Hiking Project Logo

blue Sal Hollow & Buffalo Creek Loop

  3.3 ( 4 ) Favorite

Navigate on-trail with our free app

iOS App Store Android App Store

Trail

10.8 mile 17.4 kilometer loop
Singletrack
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 863' 263 m
Descent: -885' -270 m
High: 894' 273 m
Low: 546' 167 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 22% (12°)

Dogs

Leashed
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Clinton Lewis

See the best of Mammoth Cave National Park... above ground.

Clinton Lewis

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildlife

Overview

This has been one of the best-loved trails in the park. Often busy, and recently opened to horses, the lure of the Sal Hollow still is hard to resist.

The 10-mile trail loop utilizes the Sal Hollow Trail and returns on Buffalo Creek Trail to the Maple Springs parking lot.

Miles 5-6 feature a sustained, rocky downhill that is especially tough after a rain. It becomes a sloppy mess that will wreck your knees and ankles.

Need to Know

There are many areas of poison ivy and tick activity is heightened in the summer, so bring some bug spray and wet wipes to clean up afterwards.

Description

Set out from the Maple Springs parking lot and begin your adventure by catching the Sal Hollow Trail to the left. The first few miles are quite enjoyable, with a well-trodden path and enough twists and turns to keep things interesting. The forest varies from rather open with airy clearings to Jurassic Park overgrowth, where just finding the trail is fun. There are several small creek crossings and a few small waterfalls to explore just off-trail.

The midway point of the Sal Hollow Trail is the intersection with the Turnhole Bend Trail, around mile 3.8. That is the perfect spot to rest and take in a gel.

Continuing on the Sal Hollow Trail from that point becomes an adventure. The second half seems to be less used and more overgrown. The trail itself is mostly good, with typical roots and rocks, but there are more sections of swampy footing which tend to swallow shoes and/or be very slick. Especially note miles 5-6, that are a sustained rocky downhill. At the bottom of the hollow are a couple of creek crossings, then the trail heads uphill for a bit. Passing the Sal Hollow Campsite just past mile 6, the trail still trends uphill, but the hiking becomes much smoother and more fun as you approach the end.

The Sal Hollow Trail ends at mile 8 at the intersection with the Buffalo Creek Trail. Turn right on this trail for an easy recovery-welcoming pace back to the parking lot. Enjoy!

Flora & Fauna

Typical Kentucky forest with maple & oak trees, ferns, vines and poison ivy. Lots of wild turkey and deer can be seen, too.

History & Background

For many years, the Sal Hollow was open to mountain bikers as a test project on allowing MTB in the park. In 2013, construction started on the Big Hollow Trail, a mountain bike specific trail, and horses were allowed on the Sal Hollow.

Contacts

Rate This Featured Hike

Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Hike

Check In

Check-Ins

Apr 2, 2019
Ryan Hall
10.8mi — 9h 50m
Jul 15, 2018
Chris Clements
Trail is well marked. Starts out open, narrows about halfway in. Watch out for ticks in summer. Also water only at springs. Don’t camp at Sal’s Hol… 10.8mi
Mar 30, 2018
Megan Tenenbaum
Jul 2, 2017
Ranada McClurg
Mar 11, 2017
Julius de Castro
Jul 13, 2016
Steve Clark

Trail Ratings

  3.3 from 4 votes

#2

in North Side

#3532

Overall
  3.3 from 4 votes
5 Star
0%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
25%
2 Star
25%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#2

in North Side

#43

in Kentucky

#3,532

Overall
45 Views Last Month
2,529 Since Jun 3, 2015
Intermediate Intermediate

0%
75%
0%
25%
0%
0%

0 Comments

Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking