Discussion from McGrain and Currens (1978)

Bath County is located in northeastern Kentucky where the Outer Bluegrass Region meets the foothills of the Cumberland Escarpment. For the most part, the topography is hilly to mountainous. However, there are some flat areas, about 900 feet above sea level, in the vicinity of Slate Creek at the western boundary of the county. Other flat areas may be found along parts of Licking River Valley at the eastern edge of the county.

The northern and northwestern parts of the county are a moderately to deeply dissected upland area typical of the Outer Bluegrass (Eden Shale) Region. Maximum elevations are approximately 1,000 feet. Valleys are commonly 150 to 300 feet below the ridgetops.

Slate Creek and some of its tributaries in the central part of the county appear to occupy valleys too wide for the size of the streams. These seemingly unusual widths reflect the relatively soft rocks through which they have carved their valleys. The deeply entrenched Licking River forms the eastern boundary of the county and, with its tributaries, drains most of the county. Some small oxbow lakes are present along the valley in the southeastern part of the county. The lowest elevation is 590 feet, a point on Licking River in the northern tip of the county.

The southern part of the county is hilly to mountainous. The highest elevations are found here. Tater Knob, 6 miles southeast of Salt Lick in Daniel Boone National Forest, is the highest point at 1,388 feet. Other mountain peaks in the Bath County portion of Daniel Boone National Forest include South Knob of Big Mountain at 1,384 feet, Carrington Rock at 1,340 feet, and Mount Olympus at 1,201 feet, all about 4 1/2 to 5 miles south and southeast of Olympia. The maximum local relief in the mountainous part of the county is greater than 600 feet. Some of the hills in this area are flat-topped because of resistant caps of harder rocks.

The elevation of Owingsville, the county seat, is 1,000 feet. Elevations of other communities are Midland, 688 feet; Olympia, 762 feet; Preston, 755 feet; Salt Lick, 669 feet; and Sharpsburg, 1,014 feet.

Cave Run Lake, a flood-control facility, impounds waters of the Licking River. Normal pool level is 730 feet, and the maximum flood pool (spillway elevation) is 765 feet.

The 7.5-minute topographic quadrangle maps that cover the county are shown, by name and by index code (Kentucky Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet) on the index map.

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