You can paddle through an abandoned mine in Kentucky in a clear kayak

Facebook | Sup Kentucky

Maybe you’ve paddled a kayak on lakes or along rivers. But have you ever strapped on a headlamp and entered a cave to explore an abandoned limestone mine in a clear-bottomed kayak with a neon glow illuminating your subterranean surroundings?

In the Red River Gorge area near Slade, Kentucky (about an hour’s drive from Lexington), Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Kentucky leads this bucket list-worthy “Krystal Kayak and SUP Glow” kayak tour.

Multicolored LED lights illuminate the cave and the clear construction of the kayak means paddlers can spot rainbow trout darting about in the waters. The fish are known for following along on the tour.

Here’s an image the company posted to Facebook showing the experience:

Other tour highlights include seeing an underground waterfall and spotting brown bats napping in the nooks and crannies of the cave’s limestone walls (assuming you’re good with winged nocturnal creatures).

The Red River Gorge area geological area as a whole is a playground for lovers of the outdoors, with more than 150 sandstone arches inside Daniel Boone National Forest — the only area east of the Rocky Mountains to have this type of arch. Red River Gorge encompasses 29,000 acres and is also filled with jagged cliffs and cascading waterfalls.

The guided 90-minute kayak tour includes headlamps, and you can choose between a single-seat kayak or a tandem one. You can also do it as a stand-up paddle tour if you prefer. Adult tickets start at $75. Group sizes are capped at eight people aged 5 and up.

Here’s another view of the tour from within the former limestone mine:

If caves and bat encounters aren’t quite your brand of adventure, though, the Kentucky outfitter has some other cool tours. You could paddleboard up to Cumberland Falls and feel the mist of the 62-foot waterfall there; the famous gusher is nicknamed the “Niagara of the South.” Or, explore Grayson Grotto, where you can discover up to seven secluded waterfalls during a three-hour paddleboarding tour.

What do you think? Are you on board with an adventurous cave kayak tour?

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About the Author
Brittany Anas
Hi, I'm Brittany Anas (pronounced like the spice, anise ... see, that wasn't too embarrassing to say, now was it?) My professional writing career started when I was in elementary school and my grandma paid me $1 for each story I wrote for her. I'm a former newspaper reporter, with more than a decade of experience Hula-hooping at planning meetings and covering just about every beat from higher-education to crime to science for the Boulder Daily Camera and The Denver Post. Now, I'm a freelance writer, specializing in travel, health, food and adventure.

I've contributed to publications including Men's Journal, Forbes, Women's Health, American Way, TripSavvy, Eat This, Not That!, Apartment Therapy, Denver Life Magazine, 5280, Livability, The Denver Post, Simplemost, USA Today Travel Tips, Make it Better, AAA publications, Reader's Digest, Discover Life and more. Visit Scripps News to see more of Brittany's work.

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