The Carter Caves State Park is in Carter County, Kentucky, along Tygarts Creek. It is formed by Carter Caves, and nearby Cascade Caves, which were added to the park in 1959.
The park was in various private hands for almost 200 years until the last private family owners, the J.F. Lewis family and various other private investors, including local Rotary Clubs, donated the large tract of property to the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 1946. The purchase of the caves and surrounding land was driven by Governor William Jason Fields, a native of Carter County
A part of a wide ring of karst, limestone outcrops around the central Kentucky dome, of which Mammoth Caves, the largest known cave system in the world, resides on the western side south west of Louisville, Kentucky. It lies in eastern Kentucky's foothills of the Appalachia Mountains.
Flora and fauna
In 1981, 146 acres (0.59 km²) of the park were designated as nature preserves. Bat Cave and Cascade Caverns State Nature Preserves were dedicated for the protection of the Indiana bat, mountain maple, and Canada yew, all endangered species.
Fees and permits
Entry into the park is free as is the parking. Fees apply to the many parks activities.
- Horseback riding
- Boating, fishing, swimming in Smokey Valley Lake and Tygarts Creek.
- Hiking- There are 13 miles (20 km) of hiking trails.
Tierney's Cavern Restaurant seats 100 selections from steaks and seafood to salads locally grown meats and produce.
Lewis Caveland Lodge This beautiful fieldstone lodge offers 28 rooms with full amenities. Each room features a private balcony or patio overlooking the surrounding woodlands. Rooms available by late afternoon. Check-out by noon, Eastern Time.
Cottages Enjoy the seclusion of a beautiful two-bedroom cottage. 11 are available (10 have 4 queen beds and 1 has 4 double beds). The cottages offer modern conveniences such as automatic dishwashers and microwave ovens along with covered decks that offer scenic views of the park's wooded hills. 10 of the 11 cottages have two bathrooms. 8 have wood-burning fireplaces. Tableware, cooking utensils and linens are provided with fresh linens available daily. Cottages available by late afternoon.
Camping The campground features 89 campsites including 30 tent sites with utilities, a dump station, and two central service buildings with rest rooms and showers. The tent sites do not have water or electric. Closed for season from mid-November to mid-March.
Group Camp Buildings, 1-888-459-7275. Two group camp buildings in a primitive campground are available for reservation. Each building has 6 bunk beds without mattresses. Linens are not provided. Guests will need to bring their own bedding. Each building is equipped with electrical plugs and lights, and accommodates up to 12 people. $48 per night.
Carter Caves Cross Country Trail and the 9-mile (14 km) Simon Kenton Trail, which parallels the 4Cs trail for a couple of miles before leaving the park, through Tygart's State Forest and on to the 200-mile (320 km) Jenny Wiley Trail.
|Routes through Carter Caves State Resort Park|
|Lexington ← Morehead ←||W E||→ Catlettsburg → Charleston|
|Lexington ← Morehead ←||W E||→ Ashland → Charleston|