Winter adventure

An adventure enthusiast dangles from a rope.

OLIVE HILL Hiking, rappelling, canoeing, caving — outdoor enthusiasts will descend on Carter Caves State Resort Park next weekend for those activities and more, all in the crisp Kentucky winter air.

It’s the park’s Winter Adventure Weekend, which is in its 10th year and still growing — the weekend features 223 field trips, a new record, according to park naturalist Coy Ainsley.

Starting this coming Thursday and continuing through next Sunday, outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels can choose from a wide menu of adventures, some new and some old favorites, all led by experts.

“The whole idea is to get people here to Carter Caves,” Ainsley said. “It introduces people to Carter Caves and if they have a good time they might want to come back again.”

Highlights this year include rappelling from the natural bridge, a formation most people look up at from the trail below, back-country cooking, targeting backpackers tired of the same old trail food, and stargazing from the former golf-course site, Ainsley said.

There also will be walking cave tours for neophytes and crawling cave expeditions for experts.

Other featured events include a silent auction by Friends of Carter Caves, a squeezebox story and musical performances.

Preregistration is closed but spots remain open on some field trips and activities and registration for those will be available at the park.

Registration is $20, down from $50 charged previously, but with additional charges for some field trips. Some trips and activities are free. Some require participants to bring their own equipment.

All participants must be at least 6 and some trips have additional age requirements.

The weekend was created a decade ago after caving in the park was curtailed because of white-nose syndrome.

White nose syndrome is a malady that threatens the population of already endangered bats living and hibernating in the caves.

Until 2009, Carter Caves held an annual winter Crawlathon that was a magnet for cavers from across the country.

The Winter Adventure Weekend replaces Crawlathon with a more broad-based set of activities.

For the full list of field trips and more information see

The park is located off I-64 at exit 161.

(606) 326-2652 |

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