Carter Cave Kentucky

During the third week of July we went to Carter Cave Kentucky to hike and hear bluegrass music. This is another great way to combine interests. We both love live music and hiking. We also threw in a little cave tour just because.

In a cave opening on Horn Hollow trail
In a cave opening on Horn Hollow trail

The park is pretty big so for reference for directions, the resort is 30 miles west of Ashland KY. We went North on I-65 out of Nashville TN, then East on the Bluegrass Parkway. Then we wiggled around the west and north edges of Lexington to get on I-64 East. We took exit 161 for US 60 east. We stayed on that for 1.5 miles and turned left on KY 182 north. After that we just followed the signs to get the Lodge. The latitude and longitude according to the website is N 38.36902 W -83.12372. I did not mark this one myself so I can’t validate the accuracy. It took us about 5 hours with a couple of little stops.

Curious formations in a rock wall along Horn Hollow Trail
Curious formations in a rock wall along Horn Hollow Trail

This trip was actually my sister’s fun idea—she and her family were going on this adventure and they invited us to meet up with them. It was probably a sneaky way for my sister to gently interrogate my sweetheart if the truth were told. My Honey accepted the invitation when I told her that I had planned to rent her a separate room since we weren’t married yet.

We arrived in Olive Hill Kentucky, introduced my Honey to my bother and his wife and enjoyed dinner at the Smokey Valley Truck Stop. They can find the most unique yummy places to eat.

Then we went to a blue grass concert in a cave.

Band stand inside a cave!
Band stand inside a cave!

It was so cool! A bring your own chair event but be careful. Don’t unfold your chair under a steady drip from a stalactite.  The acoustics were great and the husband and wife band were truly gifted.

The trail we choose was the Horn Hollow trail. It was a two mile loop with some cave entrances featured along the way. It is scenic, hilly and takes you from the ridge to the bottom of Horn Hollow.

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Here are two links to help you get more information if you would like to  go do this too.

http://parks.ky.gov/parks/resortparks/carter-caves/trails.aspx

http://parks.ky.gov/!userfiles/aParkBrochures/Maps/CarterCaves.pdf

this cave is about the size of a 1.5 man tent and dry
this cave is about the size of a 1.5 man tent and dry

You may notice that the trail description says it’s 1.5 miles and the map says it’s 2.0 miles. This is something to watch out for and very common. A hiking venue website will sometimes have conflicting information about trails. Then when you get to the trail, you may find a different distance altogether and confusing unmarked trail crossings. I think this happens over time as trail maintenance workers make adjustments for the changes in the forest. Hikers often create unmarked trails that after a while start to look like the main trail too.

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This trail was a good choice for the mix of adults and children from the toddler my sister had in a carrier on her back to the “old man” of the group…me. We had a blast soaking in the sun, enjoying the shade and exploring the cave features.

Pondering Your Path

Would visiting a park be a good way to combine interests and get in some hiking? What park would satisfy the vacationing desires of a group of your family or friends?

Oh, by the way…my newly found hiker honey passed the sister scrutiny!