You can stay in a historic mining camp in the mountains of Kentucky

If you’re looking for a different kind of Kentucky attraction, consider visiting the Barthell Mining Camp. The camp is perfect for couples and families looking for a quiet and secluded location in Kentucky. At the camp, visitors can enjoy the history of the region along with its natural beauty. The mines are a reminder that nothing lasts forever.

Kentucky is a beautiful state – be sure to take the time to explore the Appalachian Mountains that run through the eastern part of the state. Another fun thing to do in Kentucky is to take one of the iconic bourbon tours. Between the Appalachians, mining tours, and bourbon tours, fried chicken isn’t all Kentucky has to offer.


Barthell Mining Camp – The Historic & Restful Kentucky Retreat

Dating back to 1902, Barthell Mining Camp was one of 18 mining camps belonging to the Stearns Coal and Lumber Co. The mines began to close in the 1950s and coal mining in the area ceased completely in 1987.

Located off Highway 742, the camp offers an instructive glimpse into the state’s mining past. The location is quiet. One is surrounded by seasonal wildflowers, high cliffs and the bubbling sounds of Paunch Creek.

Not only does today’s reconstructed coal camp take you back in time, but the camp also offers several personal tours for a deep dive into the mining history of the camp and the region.

Located in the Daniel Boone National Forest, the Barthell Mining Camp is just next to the Big South Fork River and Recreation Area.

Related: 10 Best Bourbon Distilleries to Visit in Kentucky

Accommodation in Barthell Coal Camp

The Barthell Coal Camp also has a number of accommodation options – so it can be more than just a day trip. The property consists of business houses that combine modern amenities with old world charm.

The property has one bedroom and two bedroom options. Prices are not listed on their website and potential visitors should call for prices and a reservation. For those wanting to relax in this beautiful and quiet part of Kentucky, there are extended stay discounts with the 6th night free after a 5 night stay.

In total they have 12 centrally air-conditioned and heated ‘Company Houses’. The one bedroom houses also have a sofa bed and can sleep four people. Each home includes a full bath, kitchen, dining area, coffee maker and living room.

Accommodation options:

  • Two bedrooms: 9x “Company houses”
  • Single room: 3x “Company houses”

The houses also all have porches and swings. They come with maid service upon request and have been reconstructed on the original sites and with the original floor plans as the original colliery houses (aside from the added bathrooms).

The Barthell Coal Camp is also a great option for those looking for a venue for family reunions, meetings, and any special occasion.

Related: Destination Louisville: The Best Things to See in This Historic Baseball Town

A visit to the Barthell . coal camp

The Barthell Coal Camp is open Wednesday through Sunday and offers guided tours of the mines. Guests are taken approximately 300 feet into the mine, with tours departing four times a day during the tourist season.

The cost of the private tours is not listed on their website; people should call them for a quote.

  • Opening hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Wednesday to Sunday)
  • Tour times: 9am, 11am, 1pm and 3pm
  • Includes: Guided Tour 300 Feet Inside a Coal Mine

The Kentucky & Tennessee Railway to Barthell Coal Camp

To get the most out of your trip to Barthell Coal Camp, take a ride on the historic Kentucky & Tennessee Railway. Train tickets are usually part of the mining tour package.

They offer a 3 hour round trip adventure to and from the camp (30 minutes one way and 2 hours layover at the camp). The train took its first load of coal from the coal camp in 1903, and today visitors can rediscover the history of the region. In its heyday, the Kentucky & Tennessee Railway stretched 40 miles in the Big South Fork River valley and operated some 12 steam locomotives.

The train has been carefully restored and offers beautiful views of the Daniel Boone National Forest region.

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