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The campground is decent although a bit plain in the winter when the trees are bare. But right across the street is Cummins Falls State Park. This park is an amazing find and will blow your mind with the single best swimming hole in the US.
Not a hidden, backwoods hike by any means but it is an easy to moderate loop with three separate waterfalls that increase in size as you go along.
Not sure if it is still there (because it had been washed out in a bad storm) but there was a spur trail (very strenuous) at the last overlook that went down to the base. A metal, covered staircase attached to the bluff brought you down about 100-150 feet to a swimming hole at the waterfalls base. If it has been rebuilt, do yourself a favor and brave the many stairs for an awesome hike.
If you can handle the moderate to lightly strenuous hike, complete with water crossings/hiking, the payoff is enormous. Stunning waterfall and amazing swimming hole at the base. Usually pretty crowded and some people like to leave their trash behind. Please don’t be a slob and ruin this gem.
The Narrows at Barren River Resort Park , Kentucky is a nice, well maintained campground. If you are a fisher person this is a campground for you. Within walking distance of the Marina, nice shaded sites and room to spread out. A cool feature in the sites is a fish cleaning table as well as fire ring and picnic table. Another nice feature is the campground is off the main road to the marina. Unfortunately there aren’t any hiking trails , however bike riding in the campground is an option and there’s an interesting sunken basketball court.
Barren River State Resort Park
Barren River State Resort Park is small but it offers a lot of options.
The campground is off by itself, quiet , with separate areas and pull through options. I like the back in sites with shade and a small patio to set up on. The campground is older but well maintained, the showerhouses are also not new, but they are kept up. If you are a biker you have some hills to climb in the park. There is a walk/bike trail around the golfing greens, with a dirt trail off the backside. The stable is closed currently due to no contract with a wrangler. With the beach, golf course and other attractions you can easily stay in the park and keep busy. Two cool events to check out are the Highland Games, ( men in skirts throwing things)and the Bourbonfest a newer event.
The one major con of the Picnic Shelters st Mammoth Cave NP , Ky is they are day use only! Which if your only there for the day is fine but if your staying at the campground, cabins or lodge with a group once the sun goes down you are limited as to where you can get together. We had an event there and we ended up just getting g together at the cabins, so that might be an option to consider if you are wanting a group gathering spot.
Tucked away on the backside of Mammoth Cave NF, Ky, you want to find this Horse Camp.
Not huge and not to small, you can easily bring a small group of friends here for a private horsing around retreat ( pun intended) Direct access to several horse trails in Mammoth Cave. Spend your day riding and then kick back at your site and relax. There is an area in the “back” to park your rig and set up your glamping area. Stalls if your horse likes it fancy. A nice camp store and friendly staff to assist you. We visited while in the area, my favorite thing is the out of the way location! (Check out their page for events too.)
Another backside primitive campsite at Mammoth Cave National Forest, Ky.
A lot of people don’t realize the extensive trail system of Mammoth Cave. They come for the Cave and never take the time to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
Before using this campsite you are supposed to check in at the visitors center. Unfortunately the ferry is closed so it’s a long drive around to the backside.
Turnhole Campsite is a short or long hike from the Maple Springs parking area. Sal Hollow Trail would be the long trail, twisty , turny and moderately challenging. Buffalo Trail is a straight hike in , take a left at the intersection and straight on to the campsite. Difference of about 3 miles-ish.
The trails are used by hikers and horseback riders, are well marked and lotsa fauna to see. No major vistas here, just woods.
The campsite has poles to tie your horses, a fire ring, tent pad and lantern hooks. Pretty easy to find seasoned wood to burn. DARK at night, lots of animal noises ;) not much of a night sky except in the winter months.
The cool thing about this campsite is your sorta on a peninsula of the river. Very private and it’s not on a loop trail so no foot traffic passing by.