“This trail drops down to the Cumberland River and is technically challenging with a short distance of fire road.”
— Jeff Carter
Section 26 as a whole officially begins at Cane Creek and ends at the mouth of the Laurel River. The difficulty level varies widely, so it is broken into three sections: Section 26 North, Section 26, and Section 26 South. This map is for Section 26 South which is vastly different than the preceding portions along Laurel River Lake and Cane Creek. The elevation change, technical features, and narrow trail make it more challenging.
There is a large paved parking lot at the south end of the Laurel River Lake Dam with permanent restrooms and shelter house. Hike south on Highway 1193. The beach will be on your left and the spillway on your right. The entrance to the trail is difficult to find. It is hidden behind the guardrail immediately south of the spillway on the spillway side of the road. Step over the guard rail and head into the woods, and you'll see a trail sign. From there to the end there are no intersections along the trail, so you can't get lost.
The trail quickly gets narrow, but then enters onto an old fire road. It's smooth and rolling for a while, but don't let that fool you, it gets rugged quickly. If you had trouble navigating any portion of the trail by this point, this would be a good place to turn around. The rest is rocky with a tricky creek crossing and good scenery along the way. When you reach the boat ramp, that is the end of Section 26. You can hike up the road 0.4 miles and start Sheltowee Trace NRT: Section 27
or turn around and prepare to climb back out.