Saltpetre Cave

Saltpeter Cave

Useful Information

Location: Carter Caves State Park.
Exit 161 off I-64. 3.2 km east on U.S. 60 to State Hwy. 182. Park entrance 13 km N of Olive Hill. Cave tours depart from the Welcome Center.
(38.377017, -83.123432)
Open: Welcome Center: Memorial Day to Labor Day daily 9-18.
Labor Day to Memorial Day daily 9-17.
Saltpetre Walking Tour: Memorial Day to Labor Day Mon-Fri 11, 13, 15:30, Sat, Sun 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16.
Saltpetre Crawling Tour: Memorial Day to Labor Day Tue, Thu 10, Sat 13:30.
Fee: Adults $6, Children (3-12) $3.
Cave Trekking tours: per person $10.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=3,200 m, T=8-9 °C.
Guided tours: L=800 m, D=60 min.
Cave Trekking tours: D=2.5 h.
Address: Carter Caves State Resort Park, 344 Caveland Drive, Route 5, Box 1120, Olive Hill, KY 41164-9032, Tel: +1-606-286-4411, Fax: +1-800-325-0059. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1780 area discovered by white settlers.
1812 mining works in Saltpetre Cave to make gunpowder for the war.


Saltpetre Cave is a "historic cave" as it was used to mine bat guano for saltpetre during the War of 1812. The mining works are shown on the tour. Although this cave is a true show cave with electric light, the tour includes some stooping. But - except the 30 steps staircase into the cave - it is level. The cave is dry and a little dusty.

The cave trekking tour at Saltpetre Cave shows also the not developed parts of the cave, includes crawling, stooping and getting dirty.