Carter Caves State Park

Carter Caves State Park has more than 200 caves on its ground. This is the highest concentration of caves to be found in any area of Kentucky. Six of the caves are open to the public. Three are show caves with paths and electric light, one is used for cave trekking tours, two more, Laurel Cave and Horn Hollow Cave can be explored unguided. A permit is necessary, which is available at the Welcome Center at no charge. The park classifies the cave trekking tours in "walking tour" or "crawling tour". Walking tour require a light, helmet, and some stooping, but no crawling in mud, while crawling tours obviously include crawling and clothes to change afterwards are mandatory. The park has several other karst features, for example natural bridges, which can be discovered on the various nature trails. There are more than 30 km of prepared trails.

What the park calls natural bridges or arches, are actually cave ruins, the remains of formerly much bigger caves. The short sections of caves are through caves, and at some point, most people agree, when the cave is short enough to have no dark section anymore, it is called a natural bridge. There are half a dozen such bridges or cave ruins. One is close to the Welcome center and is actually named Natural Bridge. This one is quite special as there is a trail through the cave while the road goes across the bridge.

The caves at the park were closed for some years around 2013 due to White Nose Syndrome. While it is not possible to stop the disease, there a numerous rules in effect to minimize the spreading. It is not allowed to bring anything like bags or strollers to the cave tours, shoes, clothing, or other objects must be decontaminated if you were in any other cave with them. After the tours the shoes are decontaminates by walking on bio-mats after leaving the cave.