Camp Blanton a Harlan County destination gem

Published 1:57 pm Friday, January 20, 2023

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Many in Harlan County remember Camp Blanton from their days as a Boy Scout since the camp has served as a location for many of that organization’s activities for decades. However, these days the camp is more a location for local events and a hidden destination to spend a day or two surrounded by the woods of Blanton Forest and get away from the rigors of daily life.

Jeff Lucas, who, along with his wife Scarlett, performs the duties of caretaker at Camp Blanton, talked about some of the location’s attractions available to the general public.

“We’ve got three cabins to rent,” Lucas said. “We’ve got a 60,000-gallon swimming pool to rent. We’ve got a dining hall that seats over 100 with a full professional kitchen that we rent out.”

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Lucas pointed out the entire camp is available for rent as a whole.

“We have a lot of weddings up here,” Lucas said. “There have been a lot of birthday parties, a lot of family reunions; we’ve had just about everything people get together for.”

The camp features many activities of the outdoor variety.

“We’ve got two firepits,” Lucas said. “We’ve got fishing, you can fish in our pond, and you don’t have to have a fishing license for that. We’ve got several canoes; we’ve got four johnboats. Anybody that comes up here can use the boats as long as they wear a life jacket, and we’ve got plenty of lifejackets to provide for everybody.”

One of the most popular activities at the camp is hiking, with the surrounding forest providing trails to some of the best views in the area.

“There’s a hiking trail that goes up to Knobby Rock,” Lucas said. “You can walk all over it; it kind of looks like the moon’s surface; it’s got pits all in it. You can actually look down on the airport from up there.”

According to Lucas, the hike to Knobby Rock takes about an hour. Those looking for a longer excursion can continue to the Sand Cave, an approximately 30 minutes’ hike past Knobby Rock.

The hiking trail is easy enough for most people wishing to use it.

“They’ve done a lot of work on that trail,” Lucas said. “They’ve made some bridges over the creeks. The forestry department did a lot of work this past fall to make it so if somebody was up there and fell or passed out, they can get up there to them easily.”

Lucas noted the camp’s lake and the first cabin were constructed in the 1930s.

“The cabin I live in was built in 1932,” Lucas said. “It’s the original cabin.”

For more information on the facility and rental options available at Camp Blanton, call 423-300-6243 or go to