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Kentucky State Parks

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Highlands Region
Tygarts State Forest
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Tygarts State Forest the waters edge © andrea nolan
early in the morning as the fog was just beginning to fade off of the water
Tygarts State Forest © andrea nolan
Tygarts State Forest a gentle haze © andrea nolan
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Tygarts State Forest will be closed to public access from November 15, 2003 to March 31, 2004 while a salvage timber harvest is conducted. The forest sustained heavy damage from last year's ice storm. This harvest is necessary to improve the overall health of the forest.

The state bought Tygarts State Forest in Carter County in 1957. It is 800 acres in size and adjoins Carter Cave State Resort Park.
History of the Area
Tygarts State Forest is located in northeastern Kentucky and covers an area of about 1,073 acres. It was established in 1953 and is named after Tygarts Creek, which runs through the forest.

The history of Tygarts State Forest can be traced back to the early 20th century when the land was heavily logged for timber. This deforestation led to soil erosion and degradation of the landscape. In response to these environmental issues, the state of Kentucky began acquiring land in the area to establish a state forest.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a New Deal program established during the Great Depression, played a crucial role in the development of Tygarts State Forest. The CCC workers were responsible for reforesting the land and building recreational facilities.

During their time at Tygarts State Forest, the CCC workers planted thousands of trees, developed hiking trails, constructed picnic areas, and built various infrastructure such as roads, fish ponds, and fire towers. These efforts not only restored the land but also provided recreational opportunities for the public.

After the establishment and initial development of Tygarts State Forest, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources took over its management. The forest continues to offer recreational activities such as hiking, picnicking, fishing, and wildlife viewing.

Various improvements have been made to the forest, including the construction of additional trails, the restoration of stream banks, and the enhancement of wildlife habitat. The state of Kentucky continues to manage Tygarts State Forest to promote conservation, outdoor recreation, and environmental education.
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Tygarts State Forest is located near Grayson, Greenup and Morehead

1. Tygart Creek Trail: This is a moderate 3-mile trail that follows the scenic route along Tygarts creek, offering hikers stunning views of limestone cliffs and diverse wildlife.

2. Forest Loop Trail: A relatively easy hike spanning about 4 miles through dense forests with plenty of shade for hot summer days; it's perfect for bird watchers due to its rich avian population.

3. Overlook Ridge Trail: An approximately two-and-a-half mile long challenging trek leading up to an overlook point providing panoramic vistas over the forest canopy below - ideal for photography enthusiasts or those seeking solitude in nature's lap.

4. Limestone Hollows Pathway: It covers around three miles featuring unique geological formations including caves and sinkholes formed by eroded limestone bedrock - this path requires careful navigation but offers rewarding sights at every turn.

5. Fern Valley Walkway: Spanning just under one mile, this gentle walk takes you past beautiful fern-filled valleys making it suitable even for novice hikers or families with young children.

6. Carter Caves Cross Country Trails: These are multiple interconnected trails covering more than eight miles across varied terrains such as meadows, woodlands and creeksides- they offer something new each time regardless if you're hiking them individually or combined together into longer routes.

7. Three Bridges Hiking Route: As suggested by its name,this four-miles-long track passes underneath natural bridges carved out from sandstone rock layers giving visitors a chance to marvel at these amazing structures while enjoying their outdoor adventure.

8. Box Canyon Nature Preserve Track: Covering roughly half a mile within Box canyon area,this short yet steep climb leads towards breathtaking waterfalls cascading down rocky ledges-it can be slippery so caution must be exercised especially during wet weather conditions.

9. Tygart Lake Shoreline Trekking Course: A five-mile round trip following lake shoreline which provides opportunities not only for hiking but also fishing, boating and picnicking along the way.

10. Bat Cave Trail: A short 0.75-mile trail leading to one of Kentucky's largest bat caves; it is closed during winter months due to hibernation season but otherwise offers a unique experience especially if guided by park rangers who provide informative insights about these fascinating creatures.

11. Rock House Hiking Path: This two miles long path takes you through dense woodlands before reaching its main attraction -a large rock house formation that has been naturally carved out over centuries making this hike worth every step.

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Area Accommodations (over 20 miles away)
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Cottages and Cabins
Trickle Creek offers luxury cabins in Hocking Hills. The cabins are situated on nearly 236 acres of secluded cabin rentals in the deep wooded ravines in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Hocking County, Ohio.
89.1 miles from park*

From Interstate 64 east take Exit 64 and travel north following the signs to Carter Caves State Resort Park. Tygarts State Forest adjoins Carter Caves State Park just past the horse riding concession.

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Kentucky State Parks