Your dogs have been begging to visit Lake Barkley, so how about a quick hike along the Anderson Woodland Trail in the Kuttawa Recreation Area? The waterfront views are so beautiful that your pups will be talking about Lake Bark-ley all day!
Though less than half-a-mile on its own, the Anderson Woodland Trail is one of a pair of adjacent registered National Recreation Trails in Vista Ridge Park (once named the Old Kuttawa Recreation Area); they combine for a hike of about 2.7 miles long. The Kuttawa Nature Trail is the longer portion, climbing and then following the Vista Ridge for a birds-eye view of the lake. It is well-maintained but somewhat more rugged than the smooth, paved Anderson Woodland Trail. The AWT is completely wheelchair and stroller accessible with only a small rise in elevation, so you can bring the entire family for your stroll.
The Anderson Woodland Trail consists of an easy loop with a short extension to an overlook. From this perch at the north end of the lake near the Cumberland River Canal that connects to Kentucky Lake, you'll enjoy views of the 170,000-acre Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. To the east, look for the 1886 edifice of the Kentucky State Penitentiary (sometimes dubbed "The Castle on the Cumberland" for its dramatic architecture).
With convenient restrooms and drinking water available, it's easy to plan a pit stop after your walk on the Anderson Woodland Trail. Dogs on-leash are allowed throughout the park. With comfy picnic facilities near the trailhead, you might want to bring your lunch and share it with your buddies to fuel up for your walk. Do bring waste bags and keep the space as clean as you found it.
This shady trail keeps you cool on a hot day, but Lake Barkley is still pretty inviting. The recreational beach located near the Anderson Woodland Trailhead doesn't have a policy about pup visitors available online, but many of the park beaches in this part of Kentucky allow dog paddlers. If not, you'll have plenty of lake access for your dogs to get a dip!