Carter Caves State Resort Park Travel Guide

  • Overhang
    by CoAir13
  • Entrance to Carter Caves State Resort Park
    Entrance to Carter Caves State Resort...
    by Stephen-KarenConn
  • Smokey Bridge Trail
    Smokey Bridge Trail
    by CoAir13

Carter Caves State Resort Park Things to Do

  • Mini Golf

    There is a miniature 18 hole golf course if you get bored with hiking and caving. Ethan and his friends had fun, but were done within 20 minutes.Adults - $4Children - $3

  • Daily Activities

    From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the park has daily activities that range from canoe trips, to face painting for children, coil pottery, caving for children, to concerts in the ampitheatre. Schedules can be picked up when you check in or at the Welcome Center. Some activities are free while others charge a small fee.

  • Horn Hollow Cave

    If you walk all the way through Laurel Cave, come out the other side, hike up a dry creek bed (about .2 mi.), you will come to Horn Hollow Cave. It can also be reached off of the Horn Hollow Trail which is a 2 mile hike. There is standing and running water in here and the ceiling gets quite low. Not low enough to crawl, but an adult of average...

  • Laurel Cave

    This is a Wild Cave that you explore on your own. You will need a flashlight and a pair of shoes with good tread. There is standing and running water and it's VERY slippery. The main path doesn't require stooping or crawling, but there are 2 other levels (which I did not explore) that do require climbing wet logs and belly crawling. The walls don't...

  • See it on Horseback

    The stables offer horseback rides on a 3 mile bridle trail. It's a rough ride with lots of inclines so I don't recommend this for people with back problems. Other than stopping to sample the trailside plants, the horses are well behaved for children. Ages 7 and under not allowed, but can take a pony ride around the stables for $5.$15 per person

  • Fern Bridge

    This short hike (.1 mi.) includes descending a steep incline AND steep stairs, but the reward is magnificent! I recommend doing this in the morning as the sun shines right on it through the trees and brings out the brilliant greens of the ferns. You can continue hiking past the bridge and meet up with the 3 Bridges Trail. The trailhead is behind...

  • Raven Bridge

    This bridge can be reached via the Raven Bridge Trail (.7 mi. in length) or on the 3 Bridges Trail, which is 3.5 miles in length and will take you by the Smokey Bridge, Fern Bridge, and Raven Bridge. This is , by far, the best hike I did in the park. The area around this bridge is VERY picturesque!

  • Welcome Center

    You will want to stop in here to get all the information you will need to make your trip more enjoyable. In addition to maps and information, you can pick up a schedule of daily activities offered in the park. This is where you reserve and pay for cave tours. You can also purchase Kentucky handcrafts, souvenirs, and snacks. Open 9 am - 5 pm (6:30...

  • Natural Bridge and Trail

    This impressive bridge is the only natural bridge that supports a paved road and one of the landmarks of the area. The trailhead is behind the Welcome Center and is less than a half mile in length. It is also the easiest trail to a bridge! Beyond it, the trail becomes more difficult.

  • Smokey Bridge

    The trail to reach this bridge can be found behind the lodge. It's about .2 mi. and not too difficult. It's hard to get photos of any of the bridges because of their locale. This one is the largest in the park.

  • Canoeing Smokey Valley Lake

    Canoe trips are offered through the Welcome Center. Unfortunately, it's guided unless you have your own canoe! You will set off on the lake and paddle to an adjoining creek. Trips are about 2 hours. Reserve a spot beforehand!Adults and children 7 and older - $15 each

  • Take a Hike

    The above-ground beauty of Carter Caves is just as fascinating as that underneath. 26 miles of wooded nature trails lace the park, ranging from easy to difficult. These paths lead past many unusual geological formations, such as Raven Bridge, pictured here. See our "Natural Bridges" tip for more.Altogether on our snowbound weekend at Carter Caves,...


Carter Caves State Resort Park Restaurants

  • This is IT!

    This is the only choice you have as far as eating out goes. The dining room is informal and comfortable. While the menu isn't large, you will be able to find something to fit everyone's taste.Breakfast : 7 - 10:30 amLunch : 11:30 - 2:30 pmDinner: 5 - 8 pmSunday Buffet: 11:30 - 3 pm

  • You've only got one choice, but a good...

    Other than bringing your own picnic, the only place to eat at or near Carter Caves State Resort Park is in the 100 seat Caveland Lodge Dining Room. Large plate glass windows here give a pretty view of the surrounding woodland. In the snow we especially enjoyed watching the birds which flocked to the feeders just outside the windows. Down home...

  • Carter Caves State Resort Park Hotels

    0 Hotels in Carter Caves State Resort Park

Carter Caves State Resort Park Warnings and Dangers

  • Slippery Caves

    by CoAir13 Written Aug 6, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    To gain entrance to many caves, there are logs set up to climb. Many of these no longer have "knobs" for your feet...and the ones INSIDE the caves are very slippery. Going up is one thing, coming down is another story. Make sure you have GREAT tread on your'll need it!

    Logs as Ladders
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park
    • Family Travel

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Carter Caves State Resort Park What to Pack

  • Food and Drink

    If you are staying in the cottages, tent camping, or RV-ing, make sure you have enough food and drink for your stay. The lodge does have refrigerators and coffee pots in each room, but no microwave. Basic food CAN be purchased in the campground store and is very expensive. We were able to buy a bottle of barbecue sauce (which we forgot to bring...


    Bags for muddy, wet clothes!! Shoes with good tread...and more than one pair. I think one for caving and one for everythign else is a good idea. In wild caves, they will get WET!! Pack a simple first aid kit....anti-biotic cream and bandages. Bug spray and sun block!!!! Flashlights....bring 2....or replacement batteries. Wild caves have no...

  • Don't Forget Insurance

    If your current health insurance doesn't cover you while your abroad, you should consider getting international travel insurance just in case something should go wrong.

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