The Best List of Caves in Kentucky
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Kentucky is home to many beautiful places. It’s also home to some of the most spectacular caves in North America! From deep underground caverns with nothing but bats and a flashlight to crystal-clear lakes and trout-filled streams – your time exploring Kentucky will be well spent. Here are the top caves in Kentucky that you can explore right now – just make sure you bring a buddy!
The horse farms and the hills of the Kentucky state are stunningly beautiful, but do you know what lies beneath the verdant landscapes of the state? If you are a spelunker, then you are likely to ask yourself, “are there caves in Kentucky?”. Well, due to the limestone geology of the state, Kentucky has a vast collection of caves and caverns.
The Best List of Caves in Kentucky
As per records, there are more than 130 caves with miles of chartered tunnels, and there is one cavern with an underground bike park! There are more surprises and facts in store for you as we unravel the caves in Kentucky.
The Top Caves to Visit in Kentucky
Caving in Kentucky is a beautiful experience as regular to the state have opined that each cave here provides a different experience and makes your trip to the site worthwhile.
Here are the most famous caves in the state –
- Bat Cave
- Carter Caves State Park
- Cascade Caverns
- Colossal Cavern
- Diamond Caverns
- Eleven Jones Cave
- Fisher Ridge Cave System
- Glover’s Cave
- Goochland Cave
- Great Onyx Cave
- Great Saltpetre Cave
- Horse Cave
- Lost River Cave
- Mammoth Cave
- Martin Ridge Cave System
- Louisville Mega Cavern
- Oligo-Nunk Cave System
- Hidden River Cave
- Onyx Cave
- Outlaw Cave
- Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
- Carter Caves
- Cub Run Cave
Phew! It is huge. Will you be able to cover all the caves in the state? I don’t think so. So, let’s break this down a bit and classify them under popular heads so that you know which ones to visit.
Best Caves in Kentucky
Let us focus on the best and most famous caves in the state and see what they have in store for us.
Caves in Kentucky with a Zipline
Ever heard of a zipline tour inside a cave? Read on…
Louisville Mega Cavern
Located beneath the city of Kentucky, this artificial cavern has 17 miles of the corridor! Its main claim to fame is that it has the world’s only underground ziplining facility. This thing is enormous. The Louisville Mega Cavern has another feather in its cap – it is the largest building in Kentucky. The average temperature inside the cave is always around 58 degrees F, and it takes approximately 150 min to complete the tour.
The most exciting part is six underground zip lines apart from a couple of challenge bridges. The mega cavern is enjoyed by both adults and the young population, and don’t worry about the duration of the tour because you will be walking less and zipping more.
Known as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Mammoth Cave is the most extensive known cave system in the world as more than 400 miles of the cave system have been explored to date. The cave system is spread over five levels of underground terrains, and you get an average temperature of 54 degrees F inside the cave at all times of the year.
The cave system here is more than 12,000 years old and consists of 412 passageways which are huge by any standard. The cave has many attractions for both serious and casual spelunkers, and zip lining is one.
Lost River Cave
The Lost River Cave is in Bowling Green in Kentucky and is home to the only underground boat tour in the state. The ticket prices are reasonable, and families are encouraged to visit this cave as the setting is perfect for them. Apart from the boat tour, there are a couple of zipline tours, and you can go on both if you are not afraid of heights. Walk-ins are accepted, but tickets are sold on a first-come-first-served basis.
Water Caves in Kentucky
Lost River Cave
Yes, this cave features again here. The beautiful 7-mile-long cavern is the only place in the state where you will get an underground boat tour. The subterrane cavern boat tour is a thrilling experience and is the deepest in the world. The boat ride is information and entertaining and can be enjoyed by all members of the family.
Hidden River Cave
The Hidden River Cave is located just below the city of Horse Cave. The cavern is a part of the extensive karst system formed through soluble rocks like dolomite and gypsum. Guided tours are available for the cave where you will witness endangered fauna such as the blind crayfish and the Kentucky cave shrimp. The most striking point of the cave is the entrance which is through an enormous sinkhole.
Wild Caves in Kentucky
Let us focus on some of the wild caves in Kentucky.
The cave was discovered in 1859, and the first visitors remarked that the glittering stones looked like diamonds, and thus the cave got its name – Diamond Caves.
Diamond caves are the 4th oldest cave attraction in the country, and it has a lighting system and handrails in place for the benefit of the tourists. There is a guided tour available which covers ½ mile of the cave.
Crystal Onyx Cave
Discovered in 1960, the Crystal Onyx Cave is one of the smaller cave attractions in Kentucky. It is now an important archaeological cave as remains of Native Americans, which are more than 3000 years old, have been found in the cave. Cave tours are conducted here, and they last for an hour.
The Outlaw Cave has guided tours of the various cave formations. The cave came to be known as the Outlaw Cave as famous bandits like Jesse James hid in these caves and other caves of the area. These natural formations were hidden and large enough for these bandits to enter these caves on their horses.
As you can tell, the state of Kentucky has a lot of caves to explore. Make certain to always be safe and prepared before entering any cave so you can make your cave experience a good one!
Other articles you may find helpful or interesting:
- Ultimate Guide to Onyx Cave, Arkansas (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)
- Ultimate Guide to Ursa Minor, California (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)
- Ultimate Guide to Boulder Cave, Washington (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)
- Ultimate Guide to Mystic Caverns, Arkansas (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)
- Ultimate Guide to Tree Root Cave, Washington (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)
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