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Reviewed July 17, 2012

My family and I have been wanting to go camping at Cave Run Lake for the past couple of years. We decided on Zilpo because it is a little more secluded than Twin Knobs. Be prepared for a bit of a long drive on curvy roads to get to Zilpo, but it is worth the drive. Try not to forget anything you will need as it will be a long drive to find a walmart.

We stayed in G loop in a single spot lakeside. It was truly lovely. The camping spot was clean and spacious. Plenty of room for our 8 person tent and to add a canopy. The picnic table was large and in good condition. The metal fire ring was great for cooking or simply having a safe fire in the evening. The bathrooms were decent and clean.

The beach area is really pretty and it is nice to have the swimming area roped off. There is a lot of geese droppings all over and be sure to wear swimming shoes as there are a ton of sharp rocks. The kids had a great time swimming in the lake. We really enjoyed the camper's program for kids. Our youngest kids had fun during the 'Be Bear Aware' program. Really appreciate having that there.

Everyone from the ladies at the entrance gate, to the camp hosts, to those working the store were just as nice and helpful as they could be to use during our stay. We saw deer and wild turkey, and were lucky enough to not encounter any snakes or ticks. While eating our meals, there came an onslaught of aggresive yellow jackets--which is no fault of the campground--those things show up anytime you picnic and have sweets and meat. We had to take extra effort to store our food to try and keep those things away.

The only complaint I have of zilpo is that they do not have near enough electric sites. Even us tent campers would really like an electric site. As we understand it, Zilpo will be adding more electric sites. That would make it just about perfect! We are hoping to make it back in early September for another camping trip!

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank TravelinMaggieJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed June 19, 2012

My family and I have planned a camping trip to zilpo for 4 years now. We have already been there once this year and planning to go back before summer is over. The camp sites are very spacious and clean. There are bathhouses and bathrooms that are walking distance. We have stayed in B,G,F,H loop. It is a very quiet place to just get away for awhile. We look forward to it every year, plus it don't cost a fortune. It's a very beautiful and peaceful place!

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with family
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5  Thank Shellie1994
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed June 23, 2011

Beautiful area and lake. Stayed in the H loop. Camp sites are well maintained. The restroom facilities are clean but are showing age. There are hot showers. The one big problem for me was a lot of garbage, mostly bottles on shore that was washed up by high water. No signs of any attempts to clean it up by the park's private contractor that runs the place. Same for all the trails, none are maintained and many are made un-passable by fallen trees. To really enjoy the lake one must bring a boat. Cell phones are still in range.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
7  Thank Alientech
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed September 27, 2009

I have been camping at Zilpo on a regular basis for 4 years now and I have found that it is safe and secure. Bathhouses in H are the best of all loops. I have never had an issue with ticks, nor critters like snakes when coming here. I always enjoy the deer and other wildlife that is usually present.

The beach is rather rocky and would be better if they would have nothing but sand, but it is tolerable as the water has always been clean and the swimming area is roped off.

Like others have stated, make sure you don't forget things as the nearest town is 20 miles away down a curvy road, but being away from towns, etc. is the reason I like coming here. Nobody will bother you...

I plan on being a regular every year. Great place to come and enjoy rest, relaxation, and a very friendly staff that will take care of you during your stay...

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled with family
    • Location
11  Thank Camper4years
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed July 7, 2009

The Site

I stayed in site # 167 (a double campsite) in Loop C of Zilpo Campground from July 2nd – 5th, 2009. I’m assuming there were more people there than usual because of the 4th of July Holiday. This site is partial sunlight, so there is always somewhere on the site that is shaded. It was a large site surrounded by dense trees on 2 sides. The back of the site had sparse trees and a great view of Cave Run Lake. It was actually pretty private. Please see the photos for a better idea. You are allowed up to 12 people, 4 tents and 4 cars at this site (we had 6 people, 3 tents and 2 cars). I think 12 people and 4 cars would have been a bit crowded. The site itself has a driveway and a large area of gravel. There was one fire ring and 2 large picnic tables. The bathrooms were a 5 minute walk away, the shower was a few minute longer walk. The water spout was right next to the camp site. There is no electricity hookup on the tent sites. Firewood and ice is available for purchase at the campgrounds.


