The state bought Tygarts State Forest in Carter County in 1957. In 2022, US Fish and Wildlife Service's Imperiled Bat Conservation Fund and Kentucky Natural Lands Trust provided support and funding to the division to acquire an additional 238 acres adjoining the original boundary. It is presently 1,184 acres in size and adjoins Carter Caves State Resort Park.
The forest is open for public recreation, including hiking, wildlife viewing and horseback riding. However, off-road vehicles, including ATVs and camping is prohibited. Public campsites are available at the state park. Food and lodging are available at the park and in the cities of Olive Hill and Grayson.
Master logger training is conducted in the forest several times a year. There is a timber harvesting best management practices trail leading into the forest.
Directions: From Interstate 64 east take Exit 64 and travel north following the signs to Carter Caves State Resort Park.