Buffalo Creek + Sal Hollow Loop

Mammoth Cave National Park

Mississippi Plateau, Kentucky

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Buffalo Creek + Sal Hollow Loop


  • Trailhead Parking for the Buffalo Creek Sal Hollow Loop.- Buffalo Creek + Sal Hollow Loop
  • Trailhead signage.- Buffalo Creek + Sal Hollow Loop
  • Sink hole along the Buffalo Creek Trail.- Buffalo Creek + Sal Hollow Loop
  • Creeks and mini waterfalls.- Buffalo Creek + Sal Hollow Loop
  • New growth.- Buffalo Creek + Sal Hollow Loop
  • Blue bells along the valley.- Buffalo Creek + Sal Hollow Loop
  • The largest creek crossing along the route.- Buffalo Creek + Sal Hollow Loop
  • Equestrian trails can be muddy.- Buffalo Creek + Sal Hollow Loop
  • Waterfall along the Sal Hollow Trail.- Buffalo Creek + Sal Hollow Loop
  • - Buffalo Creek + Sal Hollow Loop
Overview + Weather
Beautiful creeks. Amazing geology. Wildflowers. Wildlife viewing.
Can be muddy. Summer mosquitoes and ticks.
Mississippi Plateau, KY
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
863.00 ft (263.04 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
10.80 mi (17.38 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
828.00 ft (252.37 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description


While the underground beauty of Mammoth Cave National Park is well known, the 84 miles of trails above ground invites hikers to tour some of Kentucky's most pristine old-growth forests and contemplate the idea of hiking over the roof of the world's longest cave system. The hikes within Mammoth Cave National Park are divided into the frontcountry, south of the Green River, and backcountry to the north. The two park regions are connected via the free Green River Ferry, which can be a long wait during busy mid day hours. 

The trailhead for the Buffalo Creek and Sal Hollow Loop is located in the backcountry at the Maple Springs Trailhead. There is free parking and a pit toilet at the trailhead. There is no running water. The hike is enjoyable in either direction, and it is a dual-use hiking and equestrian trail. Users are treated to mossy creeks with many small waterfalls and disappearing streams because the water seeps into the cave system below. Along the trail are many sinkholes as well as entrances to the Mammoth Cave System. Of note, you do need a special permit to explore inside any cave within park boundaries. In spring and late summer wildflowers fill the valleys. The Sal Hollow backcountry campsite is at the halfway point of this trail. The Bluffs Campsite is also accessible from this trail via a 0.6-mile spur trail. Backcountry permits are available at the visitor center. Be prepared for ticks, mosquitoes, and hot humid weather, if you'll be hiking during the summer months.

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(1 within a 30 mile radius)

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