As the name suggests, Carter's Cave State Park is home to more than 20 caverns, all of which extend out underneath the rolling hills of Kentucky that make up the area's landscape. The forested land above and the darkness underground means that adventure awaits visitors both above and below ground, with plenty of activities to keep the whole family entertained, including hiking, canoeing, and golfing. People come from all over the state and beyond to book an RV in Carter County.
There are a number of attractions in the park in addition to the cave, such as a lodge, putt-putt course, and 9-hole golf course. Although visitors are able to find many attractions in the park, there is also a lot to explore in the surrounding area including visiting the bustling city of Ashland nearby Tygarts State Forest or the smaller towns of Carter, Grayson, and Olive Hill.
The Carter County region has the highest concentration of caves in all of Kentucky, so it's hardly surprising that you can find some directly in the park. You are able to get guided tours of two of the caves throughout the whole year where you can enjoy an adventure underground in either X Cave or Cascade Cave, both of which we formed over millions of years. Cascade Cave is the name for three different caves, together forming the largest cave in the park. It features an underground lake and a towering 30-foot underground waterfall. X Cave was named for the crossing pattern of the passages within it and features some of the largest rock formations in the park. Other caves include the Saltpetre Cave and Laurel Cave. It is pretty cool going RV camping at Carters Cave State Park knowing there are miles of cave below you.
There is a popular trail system within the park, and by following these trails, visitors will find an abundance of natural wonders including swinging bridges, caves, and arches. Overall there are 26 miles of trail, so you could easily spend a few days exploring the region. There are a couple of trails that are particularly popular including the Cascade Trail which passes through Box Canyon and the Three Bridges Trail which passes the park’s largest natural bridge, Smokey Bridge, standing at 90 feet high and 120 feet wide. Longer trails include Carter Caves Cross Country Trail and Kiser Hollow multi-access trail, so you’ll be pleased after a long day to get back to your RV rental and return to the state park RV campgrounds.
Another adventure to be had in the state park is rock climbing. For those that are experienced in the art of rock climbing and rappelling, it is possible to do a self-guided climb over the 30-40 foot sandstone cliff line.
Camping at Carter Cave State Park
Overall there are 89 motorhome camping sites at the park, giving you immediate access to the state park and the many recreational activities it contains. These sites come with a range of utilities to make the camping at Carter Cave State Park experience as comfortable as possible such as a dump station and two centrally located service buildings with showers and toilets.
There is also eight pull-through equestrian campsites for those that want to bring their horse to the site. If you are traveling as a group, there are also two group camping areas.
Campers and visitors to the park can make use of Tierney's Cavern Restaurant which is on-site and has an extensive menu of culinary delights.
Exploring the Area
The Kentucky Folk Art Center is located at Morehead State University and offers much more than your usual museum experience. The permanent exhibition features over 1400 pieces of self-taught artworks which are all unique and great to see. The upstairs exhibition contains several changing exhibits throughout the year featuring folk art, fine art, photography, textiles, and much more.
To learn more about the area, the Northeastern Kentucky Museum in Olive Hill traces the area's History from the Indians to Vietnam. It makes for a great day trip outside of the park and is ideal for history lovers.
For those that are looking for a bit more of an urban adventure, the larger city of Cincinnati is around two hours away and makes for a great day trip. The city is bursting with things to do and see. Enjoy the views over the city skyline from the top of the Carew Tower, cheer on America's first baseball team at a Red's game, touch a shark at the Newport Aquarium, feed a giraffe at Cincinnati Zoo, and shop until you drop at Findlay Market.