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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. General Questions
  2. Visiting the Preserve
  3. Other Inquiries

What is the Great Saltpetre Cave Preserve?

It is a 300+ acre tract of rugged land on State Route 1004 in Rockcastle County, Kentucky containing a historically significant cave.

What is the Great Saltpetre Cave?

It is a closed and gated limestone cave that is about one half mile long. It was used during the War of 1812 for the production of nitre for the manufacture gunpowder. The cave was operated as a commercial cave until the mid 1970's.

Who owns and maintains the Great Saltpetre Cave Preserve?

It is owned by the Rockcastle Karst Conservancy. The Preserve is managed and maintained by the Greater Cincinnati Grotto, Blue Grass Grotto and the Dayton Underground Grotto.

How is the Great Saltpetre Cave Preserve supported financially?

All money to maintain the Preserve comes from donations. Your support is appreciated!

How can I donate money to support the Great Saltpetre Cave Preserve?

If you want to donate by check, please make it out to "Great Saltpetre Cave Preserve". You can mail it directly to Werner Jud, GSP Treasurer, 1044 Vacationland Dr., Cincinnati, Ohio 45231 or send it to PO Box 1406, Mount Vernon, Kentucky 40456. You can also donate by PayPal on the GSP Store page. Great Saltpetre Cave Preserve is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization under the Rockcastle Karst Conservancy, therefore your contribution qualifies as tax-deductible.


Can I visit the Great Saltpetre Cave?

Yes. You can visit the cave (for free) during the annual Open House the 3rd weekend in May, (the weekend after Mother's Day). Under certain circumstances you can visit the cave at other times.

Can I camp out overnight at the Great Saltpetre Cave Preserve?

Only members of GCG, BGG, and DUG and accompanying guests are granted camping privileges. It is primitive camping only. There are showers, drinkable water, latrines, shelter and kitchen facilities on-site. The shower house is open when temperatures are reliably above freezing. The kitchen is kept locked for security through the week and is usually available on weekends. Please contact your grotto representative about access.

I am a NSS caver traveling through the area. Can I camp at Great Saltpetre Cave Preserve?

Yes, if a member of GCG, BGG or DUG sponsors you. Contact a grotto member for more details.

How do I get to Great Saltpetre Cave Preserve?

See the directions page for driving directions. The entrance to the preserve is kept gated and locked. Please contact a member of GCG, BGG, or DUG for a sponsor. The gate combination will not be given out to non-members.

I am a Scout Group Coordinator. Is it possible for my Troop or Venture Crew to Camp at Great Saltpetre Cave Preserve?

The Caving Season for Youth Groups is May 1 through September 30 of each year to avoid disturbing bats during hibernation. Camping and visiting Great Saltpetre Cave is possible year round. All requests for camping and caving by Youth Groups should be sent to the Youth Group Coordinator for the Greater Cincinnati Grotto. Please see the youth group visitation page for more information.


How can I learn more about caves and caving?

Contact the National Speleological Society, the Greater Cincinnati Grotto, the Dayton Underground Grotto, or the Blue Grass Grotto. See the Links page.


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