Thursday, February 26, 2015

Carter Caves State Park: BCT & TBT

For our anniversary this past September my amazingly wonderful wife and I took a trip down to Carter Caves State park in northeast Kentucky.  Of course we did a couple of the cave tours, but the two trails we hiked were more impressive. The canyons and natural land bridges together with rich forest trails made for breathtaking views all around.

My Wife and I under a Natural Bridge
at Carter Caves State Park

The Box Canyon Trail (BCT) is less than a mile, but due to its rugged nature will take you a little while to hike. This trail has the Cascade Bridge along with many vast canyons that are remarkable for this part of the country. This trail also has a section of boulders that makes for a fun yet easy climb. If you are on this side of the park I would also recommend the Cascade Cave tour. It was the better of the two caves we saw, the other being X-Cave.

Box Canyon Trail (BCT)

The Three Bridges Trail (TBT) is a bit longer at 3.5 miles but not as rugged and is actually pretty easy going. This trail features three of the parks natural bridges (Three Bridges Trail…go figure); Smokey Bridge, Raven Bridge and Fern Bridge. Out of the three bridges I would have to say the Fern Bridge is the most scenic. The contrast of the dark rock coupled with the green ferns and moss really stands out. When close to the rock structure you can see an opening at the top, like a naturally made skylight that just adds a whole other element to the view.

The Fern Bridge

The Smokey Bridge is probably the most striking due to its sheer size.  When the bridge first comes into view it is from above, but as you climb down the hill one gets a whole different perspective on how large it is. It is hard to convey the true size of this feature in a picture but with the help of Mary Ellen in the below picture I think one can get a sense.

The Smoky Bridge. See if you
can Spot Mary Ellen

We are planning on going back sometime in 2015 to hike one of the longer trails. The actual campground is in good condition and made for a really nice four day trip. We’re excited to see what that adventure has in store.