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Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park

Nearly 4,000 years ago, man walked along the Kentucky hills and discoved a grand opening in the earth.  Yes, this was the great entrance to Mammoth Cave, the longest, at 390 miles, explored cave in the United States.  Perhaps this is where Geico got those cave man commercial ideas, perhaps not, but it is one of those amazing natural wonders that has been known about since the dawn of man, or as close as Kentucky gets to that dawn.  Take your place amongst the generation after generation of cave dwellers, fur traders, pioneers, and now tourists to take at least the Mammoth Cave  Passage Tour, which will introduce you to what's around the next corner of the cave, then come back for more detailed spelunker experiences, some lasting up to six and one half hours and requiring you to crawl.

And there's more here in the Kentucky hills than just the cave.  There's 52,000 acres of verdant hillsides to hike in, camp in, ride in, fish in, and have fun in.  Plus there's history around every bend.  That's what you get when history begins at the dawn of cave man, right, runs through Indian tribes, those European pioneers, and now the modern day camper and tourist?

Photos courtesy of the National Park Service.


Things You Should Not Miss

1. Take at least one cave tour.  Whether you only have the time to take the 1.5 hour Mammoth Cave Passage Tour, or want to dive deep into the reaches of the cave system with something more akin to the crawl on your knees, climb on the rocks, Wild Cave Tour.  That's 6-6.5 hours and is really for only the most experienced cave explorer, but it's an option you have here, too.

2.  Hike a trail.  Sometimes it's good to stay above ground and there's plenty of trails all around this park from the North Side of the river to the South Side, as well as all around the Visitor Center area.

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What is There Now

Mammoth Cave National Park Visitor Center
Start your tour here and learn about the trails, cave tours, and history of the area.  Great place to orient yourself to what the 52,000 acres of ground within Mammoth Cave National Park has to offer.

Green River Ferry
Located a couple miles from the Visitor Center and necessary if you want to cross to the other side.  Plus it's kinda  treat to travel over the river in a manner not too different than those pioneers who traveled across rivers in ferries and not long span bridges during those olden times.

Lodging

The Mammoth Cave Hotel sits within the park and includes a variety of rooms inside, plus cottages as well. It has been there since the first cave tours in 1816 and is located very close to the historic entrance.  Unlike many National Park hotels, we find the rates here fairly reasonable, from $59 to $104 depending on type.

Additional lodging can be found in the vicinity of the Cave City, Kentucky area with bed and breakfasts and motels of chain and non-chain variety.  

Camping

There are three campgrounds within the park, plus backcountry campgin, and a variety of others outside it. Those within the park are the ...

Mammoth Cave Campground - 105 sites located 1/4 mile from the Visitor Center.  Reservations are recommended during the summer season.

Houchin Ferry Campground - 12 sites along the Green River 15 miles from the Visitor Center.  First come, first served.

Maple Springs Group Campground - 7 sites; 3 group (up to 24) and 4 equestrian.  It is located 6 miles from the Visitor Center.

Mammoth Cave Links

Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave Hotel
Cave City, Kentucky Motels and Camping


Nearby Attractions

Kentucky Tourism
Cumberland Gap National Historic Park
Abraham Lincoln Birthplace


Mammoth Cave Then and Now

Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave Then

Four thousand years ago, man discovered a Mammoth Cave dwelling deep within the Kentucky hills.  Long before moonshine and likely before the wheel, perhaps discovered while running from a predator, or being one while looking for food.  It becamse a source of refuge, of discovery, even one of mining for two thousand years.  And from 1816 on, it became a wonderful place to tour with that hotel and cave operators taking folks with interest deep into its winding passageways.
 

Mammoth Cave Now

Mammoth Cave National Park
Cave Tours Galore - From easy to hard, from short to long, and all within the 390 miles that man have explored since the dawn of time.  It is the longest cave in the world; longer than the 2nd and 3rd longest combined.

Mammoth Passage Tour -  1.5 hours, 3/4 mile
Frozen Niagara Tour - 1.5 hours, 3/4 mile
Mammoth Cave Discovery Tour - 30-45 minutes, 3/4 mile
Historic Tour - 2 hours, 2 miles.
New Entrance Tour - 2 hours, 3/4 mile.
Grand Avenue Tour - 4.5 hours, 4 miles.
Snowball Tour - 3 hours, 2 miles.
Violet City Lantern Tour - 3 hours, 3 miles.
River Styx Cave Tour - 2.5 hours, 2.5 miles.
Star Chamber Tour - 2.5 hours, 1.5 miles.
Focus on Frozen Niagara Photo Tour - 1.5 hours, 3/4 mile.
Great Onyx Lantern Tour - 2.25 hours, 1 mile.
Gothic Avenue Tour - 2 hours, 1 mile.
Trog (Ages 6-12, adult guardian 1st 30 minutes) - 2.75 hours, 1.5 miles.
Introduction to Caving - 3.5 hours, 2.5 miles.
Wild Cave Tour - 6.5 hours, 5 miles.

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Visitor Statistics

Mammoth Cave National Park
494,541 visitors

#116 Most Visited National Park Unit



Park Size

Mammoth Cave National Park
52,003 acres (Federal)
52,830 acres (Total)

Source: NPS, 2013 Visitor Statistics; Visitor Rank among 369 units.



Mammoth Cave
Entrance Fees

Cave Tours

There are a large variety of cave tours that range in price according to their length.  The price below is for the Mammoth Passage Tour, which is given the most frequently and is the lowest cost tour that most visitors take.

Individual (Over 12)
$5
(Age 6-12) - $3.50
Senior (with Golden Age Passport - $2.50

Fees subject to change without notice.




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Mammoth Cave Weather

Inside

It's a pretty constant temperature inside the cave itself, about 58 degrees.  Wear appropriate clothing.

Summer

This area of Kentucky maintains a moderate climate with warm summers.  Most of the rainfall here falls in the spring, although storms are not unusual during summer months as well.