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Carter Caves State Park, Kentucky

Learn & Do Trail Maintenance + Camping

Learn & Do Trail Maintenance + Camping
May 9 - 12, 2024
Carter Caves State Resort Park, Kentucky
Limit 20 participants

Registration Fee: $35.00/person. Paid online.

Includes camping for three nights, two dinners, all instruction, personal safety equipment and fun evening activities.

Register by April 15, 2024 and receive a free Trail Crew shirt.

WORKSHOP FULL. Join the waiting list.

Want to be added the waiting list?

Send us an email with your first name, last name, phone number and trip name to and we will add you to the waiting list. We can and do cancellations.

Join the Trail Crew At Carter Caves State Resort Park!

Description: Join the Carter Caves trail crew and spend a weekend at Kentucky's best-kept secret learning about and doing trail maintenance. Your volunteer efforts will improve the trails at the park and make them safer and more enjoyable for park visitors.

Projects will likely include fixing badly eroded trails, side-hill trail maintenance, installing water bars, fixing and replacing wooden footbridges, installing boardwalks, and correcting erosion problems. The actual projects will be determined about one month in advance.

This is a three-night campout with 2 1/2 days of working on the trails. No experience is required. Upper body strength is not required. This is for men and women of all ages.

Tools, safety equipment, and instruction provided. You'll be taught the basics of trail maintenance and will put those techniques to use. In the evening, enjoy fun activities at the park. Give back to the trails! Come with a friend.


About Carter Caves: The beautiful setting of Carter Caves State Resort Park is the ideal setting for this trail crew event. Nestled in the hills of Eastern Kentucky, Carter Caves is 2,000 acres of wooded hills rich in plants, animals, and geologic formations both above and below ground. Carter Caves is home to over 30 miles of hiking trails and over a dozen caves.

Park Web Site

Map Link To Carter Caves State Resort Park


View The Photos From August 2023 Learn & Do Trail Maintenance Events

The Schedule

Thursday: Arrive at the park in the afternoon. Set up your campsite. At 7:00 pm we'll meet for orientation, introductions, safety talk, and instruction on the basics of trail maintenance. Afterward, we'll get underground for a short cave tour of X-Cave.
Friday: Our workday is from 8:00 am - 3:00 pm. Plan on spending the whole time outside on the trails. We'll meet again at 6:00 pm for a pizza dinner at the cabin. After dinner, we'll enjoy an optional, fun activity at the park.
Saturday: Our workday is from 8:00 am - 3:00 pm. Plan on spending the whole time outside on the trails. We'll meet again at 6:00 pm for a buffet dinner in the lodge restaurant. After dinner, we'll enjoy an optional, fun activity at the park.
Sunday: Our workday begins at 8:30 am and ends at noon. We will use this time to finish up any projects and clean tools. Depart.

Evening Activities

Thursday: Walking Tour of X-Cave. X-cave has two vertical joint passages that meander through a large layer of limestone which puts you up-close to many beautiful cave formations. Some of the highlighted features include turkey rock, the pipe organ, and the giant column which is the largest cave formation found at the park. Be aware of your surroundings and you will discover how this cave became known as "X-Cave."
Friday - Tomahawk Throwing. There's maybe nothing more primal and satisfying than throwing a tomahawk through the air and hearing as it sticks flush into its target. It's a relaxing and mesmerizing activity that anyone can learn with the proper technique and the right practice. When done properly, throwing tomahawks can be like mountain man yoga.
Saturday - Cascade Cave Tour. We'll finish off a day of trail maintenance with a Cascade Cave walking tour. It's the longest scenic cave tour in the park and is noted for its large chambers and many beautiful cave formations. A highlight of the tour is a 30-foot high underground waterfall as well as the Lake Room’s reflecting pool, the Cathedral in North Cave, and the Dance Hall where a previous owner held weekly dances.



Field House & Camping: Bring your tent as camping is included. The camping area is the secluded backyard of the 3-bedroom cottage in the park away from the main cabin loop and campground loop. There are flat, grassy areas for your tent.

You will have access to the cottage to use the bathrooms, showers, kitchen, refrigerator, microwave, stove, coffee maker, TV, and garage. The cottage will serve as our field house.


Alternate Lodging: We've arranged a special rate of $59.95/night plus taxes for a limited number of lodge rooms and $99.95/night plus taxes for a limited number of 2-bedroom cottages for trail crew members. After registering ask Andy for the booking code to receive this rate.

What Is Included?

Your $35.00 registration fee includes:

  • Three nights of camping (Thursday through Sunday)
  • Friday Pizza Dinner
  • Saturday Buffet in the Lodge Restaurant
  • Three Evening Activities
  • Hard Hat, Safety Glasses, Foam Ear Plugs (You keep)
  • All Trail Tools
  • Instruction on Trail Maintenance and Trail Safety
  • Supervision by Experienced Trail Crew Leaders
  • Comradery, fun and a sense of accomplishment!

What Is Not Included?

  • Breakfast - Bring your own or dine in the lodge
  • Lunch - Pack Your Own. On The Trail.
  • Camping Equipment
  • Transportation


What To Bring:

Check out our List of Items To Bring so you are fully prepared!

Your Trail Crew Leader:

Andy Niekamp. Andy Niekamp is an experienced trail crew leader with the Kentucky State Park system. He has led various volunteer trail crews since 2014. Andy is a former section supervisor for a 50-mile section of the Buckeye Trail and North Country National Scenic Trail in Ohio where he oversees a crew of trail adopters. He can be found joining trail crews on the Florida trail during the month of Febrary. Andy is a certified chainsawyer by the United States Forest Service and is a Wilderness First Responder. Andy has backpacked over 14,000 miles including five end to end hikes of the Appalachian Trail and thru hikes of the Buckeye Trail, Florida Trail, Ohio To Erie Trail, Sheltowee Trace, Long Trail, Ozark Highlands Trail, Colorado Trail, Superior Hiking Trail and the Bartram Trail. Andy is founder and leader of the Dayton Hikers group, the largest outdoor recreation group in Dayton, Ohio, and a Leave No Trace Master Educator. Andy Niekamp grew up and lives in Dayton and has a passion for long distance hiking which he shares with others. Andy brings his wealth of backpacking experience and his passion for trail maintenance.

Operated on Kentucky State Park lands in Carter Caves State Resort Park with special permission.


Cancellation & Refund Policy: No refunds are offered. Your registration fee is non-refundable unless this event is canceled or rescheduled. Online payment transaction fees are not refundable under any circumstances.

You must be at least age 18 to register for this event.

First time trail crew registrants must attend the orientation & safety talk on Thursday evening. No exceptions.

By registering for this event you agree that you can arrive at the park on Thursday evening and stay until the conclusion of work on Saturday. Your registration is subject to cancellation if you are unable to do so.

Participants must complete an Application / Medical Form and sign a liability waiver.

No pets permitted. Our events are non-smoking. Details will be sent via email to registered participants.

Here Is What They Say About Our Learn & Do Trail Crew Events:

It was physical and labor intense which gave me a great sense of accomplishment. Thank you Andy for the week I needed that escape and opportunity to see what I could do.Debbie B.

I really appreciated the focus of the trail projects and how knowledgeable the trail boss is.Robin R.

The organization of the trail projects was well planned - we had what we needed, where we needed it. It was nice having park employees join us each day too.Barb K.

The accommodations were awesome and really enjoyed the variety of evening activities.Barb K.

I loved having the park staff involved and our group breakfasts.Karen K.

I liked Andy's leadership style: allowing flow to the work ; encouragement; teaching; sense of humor, appreciation and respect for each person.Karen K.

I liked our accommodations, food, and evening activities. I enjoyed meeting the Carter Cave park staff.Debbie B.

I appreciated mix of experienced and newbies.Karen K.

It was great being able to stay in cabins, not camp out. The friendly and involved park staff made the event a sure success.Frank C.

The schedule was good. One week was perfect. Work/play ratio was great.Sterling D.

The guides were friendly and helpful. The activities were varied and interesting. The cabins were lovely.Patty H.