead
From Interstate 65 take Exit 29 (Salem). Go west on S.R. 56 for 4.1 miles and turn left on Zion Road. Go 1 mile and turn right on Stagecoach Road. Go 1.1 mile and turn right on Leota Road. Go 1.3 miles to top of knobs and turn right on Saylor Road. Go 100 yards then turn right onto gravel trailhead entrance road.
- New Chapel Trailhead
From Interstate 65 take Exit 19 (Henryville). Go west on S.R. 160 for 5.4 miles and turn right on Liberty Knob Road. Go 0.5 mile on Liberty Knob Road to New Chapel Trailhead on right.
- Jackson Road Trailhead
From Interstate 65, take Exit 16 (Memphis). Go west on Memphis-Blue Lick Road for 2.2 miles and turn left on Bartle Knob Road. Follow Bartle Knob Road 6.3 miles to top of knobs and turn right on Hilltop Road. Follow Hilltop for 0.2 mile and turn right on gravel forest road. Follow gravel road about 0.2 miles to Jackson Trailhead on right.
Trail section descriptions
On the ground, the trail is marked by 2-inch by 6-inch white blazes painted near eye level on trees. Two blazes indicate the trail changes direction at an intersection with another trail or forest road. Attempts are made to mark the trail so it is easy to follow. Trees which fall on the trail can make it more challenging. Use both map and blazes while hiking.
- Delaney Park Loop
Loop is about 6 miles. Roughly 2, 7, or 9 miles to Spurgeon Hollow Trailhead, depending on route chosen. The Delaney Park Trailhead is located inside Delaney Park, 1/4 mile past the beachhouse on a gravel road. Delaney Park is about 2 miles east of S.R. 135 and 9 miles northeast of Salem. The trail to the southeast connects to the Spurgeon Hollow Loop. Continuing straight is the Delaney Park Loop, a rugged hike that connects to the Spurgeon Hollow Loop. The Delaney Park Loop can be completed by following the Spurgeon Hollow Loop back to the Delaney Park turn-off. Following the Delaney Park Loop to meet the Spurgeon Hollow Loop. Hikers can head west and continue 2 miles to Delaney Park or 3 miles to Spurgeon Hollow Trailhead. Turning east, hikers can follow the south side of the loop around to Spurgeon Hollow Trailhead, 5 miles, or continue 2.5 miles to the turn-off to Oxley Trailhead. It is about 2.5 miles to the Oxley Trailhead from the turn-off.
To drive from Delaney Park to the Spurgeon Hollow Trailhead, turn south from the Delaney Park entrance road onto the road it intersects, Delaney Creek Road, and follow for about 0.75 mile to the trailhead entrance road on the east. Watch for the “KT” post. Turn east onto the entrance gravel road to reach to trailhead.
- Spurgeon Hollow Trailhead to Oxley Memorial Trailhead
Length is about 5.5 to 7.5 miles, depending on route chosen. The Spurgeon Hollow Trailhead is next to Spurgeon Hollow Lake, 2 miles east of S.R. 135, northeast of Salem. The trail leads southeast from the trailhead parking lot along the north shore of the lake, which is available for fishing. Within 0.5 mile, the hiker has a choice of two routes as the trail makes a loop of about 8 miles through the backcountry area. The northern leg of the loop takes the hiker on a moderately rugged, ridge-top hike of about 5 miles. It adds more than 2 miles to the length of this segment. The southern leg runs about 3 miles through a moist valley. This segment is easy walking. The northern and southern legs that form the loop are also part of Forestry trails and are marked with blue blazes. The white Knobstone blazes should also be visible. The trail continues to the south from the southeast corner of the backcountry loop.
After leaving the backcountry area, the trail heads south and crosses a gravel road turning east 0.1 mile to a small wildlife pond. The trail winds around the pond and continues east, crossing a creek several times, then crossing Pull Tight Road and then New Cut Road. It turns east and rises to a ridge top, coming up on another gravel road, Banes Hollow Road, and the Oxley Trailhead.
To drive from the Spurgeon Hollow Trailhead to the John Stuart Oxley Memorial Trailhead, turn south on Delaney Creek Road. Go south until Delaney Creek intersects with Evelyn Jackson Road and turn east. The road curves southeast and becomes Nicholson Hollow Road. Follow this road for about 2.5 miles until it makes a sharp left curve. Continue for about 1.5 miles until the t intersection with West Point Road. Turn south on West Point and continue for about a mile. Then, turn east onto Banes Hollow Road. The trailhead is about a mile down the road.
- Oxley Memorial Trailhead To Elk Creek Trailhead
About 5 miles. The John Stuart Oxley Memorial Trailhead is located on Banes Hollow Road about 1.5 miles north of S.R. 56. The trail crosses several geode-laden streams and passes through diverse vegetation in this segment. From the trailhead the trail proceeds south about 2.5 to S.R. 56 (cross with caution). Then, the trail turns to the east for one mile to Old S.R. 56. The trail enters Elk Creek Public Fishing Area as it continues for 2.5 miles to the Elk Creek Trailhead, which is located next to Elk Creek Lake.
To drive from the John Stuart Oxley Memorial Trailhead to Elk Creek Trailhead, go east on Banes Hollow Road for almost 2 miles and turn on Ruthorford Hollow on the right. The road curves south, about a half mile later crosses a creek, and then comes to an Y intersection. Mt. Hebron Church sits on the right. Go east at the intersection. Turn south onto Elk Creek Road at the T intersection. Continue going south across Old S.R. 56 for 1.8 miles to the Public Fishing Area entrance road - watch for KT post. Turn south and go one-half mile to the trailhead parking lot.
- Elk Creek Trailhead To Leota Trailhead
(approximately 7 miles): The Elk Creek Trailhead is located at Elk Creek Public Fishing Area, 1 ½ miles south of S.R.56 and about 10 miles east of Salem. The trail leads from the southeast end of the parking lot and meanders around the south shore of the lake. It then rises about 170 feet to a ridge top, providing the hiker a view of the lake and surrounding valley. The trail then drops back to the lake level and continues eastward out of the state fish and wildlife area toward Clark State Forest. This section of the trail offers the hiker a variety of ridgetops and bottomlands. The trail also passes through some large clearings created by logging operations. These clearings provide excellent wildlife habitat - deer, grouse and other species may be observed here. The trail rises to an elevation of 1,000 feet as it reaches the Leota Trailhead. The trail runs about 7 miles in length between the Elk Creek and Leota trailheads.
To drive from the Elk Creek Trailhead to the Leota Trailhead, go north on Elk Creek Road until it intersects with Old State Road 56. Turn right (east) on Smith Road. Continue going straight on this road until it intersects at a T with County Line Road. Turn right (south) on County Line Road -- it will curve around and turn into Oak Hill Road. Go east on Oak Hill Road about a mile until it comes to a T intersection. Turn right (south) on Stage Coach Road and follow it until it Y-intersects with Leota Road, and turn right. Proceed 1.3 miles, then turn right (north) on Saylor Road, which curves off to the right at the top of the knob - watch for “KT” post. Turn right (east) again within 0.1 mile onto the Leota Trailhead entrance road (gravel) - watch for KT post.
- Leota Trailhead To New Chapel Trailhead
(approximately 9 miles): The Leota Trailhead is located east of the county road which goes north from Leota Road (paved) about 2 miles west of Leota; the trailhead is near a small power transmission line. The trail crosses several steep ridges as it heads south from the Leota Trailhead through the Clark backcountry area. It then drops into the lush North Branch Valley, one of the most scenic areas along the trail (abundant ferns, wildflowers and very large trees), before winding its way up a very steep slope. The trail then traverses rolling to rugged terrain again, past a few wildlife ponds, to the New Chapel Trailhead. The total length of this segment is approximately 9 miles.
To drive from the Leota Trailhead to the New Chapel Trailhead turn left (south) from the Leota Trailhead entrance road (gravel) onto a county road (unmarked) and proceed for 0.1 mile to Finley Knob (paved). Turn right (south) and continue for 1.7 miles to the first intersection (with New Salem Road (paved). Turn left (south) onto New Salem Road and proceed for 3.4 miles to the intersection with S.R.160 and continue for 1.8 miles to Liberty Knob (paved) to the left (north) - watch for “KT” post. Turn left (north) on this road and continue for 0.4 mile to the New Chapel Trailhead entrance road (gravel) to the right (east) - watch for “KT” post.
- New Chapel Trailhead To Jackson Road Trailhead
Length is about 12 miles. The New Chapel Trailhead is located about 0.5 miles north of S.R. 160 and just east of the county road which goes north from S.R. 160 about one-third mile west of New Liberty. From the New Chapel Trailhead, the trail proceeds in an easterly direction over rolling terrain until it turns south and drops about 350 feet to S.R. 160. Just south of S.R. 160 the trail climbs a very steep slope to an overlook. The trail then gradually drops to lower elevations and crosses Pixley Knob Road. Several small intermittent streams are then crossed and the trail turns to the west and rises to another overlook. Looking south from the overlook, Louisville can be seen on a clear day. The trail then turns back to the south and winds up to the top of Round Knob, providing another view of the surrounding area. Within the mile between Round Knob and the Jackson Road Trailhead, the trail drops about 300 feet and rises back to the ridge- tops. To get to the Jackson Road Trailhead from the trail, go west along the county road, Bartle Knob Road, for about 0.1 mile to the county road to the north. Follow this Jackson Road for 0.3 mile to the trailhead parking lot to the west.
To drive from the New Chapel Trailhead to the Jackson Road Trailhead, turn south from the trailhead entrance road onto Liberty Knob for 0.4 mile to S.R. 160. Turn left east on S.R. 160 for one-half mile to the first road to the right. Turn south on Pixley Knob Road. Turn south on Mountain Grove Road. Continue for 1.0 mile to Bartle Knob Road and turn north on Hilltop Road. Watch for the KT post. Follow Hilltop 0.3 miles then turn right on a gravel road and continue for 0.2 mile to the trailhead parking.
- Jackson Road Trailhead To Deam Lake Trailhead
Length is about five miles. The Jackson Road Trailhead is located west of Jackson Road about 5 miles west of Blue Lick. The trailhead is about one-half mile from the trail. Walk south on Jackson Road for 0.3 mile to the county road, turn left and continue about 0.1 mile to the trail crossing . Look for the KT post. The trail traverses two very steep slopes before gradually dropping to moderately rolling terrain. The trail then parallels the east shore of Deam Lake, stopping at the Deam Lake Trailhead, the southern end of the trail. The Jackson Road to Deam Lake Trailhead segment is approximately 5 miles in length.
To drive from the Jackson Road Trailhead to the Deam Lake Trailhead, turn north from the parking lot onto Jackson Road for 0.2 mile to Hilltop Road, paved) county road. Turn left on Bartle Knob and continue 3.2 miles and turn east onto Bely Road. Turn left on Percy King Road. Turn west on Crone Road and continue for 1.7 miles to Cummins Road. Turn northwest on Cummins Road and continue for 1.4 miles to a T intersection. At the intersection, turn northwest and then west on Wilson Switch Road. Continue for 0.7 mile to the Deam Lake Trailhead, which is on the north side of the road - watch for the KT post. The Deam Lake State Recreation Area gatehouse is located 1 mile west of the trailhead.