Zilpo, a large, fun-filled campground on Cave Run Lake, is a prime destination for families. The scenic campground offers a cabin rental, tent camping, RV sites with electric hookups and a selection of lakefront sites.
Views of the lake are enjoyed by those who relax on the sandy beach. Tater Knob, a fire tower open to the public, is nearby, offering outstanding views of the area.
Zilpo sits on a peninsula in the middle portion of Cave Run Lake at an elevation of 800 feet. The lake spans 8,270 acres with soft, sandy beaches. The campground is shaded by a stand of mixed hardwoods, and campsites have good privacy.
Water skiing and swimming are wonderful ways to enjoy the lake. Muskie, large and smallmouth bass, bluegill, crappie and catfish attract avid anglers. Hikers are fans of the Zilpo Mountain Loop Trail that extends for 2.25 miles, connecting to a network of other trails around the lake.
Nature programs are regularly scheduled during peak season and wildlife watching is rewarding.
Electric hookups are provided at some campsites. Drinking water is located centrally within the loops. Flush toilets and showers are spread throughout the campground as well. Each site has a picnic table and campfire ring. A dump station and concrete boat ramp are also included.
Each of the 12 cabins can accommodate up to six guests. They each have a table, two chairs and a sleeping area with two sets of bunk beds (4 beds). A picnic table, lantern post and campfire ring are provided outside. Pets may reside only in cabins 41,120,121 and 123. Cabins 109, 123 and 136 have ramps that can accommodate wheel chairs.
A campground store with ice, firewood, camping gear and food is on-site. Roads are paved and level tent pads are gravel.
The nearest community is 12 miles away.
Historic & Cultural Site: Historic Sites
Deep in the woods after a windy drive through the forest. We stayed in H loop site 34 so this review is only about that loop. Each campsite is nestled into the forest with full shade and ample privacy spacing between sites. Peaceful and quiet. Clean campground and shower houses, great facilities including a dump station. We stayed for one night in October 2020 and really wished we had stayed longer. Beautiful fall colors. We will return.
We originally were going to stay at Twin Knobs Campbrougnd, but after some research, we decided to switch the reservation to Zilpo. Having recently moved to Kentucky from California was so happy to get to camp in another season besides summer. All the spots in the H Loop seemed like they would be great for a visit, but after walking around the whole section, we found H 26. It was a double spot with easy access to the lake and set up a beach fire for the night. The only issue was the bathroom nearest to us was shut down, but it really wasn't that much farther. Amazing seeing the Milky Way one evening.
One of my wife and I favorite spot! Great campground with great views of lake and easy way to the beach.
The site I m at H37 is perfect site for tent camp which is a step below road level give you a necessary privacy you look and shade while you are camping . Only downside picnic table broken . The shower room is ok to do its job but which might need some maintenance. As two of 3 showers were broken .
Fantastic campground. The sites at Zilpo are great. Most sit a decent way off the camping loops. Almost all have a good amount of trees and vegetation between campsites. Picnic tables and fire rings are in great condition. The bathrooms are a little dated (paint is peeling in the showers, out of order stalls, etc.) but staff keeps them clean and the shower water was very hot. Unfortunately, I can not say the same about my campsite. There was a large amount of toilet paper in the woods surrounding the campsite (not the campground's fault but disrespectful past campers). Our particular site had a little trail to access the lake, and many sites offer the same. The campground is pretty isolated so it's a pretty long trip to get groceries or gas. The check-in booth does sell ice and wood which was nice so you don't have to drive 20 minutes out and back to get the basics. There is one main trail within the campground (Zilpo) which offers great views but isn't very long. The campground has a nice beach and a separate boat launch. Campers are able to store their boats at their sites because the drives are long enough and sit so far back from the road. We brought our kayaks and enjoyed spending time on the water this way. Seeing a bald eagle while kayaking was a highlight. Overall, it's a well run and great campground. Since it is quite isolated, there is not a ton to do (especially if you don't own a boat) but part of the attraction to camping is getting away to relax anyway. We would definitely recommend Zilpo and will return.
Great spot right on the water
It’s peaceful and the area we were in was not too close to each other. They have spots for tents, campers and they also have cabins. It’s surrounded by a huge lake with fishing and a boat ramp. You do have to make sure you have all your supplies, the closest store is 30 to 40 minutes away.
This is the third time camping at Zilpo this summer. This time I went with my sister and two young nephews. I went back to campsite E-12 since I knew the bath house was close and the water spicket was across the road. Didn’t include pics of the campsite because you can see them in another review. Great spot for children, the E-Loop wasn’t too loud or disturb them from sleeping. As always we saw wild turkey, deer, and a baby alligator snapping turtle. I included a pic of the overlook from the Zilpo Campground Trail.
This time we camped at H-36. This spot was a double and had plenty of space for 5 tents. It was set in a beautifully shaded area. The water pump was right next to the site. The bath house was a very short walk away. There was a path from the site that lead right down to Cave Run Lake and we were able to swim, kayak fish (although we didn’t catch anything), and hang out on the shore without really leaving the campsite. There aren’t any campsites directly to the right or left, the only neighbor is across the road. The campsite had a fire pit with a grill that can be lowered or raised to cook on. It had three lateen poles and two picnic tables.
The website to reserve campsites needs a lot of work but otherwise it was a great weekend of camping. E-12 was close enough to the bathrooms that it wasn’t a bad walk but we didn’t have to smell anything. Water pump was across from the campsite. Plenty of space for four tents. Sturdy pic-nic table. Fire pit with a grill connected. Two poles to with four hooks each to hang lanterns or bags. We tied a line across it and hung our towels and wet clothes. The camp ground sits next to Cave Run Lake. There is a place to launch a boat and a nice beach area for swimming. They have a store next to the beach but we didn’t go in. “Billy” did chase away from the beach after hours though. The check in station sells ice and fire wood. We saw plenty of rabbits, a wild turkey, and a deer got about 20 feet from out camp site.