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Beautiful park with tons to do. Campsites in area 1 were a little close together. Each site has a picnic table, fire ring, and charcoal grill. Bathrooms and showers available close by. Reserve early because it seems the campground is always full. Like most parks/forests, you cannot bring your own fire wood.
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. The campground is somewhat maintained and the sites are somewhat level. I like the back in sites with shade and a small patio to set up on. They have small asphalt pads so you will get your backing skills tested. The middle sites, (I was in site 45 top of the hill, pull thru) are on a hill which ends at the water with a boat ramp and small beach area. I huffed and puffed up and down the hill several times! There is a short trail near the boat ramp, more for fisher folk then a good hike. It ends at a small inlet. You have a strip of grass to your uphill side to use, otherwise not much privacy. The middle sites have pretty much no shade and we sweltered our middays , chasing the limited shade. The showers are newer, air conditioned and clean. Showers are spacious with seating and wall hooks. Luke warm water, which definitely makes for quick showers! A good way to enforce water conservation, lol.
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 may still be closed. I did not check if they had started a new contract due to Covid restrictions. LOTS of boating options. Bring your own or rent. The lake is huge and busy with a marina. There’s a beach that you will want to drive to, to long of a walk and I didn’t find any cut through trails from our section of the campground.
Two cool events to check out are the Highland Games, ( men in skirts throwing things)and the Bourbonfest a newer event.
Local grocery w/i 10 miles, antiques, restaurants (Funky Paradise Point) and Mammoth Cave, Cave City attractions as well as an Amish Market in Scottsville and seasonal Farmers Market in Glasgow.
There are several nice playgrounds, ranger led activities, a nature center that my kids loved, a butterfly garden, several short hikes that are good for kids. There are several sinkholes and cedar glades. There are also some caves you can explore if you want to get muddy. We often go here for day visits, but the overnight amenities are also nice. They no longer have horse stables.
Very clean, large, private sites. All of the sites have their own space. They are very well laid out. Small campground and easy for the kids to bike and play. The beach was closed for high water, but it looked like a nice area. Only a couple of minor complaints… people drive way too fast on the roads, quiet time not enforced or observed and no gate or anything to regulate traffic. We were at site 8, close to the front, and people were driving in and out all the time and it made me very worrisome with the kids. We also had a group next to us that were still “hanging out” at 2am. We didn’t complain about it, but nothing else seemed to be enforced aside for not parking on the grass. We aren’t complaining campers, but 2am is pushing the limits a little bit in my opinion. I also am giving some grace bc the whole place was full for the holiday weekend. We will go back, I just hope the speed limit will start to be enforced a little More and people are more considerate of the kiddos playing.
Despite this campsite being surrounded by the Green River on 3 sides, water is hard to come by here, and hiking it in may be your best bet. The river is at least 1/2 mile away, through extremely dense brush, and the banks are not easy to access, if accessible at all. We were lucky that a creek just north of the intersection of Buffalo Creek, Sal Hollow, and Turnhole trail had some water to filter from.
This is a nice, secluded spot. You are on the end of a ridge. Clear nights with a bright moon were magical here. It is probably a beautiful spot when there is no foliage, as well. We camped in August.
There is a tent pad, hooks for lanterns or packs, horse hitches, and a fire ring with a grate attached. Hike in is a little over 3 miles, a pleasant hike, but not a whole lot to see in the summer besides a lot of chantrelles.
The Green River Ferry seems to be non-operational a lot. Call the hotline the day of your drive in to see which route you should take: 270-758-2166
We decided to do a day hike on the Sal Hollow Trail. It ended up being pretty exhausting: we believe it is a lot longer than the markers suggest, and a lot of the trail seems pretty unused/not kept up.
We camped in tent site 15, which is the far back corner of a large rectangular tenting area. Each site had a table and fire ring, and shared water and trash were located in several central locations. Some sites are between two parking areas (sites 7-9, I think), and some sites are along the lake shore. While most people rate the lake shore sites highly, I think you'd get a lot of headlights flashing at you as they're right along the parking lane. We really liked the back corner for privacy, and relative proximity to the bathrooms (located in what looks like an office). Showers, firewood, ice, playground, and laundry are in the trailer campsite nearby.
One caveat is that, if fully booked with weekenders, I can imagine this place getting a bit noisy at night. It's also pretty hot, though very well shaded, in July.
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.
First Camp Dispersed tent sites are an enjoyable hike down into the First Creek ,creek bed of Green River in Mammoth Cave National Forest, Ky
If you go early enough in the season you will see some awesome rock formations. Once all the foliage fills in its not as picturesque .
Find Ollie Rd on the back side of Mammoth and take the gravel road straight at the hard right turn. First Creek can be hiked to from two different parking areas and it’s part of the Loop trail used by hikers and horseback riders alike. A map is very useful for distances and trail directions because the markers are not always where they are supposed to be. There is an beautiful pond/lake at the bottom of the hike that empties into the Green River. Realize of course water = snakes and take precautions. Two choices of tent sites. Both have a fire ring , lantern hook and tent pad. Firewood is all around :) tote in your water or filtration system and everything you need cause the hike back up that hill ain’t short! It gets DARK here! You should have some beautiful star gazing opportunities and some wildlife interactions. Once again take precautions with your food, it’s a long hike back up that hill! Bug spray! Enough said! Love this out of the way area but it can be quite spooky ;) Enjoy ;)