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Unreal: Get In A Glass-bottomed Kayak, Go Through An Abandoned Mine Tour, End Up In An Underground Waterfall

This tour will uncover some truly remarkable things – fish, bats, and an underground waterfall. You’ll be able to spot them all!

Visiting Kentucky can be a truly unique experience, with its bourbon distilleries, renowned Kentucky Derby, and traditional bluegrass music.

However, the state also offers something else that cannot be found anywhere else in the world – an opportunity to enjoy some of the most exhilarating water sports available.

From canoeing and kayaking to rafting and jet skiing, there is no shortage of ways for visitors to explore the waterways of this beautiful region.

SUP Kentucky, a stand-up paddleboard tour company based in Rogers, Kentucky–an hour east of Lexington–provides its guests with an exciting and unique guided tour through the abandoned limestone mine in the nearby Red River Gorge.

This exceptional experience offers paddlers the chance to explore a rarely seen part of nature, as they traverse through this secluded area on their stand-up paddleboards. SUP Kentucky takes great pride in providing each guest with an unforgettable adventure that allows them to connect with nature while having fun at the same time.

To make things even more exciting and visually appealing, vacationers can select from a transparent-base kayak or a paddleboard equipped with vibrant LED lights that will sparkle beneath the surface of the water, creating an eye-catching display that is perfect for capturing on Instagram.

To explore caves in Kentucky, Heather Warman, co-owner of SUP Kentucky, went on a mission to find a cave to paddle in. Explaining her experience, she told Travel + Leisure that the state “has many, many cave systems.”

After she and her partner established the company in 2016, they sought out original experiences for their customers. One day, Warman who is from Kentucky, was driving past the limestone mine when he discerned a flag promoting kayaking excursions.

This piqued his curiosity and ultimately gave them an idea of something to offer their patrons.

Warman described his astonishment upon discovering an abandoned mine that had five miles of flooded tunnels sourced from an underground aquifer, despite having driven past it “his whole life” without detecting its existence.

As it transpired, the mine had been in existence for a considerable amount of time prior to her birth.

It had originally been set up as a surface mine back in the 1800s, but had later been transformed into an underground facility during the mid-20th century when staff utilized dynamite to create tunnels and passageways throughout.

In the early 1980s, miners started to tap into the aquifers beneath the mines and water began to leak into its hallways.

This prompted a shutdown of the mine for almost three decades until SUP Kentucky arrived on the scene offering their Crystal Kayak and SUP Glow Tour. During this time, it remained closed off from public access until recently when it was reopened by SUP Kentucky.

Within the caverns of the mine, paddling on tranquil waters can be found, with minimal prior experience needed. Foot-wise, the tunnels are sixty across and thirty tall.

In drinking the unique water found in Kentucky’s Mega Cavern, visitors can take part in a special tour of the mine offering a view of a different kind.

SUP Kentucky offers a wide range of services, including groups up to eight people on regularly scheduled tours.

However, if you have a larger group in mind, they are also able to provide private tour options that can accommodate your needs. Regardless of the size of your party, SUP Kentucky will be happy to make sure you get the most out of your experience!

The most convenient way to reach the stunning Red River Gorge area is to fly into Lexington and then take a leisurely drive to the Gorge Underground.

The nearby Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Slade offers an idyllic retreat with its 35 rooms, each featuring a private balcony from which visitors can enjoy the breathtaking views of this beautiful region.

Travelers to the area have plenty of options for recreation and entertainment. In addition to the many hiking trails, swimming, zip lining, fishing, pedal boating and rock climbing opportunities available year-round, there are also two campgrounds and a restaurant conveniently located nearby.

During the summer months from April to October visitors can enjoy the added bonus of a sky lift providing stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Fifteen minutes before their scheduled time, guests should arrive at the mine site which offers Clear-Bottom SUP boards or kayaks as potential options. Warman provides all the necessary gear for this wonderful journey and urges everyone to come early to avail these services.

In the mine, temperatures remain surprisingly chilly at around 50 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year, so it is important to be aware of this and dress accordingly.

On a sweltering summer day when temperatures soar into the 90s outside, visitors will experience a significant temperature drop inside the cave – usually to around 40 degrees. This disparity in temperatures requires guests to prepare for their visit by bringing appropriate clothing so they can enjoy their time underground comfortably.

Beaumont recommended wearing layers when exercising outdoors: “light athletic layers; as if you were going on a brisk walk on a 50 degree day. That way you’ll be able to take off items if needed.”

Travelers in Clear Kayaks and Stand Up Paddleboards (SUPs) need to consider footwear along with other items; guides ask them to remove their shoes. This is necessary not just for keeping their equipment clean, but it also means thick socks must be part of their packing list!

There are a plethora of items available for rent on-site, including neoprene socks and gloves which can be rented out for $2 apiece as well as floating phone cases. Furthermore, the company’s gift shop has an array of sweatshirts available in case any guests forget to bring their own.

Safety is paramount, meaning children must always have their own seat for the 90-minute tour on which guests descend about 200 terabytes into the watery depths below reaching as deep as 30 feet; children must be a minimum of five years.

You should anticipate dedicating approximately one hour on the water, with the other half hour being used for taking photographs (guides are equipped with cameras and will charge a fee of five dollars per snapshot), unloading the gear, and making your way to and from the mine.

Warman described that the water temperature remains at an average of 42 degrees, making it necessary to provide guided tours due to its chilly nature. He noted that this is one of the primary reasons for having a guided tour through these waters.
If you’re ever in the water for more than ten minutes, you’re at risk of experiencing hypothermia. Boat safety instructor Julia Opare cautions it’s important to stay safe and get out of the water quickly, even if it just for a short dip.

The Crystal Kayak and SUP Glow Tour is the most sought-after experience provided by SUP Kentucky, so it is highly recommended to book your slot ahead of time.

According to Warman, weekend slots during the summer months tend to run out quickly, so reserving yours as early as possible is essential in order to avoid any disappointment.

Savings of up to $5 on Saturday tours can be yours when booking tickets for the tour, costing $80 for adults ages 13 and older on Saturdays, with prices dropping to $75 for Sunday through Friday tours. The first tour is at 9 a.m. on weekends, 10 a.m.

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