• Mary Anne Medlock, guest blogger

Here are the top 5 reasons you should hike LBL this summer

It doesn’t matter if you are an experienced thru-hiker or a novice enjoying the opportunity to get outside, Land Between the Lakes offers everyone the chance to “hike their own hike,” which is a popular mantra used by hikers. It simply means that there are no rules.

Hiking is something different to everyone and hiking your own hike means you can experience the trail in a manner that you most enjoy, and not the way somebody else experiences it. There are no “rights” or “wrongs” with hiking. All you need is a willing soul, the desire to have fun and the respect to leave no trace behind. So, here are the top five reasons to hike at LBL:

5. Appreciate the fact that we have a national treasure literally in our backyard.

Murray may not have sandy beaches, but we’re only 20 miles away from a National Recreation Area filled with hundreds of trail miles as well as inlets, coves and limitless opportunities to play.

4. Learn really cool stuff.

(Photo: Justin Kimbro) The Friends of LBL Association along with the US Forest Service offers a variety of guided hikes designed to teach you about the world around us. Often starting from one of the trailheads at the Woodland Nature Station, learn about wild edible foraging, participate in a full-moon night hike, or discover the “weeds” growing in your yard are desired native species. Fun for the kids and adults, there’s always something new to discover.

3. Up your Instagram game.

Nothing validates your new outdoorsy lifestyle more than an Instagram feed filled with LBL trail selfies. Share your hikes with friends and family and soon you’ll start to see their Hematite Trail selfies, too. That step path was made for Instagram (see #2).

2. Backpacker Magazine says so.

(Photo: Mary Anne Medlock)

The North/South Trail offers the chance for deep woods hiking with potential cell service. Experience a 31 mile thru-hike that is a popular training ground for people wanting to tackle the Appalachian Trail. Hikers come from everywhere just to experience it. Backpacker Magazine said it best, “Do it.” You can do it and still sleep in a bed, or under the stars. You choose.

1. Make your Fitbit happy.

(Photo: Mary Anne Medlock)

Earn those Fitbit badges and become a Weekend Warrior by making toast of the American Heart Association’s recommended guideline of 10,000 steps per day. The Central Hardwood Trail offers the novice hiker the chance to walk across the LBL peninsula one mile or 11 miles at a time. The trail offers an amazing experience, just yards away from Highway 68/80.

Whatever your reasons, get outside and go play at Land Between the Lakes. And take a few selfies while you're at it.

Click here to view hiking trails at Land Between the Lakes.

Learn even more about hiking at Land Between the Lakes by watching the video below.

Mary Anne Medlock, guest blogger

Mary Anne is the special projects coordinator for the Purchase Area Development District. After avoiding the great outdoors most of her life, she and her nature-loving husband Vince now spend their weekends hiking and kayaking in West Kentucky.