Unique KY Cave System Features a Waterfall & Indiana Bats
Any list of things everyone knows about Kentucky might actually be short, but Mammoth Cave would be on it, regardless. However, if you're like a game show contestant I saw a long time ago that thinks Fort Knox is in Texas...maybe not so much.
Don't be that $25,000 Pyramid player (who lost, by the way). Be the one who KNOWS that one of the great wonders of the world is right here in the Commonwealth. And if you're reading this, you are a Kentuckian, in all likelihood. But what folks who don't live here MIGHT not know is that the Bluegrass State has many caves, most of which are available for touring...or spelunking, I guess.
Carter Caves State Resort Park in Eastern Kentucky
One of the more popular cave systems in Kentucky NOT named Mammoth Cave at Carter Caves State Resort Park, about 90 minutes east of Lexington.
What I find fascinating about Carter Caves is that they're...well...THEMED. Obviously, they formed naturally; they're caves. But three of them have unique features while a fourth is a nature preserve for an endangered species.
It sounds like a satellite headquarters for the X-Men, but all it is is a cave whose primary passageways form the letter "X".
The Cascade Cave
If you guessed from that name that this cave features a waterfall, you guessed correctly. In fact, it's a 30-foot waterfall. But that's not Cascade Caves only distinction. In it, you'll find the Lake Room's reflecting pool, the North Cave Cathedral, and the Dance Hall. Yes, it was once used for weekly dances.
The Saltpetre Cave
If you want a healthy dose of history mixed in with your cave exploration, then here you go. Named for the mineral of which there is an abundance here, the Saltpetre Cave is listed on the National Register of Historic Places due to its value during the War of 1812. Saltpetre is the major ingredient in gunpowder.
The Bat Cave
Now we come to the cave that is not for the faint of heart. The longest cave at Carter Caves State Resort Park, the Bat Cave is devoid of electricity and handrails and is 100% undeveloped. Walking tours are available but they come with many conditions. The Bat Cave is so named because it has been a nature preserve for the endangered Indiana bat since 1981. There are an estimated 28,000 bats being protected in Carter Caves' Bat Cave, but I'm not sure tourists can interact with them. And I doubt they'd want to. Here's one of the the tours offered at the Carter Caves Bat Cave. It's a "crawling tour". That means I'm out.
With fall approaching, you might already be thinking about that special weekend getaway, or longer. And I can't think of a much more beautiful area to view foliage than eastern Kentucky, and Carter Caves State Resort Park is right there in the heart of it.