Overview. This section follows the ridgeline and eventually descends into downtown Morehead where you can grab a hot meal, ice cold Coke, and resupply with whatever you need. The hiking is relatively easy with a lot of gravel road for the first portion and mostly gentle rollers along the ridgeline. If in town and hungry, Gatti’s Pizza buffet is highly recommended:-)
Route Type | Point-to-Point
Total Distance | 9.75 miles
Overall Difficulty | Moderate with Easy Road Miles
Sheltowee Trace Section 4 Info from USDA Forest Service
Sheltowee Trace Section 5 Info from USDA Forest Service
Sheltowee Trace Map from USDA Forest Service
CRITICAL NOTE: Sheltowee Trace now goes directly through downtown Morehead instead of continuing out the ridge to US-32. It is clearly marked, but the maps above show the old route. Go downtown and get some hot food!
Trailhead. You can begin Section 4 officially at the intersection of Big Perry Road and Forest Road 977 (Forestry Ridge Road on Google). We were already about a mile and a half up FR-977, so add that to the total distance of the hike. [map]
Trail navigation. The trail begins on Forest Road 977 and goes for miles along the well maintained, gravel road. There are some bends and gentle ups and downs, but for the most part, it’s just gravel road. Once you leave the road, you’ll find your way to single track trails with a few intersections that are clearly marked. NOTE: Sheltowee Trace used to go out to US-32, but has been re-routed to go through downtown Morehead instead - just follow the signs.
Water. The first water on the trail is at Eagle Lake at the edge of Morehead State University. You can filter here or stop into town like we did and refill there instead. It’s a hot 5+ mile walk on the next section of road, so it’s best to top off here.
Resupply. Morehead has all the major resupply items available at gas stations and the local IGA grocery store.
Power line views. There are no panoramic views available until well past Morehead. The best views will be under power lines that will give you an idea of the landscape around. It’s not ideal, but it is a nice break from the green tunnel that comprises most of the trail.
Free rentals. When we arrived at Eagle Lake in Morehead, we saw a sign advertising free rentals of kayaks, paddleboards, fishing gear, and more. We didn’t have time to explore this further, but if true, it would be worth spending an afternoon on the water to breakup the hike - especially if it’s free:-)
Gatti’s Pizza. After logging close to a marathon of miles, we stopped in for lunch at Gatti’s Pizza - home of the original pizza buffet! We crushed 8 plates - 5 for me, 3 for Bork. We both won because the 8 Cokes were the most refreshing part of the trip:-) Since we smelled of hiker trash, we left our packs outside and tried to sit as far away from others as possible, but it was packed. Sorry, Sunday Gatti’s crowd, for smelling up the scene.
Sundays in Morehead. We rolled in on a Sunday when much of the town is closed. On our walk through Main Street, we saw a brewery and a number of restaurants that were all closed. Had the brewery been open and any form of lodging been within walking distance, I’m certain we would’ve sucked down some brews, spent the night, and most importantly, gotten a shower. Our visit to the brewpub will have to wait until Big Turtle next April, I guess.