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If one is looking for a different sort of attraction in Kentucky, consider visiting the Barthell Mining Camp. The camp is perfect for couples and families looking for a quiet and out-of-the-way location in Kentucky. At the camp, visitors enjoy the history of the region together with its natural beauty. The mines are a reminder that nothing lasts forever.

Kentucky is a stunning 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, mine tours, and bourbon tours, fried chicken is not the only thing Kentucky has to offer.


Barthell Mining Camp - The Historic & Restful Kentucky Retreat

The Barthell Mining Camp dates back to 1902 and was one of 18 mining camps that belonged to the Stearns Coal and Lumber Co. The mines started closing in the 1950s, and coal mining ceased in the area completely in 1987.

  • Established: 1902

The camp is located off Highway 742 and offers an educational glimpse into the state's mining past. The location is peaceful. One will be surrounded by seasonal wildflowers, high cliffs, and the bubbling sounds of Paunch Creek.

Not only does the reconstructed coal camp there today take one back in time, but the camp also offers various personal guided tours for a deep dive into the coal mining history of the camp and region.

The Barthell Mining Camp is located in the Daniel Boone National Forest and is located just next to the Big South Fork River and Recreational Area.

Related: 10 Best Bourbon Distilleries To Visit In Kentucky

Accommodation At Barthell Coal Camp

The Barthell Coal Camp also has a number of lodging options - so it can be more than just a day trip. The accommodation includes company houses that mix modern amenities with old-fashioned charm.

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

  • Price: On Request

In all, 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 house comes with a full bath, a kitchen, a dining area, a coffee maker, and a living room.

Accommodation Options:

  • Two Bedrooms: 9x "Company Houses"
  • Single Bedroom: 3x "Company Houses"

The houses also all have porches and swings. They come with maid service on request and have been reconstructed on the original sites and with the original floor plans as the original coal mine houses (apart 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.

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Visiting Barthell Coal Camp

The Barthell Coal Camp is open from Wednesday to Sunday, and they offer tours into the mines. Guests are taken around 300 feet into the mine, with tours leaving four times daily during the tourist season.

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

  • Hours Of Operation: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (Wednesday through Sunday)
  • Tour Times: 9.00 am, 11.00 am, 1.00 pm, and 3.00 pm
  • Includes: Guided Tour 300 Feet Into A Coal Mine

The Kentucky & Tennessee Railway To Barthell Coal Camp

To get the most out of one's trip to the Barthell Coal Camp, take a ride on the historic Kentucky & Tennessee Railway. Tickets for the train are typically part of the mine tour package.

They offer a 3-hour round trip adventure to and from the camp (30 mins each way and 2 hours stop over at the camp). The train hauled 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 over 25 miles into the Big South Fork River valley and operated some 12 steam locomotives.

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