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U.S. Forest Service

Southern Region Viewing Area


St. Andrew’s Cross (Hypericum stragulum). St. Andrew’s Cross (Hypericum stragulum) is one of the spring wildflowers one will encounter along the trail in late spring.

Box huckleberry (Gaylussacia brachycera). Box huckleberry (Gaylussacia brachycera) can supply hikers with an unexpected taste treat when the fruits ripen in early summer.

Creeping aster (Eurybia surculosa). Creeping aster (Eurybia surculosa).

There are many scenic views from various parts of the trail which is why the trail is named the Panoramic Trail! There are many scenic views from various parts of the trail which is why the trail is named the Panoramic Trail!

Panoramic Trail, Trail # 528

Forest: Daniel Boone National Forest

District: Stearns Ranger District

Description: This is a short (ca. 1.0 mile round trip) and relatively easy trail located just off of Forest Service Road 878, which itself is located just off of Day Ridge Road (McCreary County 927). The trail passes through a heath family dominated landscape and includes a couple of panoramic views of what is locally known as the “Gulf.”

Viewing Information: This trail passes through a Quercus prinus (chestnut oak) forest with small amounts of yellow pines (Pinus virginiana, Pinus rigida, Pinus echinata) and a few other oaks.

Along the trail one may see a number of plants belonging to the heath or blueberry family, including all the blueberry and huckleberry species known to occur on the Daniel Boone National Forest. This is one of the few easily accessible places to do this on the forest. You can find Vaccinium arboretum (sparkleberry), a tree sized blueberry; Vaccinium corymbosum (tall bush blueberry), a tall shrub blueberry; Vaccinium stamineum (deerberry), a shrub blueberry; Vaccinium pallidum (low bush blueberry), a low shrub blueberry; Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry), a shrub huckleberry; and Gaylussacia brachycera (box huckleberry), an evergreen low shrub. These plants all flower in the spring, but produce ripe fruit between late June-early July (low bush blueberry) and September (deerberry and sparkle berry).

Other heath family plants to be seen are Epigaea repens (trailing arbutus), a low, trailing shrub with early spring flowers; Gaultheria procumbens (eastern teaberry), a low evergreen shrub with leaves that smell like wintergreen; and Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel), a large shrub with late spring pink and white flowers. Eurybia surculosa (creeping aster), a larger flowered blue aster; Aureolaria laevigata (entire-leaf yellow false foxglove), a large yellow-flowered herb; Eupatorium rotundifolium (roundleaf thoroughwort), a white-flowered herb; and Hypericum stragulum (St. Andrew’s cross), small yellow-flowered subshrub are also present. There is population of Liatris microcephala (smallhead blazing star) just to the east of Forest Service Road 878 along Day Ridge Road. Other fall blooming wildflowers are present along the 300ft length of Forest Service Road 878.

Safety First: The trail goes through an area of older trees and small branches on the trail are not uncommon. The trail passes down the middle of a narrow ridge which is bounded by high cliffs. The observation areas have railings, but care should be taken to keep children safe. Ticks and copperhead snakes may occur along the trail.

Directions: Panoramic Trail begins at the end of Forest Service Road 878, which terminates in a parking area. Forest Service Road 878 is 3.0 miles west of US 27 on Day Ridge Road (McCreary County Road 927). A marker on Day Ridge Road shows Panoramic Trail to the north. Day Ridge Road is located 4.6 miles north of the Stearns District Office on US 27. It is approximately 17.4 miles north of the Tennessee line and approximately 7.6 miles north of Whitley City. It is approximately 17 miles south of Somerset on US 27.

Ownership and Management: The site and trail are owned and managed by the Daniel Boone National Forest.

Closet Town: Whitley City to the south and Somerset to the north.