We took advantage of 40 degrees and blue skies to hike in Carter Caves State Park. This park is an hour northeast of Natural Bridge State Park and the Red River Gorge area. (See our previous post about these areas here.) It shares many of the outstanding rock features of these other parks. However, while the other parks are more well known and have more visitors, Carter Caves allowed us to have the trail almost to ourselves.
Although Mammoth Cave National Park in southern Kentucky is home to the longest cave system known in the world, Carter County has the highest concentration of caves in Kentucky. We decided to skip the subterranean features this time and enjoy a sunny, crisp hike. We chose the easy/moderate 3.5 mile Three Bridges Trail. Although this trail doesn’t take you far from the center of the park, you walk through three natural bridges. This trail also takes you to the rappelling and rock climbing area which is available by permit.
We parked in the Welcome Center where we picked up a map. The trailhead was across the main road and up a few stairs. We decided to walk the loop trail counterclockwise in order to save the largest bridge for last. Red trail markers painted on trees helped us to easily navigate and stay on the trail which was usually leaf covered.
Kentucky’s limestone outcroppings, forests and lakes make for a pretty fabulous place to ride out a pandemic. Happy trails!