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Carter Caves offers some fun family tours this summer

June 9, 2015
By

By Chris Erwin

Now that the season of summer travel is officially underway, I thought this would be a good time to provide you some of the family-friendly events offered at Carter Caves State Resort Park. Save this article to assist in planning your trip this year!

You can get plenty of summer fun underground at Carter Caves State Resort Park with a walking or crawling cave tour. This information was provided by the Department of Parks.

The park near Olive Hill offers daily cave tours. More tour times will be added starting June 13.

Carter Caves has many underground tours you can take advantage of that are fun for the whole family. (Photo provided by Kentucky State Parks)

Carter Caves has many underground tours you can take advantage of that are fun for the whole family. (Photo provided by Kentucky State Parks)

Some of the tour highlights include:

Cascade Cave: Cascade Cave is one of the largest of the more than 200 caves in Carter County. It is noted for its large chambers and numerous cave formations. Highlights of the tour include the reflecting pool in the Lake Room; unique cave formations in the Cathedral Room and an underground waterfall that is over 30 foot high. The tour lasts about 75 minutes and covers a distance of about ¾ mile. Ticket sales stop 15 minutes before Cascade Cave tours. A short drive from the welcome center is required and transportation is not provided. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 3-12. Children under 3 are free.

X-Cave: The tour begins at the welcome center. Some of the highlighted features include turkey rock, the pipe organ, and the giant column which is the largest cave formation found at the park. Be aware of your surroundings and you will discover how this cave became known as “X-Cave.” The X-Cave tour covers about ¼ mile and lasts about 45 minutes. Tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for children ages 3-12. Children under 3 are free.

 Saltpetre Cave: Saltpetre Cave is considered by many historians to be the site of the earliest industry in the area. The cave was used during the War of 1812 as a source of the major ingredient in making gunpowder and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Lantern tours are also offered throughout the summer. Saltpetre Cave covers about ½ mile and the tour last about 60 minutes.  Tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for children ages 3-12. Children under 3 are free

Carter Caves also offers wild cave tours, which are more challenging and offer more adventure for guests.

These include:

Saltpetre Kids Crawl: the Saltpeter Kid’s Crawl is a great way to introduce your child to the
adventurous sport of caving. Your child will be crawling on hands and knees in small dark passages that will be lit by only the flashlight provided. The kids will get dirty as the passages are rocky and dusty. To participate in the tour your child must be between 6-12 years old and wear long pants and closed-toed shoes. Guardians must sign waivers for the children. Helmets, headlamps and kneepads are provided. Tickets are $10 per child.

Bat Cave Walking Tour: Bat Cave is the longest cave found within the park.  The Bat Cave Walking Tour is a wild cave tour so the trip is considered rugged and strenuous. The cave is undeveloped meaning it is not electrically lit and there are no handrails or steps. Plan to get wet and muddy on this tour. You must pass a squeeze test before you purchase your tickets. You must be at least 6 years old and an adult must accompany those under 15 years old. Guardians must sign waivers for children under 18. Helmets and flashlights are provided. Tickets are $12 per person.

 Bat Cave Crawling Tour: The Bat Cave Crawling Tour is considered the most strenuous and most adventurous tour offered at Carter Caves. You will be crawling and walking through muddy and wet passages. You must be at least 12 years old and an adult must accompany those under 15. Guardians must sign waivers for children under 18. Coveralls, helmets, headlamps and knee pads are provided. Tickets are $30 per person.

Saltpetre Crawling Tour: You will be crawling on your hands and knees and even doing some belly crawls during this tour. The cave is cold, rocky and dusty. This is considered a strenuous and rugged caving trip and may not be a good choice for some folks.  You must pass a squeeze test before you purchase your tickets. You should be wearing shorts and a T-shirt under the coveralls and closed-toed shoes with good tread. You must be at least 12 years old and an adult must accompany those under 15. Guardians must sign waivers for children under 18. Coveralls, helmets, headlamps and knee pads are provided. Tickets are $30 per person.

For more information about cave tours and the park, visit: parks.ky.gov/parks/resortparks/carter-caves

In addition to the cave tours, Carter Caves offers canoe trips, hiking, golf, swimming, gem mining for children, mini-golf, and fishing. Carter Caves also has a lodge, cottages and restaurant. For more information, call the park at 1-800-325-0059 or 1-606-286-4411.

To get to Carter Caves State Resort Park from Interstate 64 East, take Exit 161 (Olive Hill exit). Turn left off the exit onto U.S. 60 east. Go approximately 2 miles and turn left on KY 182 north. Park entrance is 3 miles from the left turn onto KY 182 north.

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