Mammoth Cave Highpoint Trip Report

four areas (920+ feet)

Date: May 28, 2013
Author: Fred Lobdell

Andy's Bible lists five areas as HP candidates for Mammoth Cave National Park but as noted in a previous report by Mike Schwartz, the 920 foot contour in the southern area (area 2 on the Web site) no longer touches the park boundary on the most recent maps. Yet the map I had was the older version showing the contour touching the boundary, so I did it anyway.

The most efficient approach to these areas would seem to be taking KY 70 west from exit 53 on I-65 for a couple of miles to where KY 70 turns left and KY 255 continues straight ahead. Follow 255 for another mile or so and turn right onto Park Ridge Road.

Area 1: Parking is at a premium on the narrow Park Ridge Road. It passes through the eastern side of this, the largest 920 foot contour area. There is a pullout at the road crest on the west side but it's only wide enough for about half a vehicle, and I wanted more security for my vehicle. I drove north down the hill to where there was a pullout on the east side that was large enough to get my vehicle completely off the road and walked back up the road to where it crested. As noted in Dave Covill's report, there is a green telephone (or something) box just off the road at this point, making a good landmark. I agree with Dave and Mike that the high ground appears to be 50 to 100 feet west of the road here.

Area 2: This is shown on the website as where topographic maps used to show the 920 foot contour just touching the park boundary. I returned to the intersection of highways 70 and 255 and turned southwest onto 70. At the first driveway, perhaps signed as "Bradford Lane", I turned in and drove up to the garage where I found Mike, the property owner, working on a project near the garage. We discussed my desire to stand on the highest land where private property abutted the Park and he said that he owned the land south of there but that I needed to talk with Dale, the farmer who owned the property under discussion. Mike kindly called Dale for me and I drove around the corner to talk with Dale. We drove up to his son's house, about halfway to the area under discussion, and Dale showed me where to go. So I walked across his hay field, now in almost waist-high grass, to the high area next to the park boundary. I found it interesting that both farmers knew exactly where the area was and how to get there, in contrast to many places where the locals haven't a clue about their geographic surroundings.

Areas 3, 4 and 5: These three areas, numbered south to north, are all west of Park Ridge Road. I agree with Mike Schwartz that the road does not pass through these areas, but lies east of them. I drove up and down the road keeping an eye on my GPS unit and looking for parking. I finally found a place to pull off the road on the west side a short distance south of area 3. Then I walked north up the road, GPS unit in hand, and walking west into the woods when I had reached the appropriate coordinates. I found areas 3 and 4 to be rather nondescript but area 5, the northernmost area, was interesting. In that area I walked perhaps a couple of hundred yards west, the ground rising gently in front of me, until I found myself on top of a low hill with the ground sloping downward in all directions from my vantage point. I guess that this area rises a good 10 feet above the road, and it is actually my favorite park highpoint candidate.