The Weather

It was an average of 80 while we were there. It was hot enough during the day to swim and sit on the beach, cold enough for a blanket or two at night. It started raining on Saturday at 4pm and never stopped. We had to pack up in the rain the next morning. It rained pretty hard but we had no rain in the tent and the rain did not puddle underneath (because of all the gravel rocks).

Bathrooms/Showers

The bathrooms that we used were in Loop C and the bathhouse was in Loop A. The bathrooms were clean and maintained (for a campground anyway). There is no soap so make sure to bring plenty of anti-bacterial soap or hand sanitizer. Be careful if the floor is wet or it is raining, the floors are VERY slippery. Make sure there is toilet paper in the stall before you sit. There were 3 showers in the female bathhouse and 4 in the men’s. There is good water pressure before 8 am. Between 8 and 12 the pressure is so low it drips down the wall and is useless. The showers were ok, but I sprayed down the stall with Lysol just in case.

The Beach

There is a large beach on the lake that you can either walk (if your site is close) or drive to. It was about a 3 minute drive from Loop C. The beach itself is a mixture of sand and rocks (mostly rocks), however the rocks are not really sharp and it is comfortable if you lay on a towel. The entire beach is COVERED in goose turds. You have to kick away multiple turds before you can lay your towel down. Once you start to walk out into the water though the sand stops and there are only large very sharp rocks. It is really painful and impossible to walk out without water shoes or flip flops on. The water is very clean and very gradually gets deeper. All of the water in front of the beach is roped off, so kids won’t go “too far”, however it is well over your head before you reach the ropes. There is a camp store at the beach where you can buy essential items, fun noodles and snowcones.

The Drive

Don’t forget anything!
Zilpo is about 20 miles from the entrance of the Daniel Boone National Forest in Salt Lick. Because of the speed and windy road, this 20 mile drive will take at least an hour. Once you drive an hour to get back to the front entrance, you still have a good drive ahead of you to get to a store. The nearest chain grocery store or Walmart is another 20 miles outside of the Forest. All 6 of us lost cell reception about 15 minutes before we even reached the Forest’s entrance. If you plan on calling or texting family and friends that you arrived ok, then you should do so before even arriving in Salt Lick.

The Lake “Path”

Our site was a Lakeview site (see photograph). This meant, that if you carefully walked down a small rocky hill, and then walked another 1/4 of a mile through a path (not really a path, the grass was just trampled on a bit in places because of the foot traffic) through tall grass, you would arrive at the lake. You couldn’t really swim here because it was so muddy, and there was no sand for a beach. It was nice to sit down there, but really it was just a small clearing along the shore of a huge lake where there happened to be no trees. If you had our camp site, be prepared for EVERYONE in the entire campgrounds to walk to your site and ask where the “path” to the lake was. Because it was on top of a hill and there were trees all around, you could not get to this “path” without directly walking through our campsite. It wasn’t a big deal at first, but over the course of 3 days, we had more than 35 people walk through our campsite to get to the path. Of course, all of those people had to walk back through campsite on our way back. There is an actual beach in Zilpo and you did not have to walk through our campsite to get to it.


The Bugs

We stayed for 4 days and I did not get a single bug bite. I only used bugspray once. I did not see one mosquito. There were a few Daddy Longlegs, ants, and lightening bugs but that that was about it. I found a tiny tiny tick on my pant leg after we were there for about 10 minutes, but didn’t see another one the entire stay. One guy we went with found 2 crawling around on his chest on our last day, but he had been hiking without a shirt on. We found one additional tick on our gear once we arrived home.

The Animals

I did not see one snake or raccoon during out stay. I did however see 4 deer, 2 fox, multiple wild turkey’s, various birds, 3 cats, and 1 hound dog.

The Picnic Tables

These were huge, incredibly sturdy and surprisingly clean and in good shape. We had 2 because of our double site. You could easily fit at least 10 people at one table.

Tater Knob Tower

This is a lookout/fire tower. It is a very hard, steep hike up multiple sets of stairs and rocks. The view is very worth it once you get there. Apparently vandals set the tower on fire and it half torn down at the moment, but there is still a pretty spectacular view from the ground way up there.

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled as a couple
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13  Thank IansGirl333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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