Exploring Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky

Camping, hiking, canoeing, and so many more adventures are available in the Mammoth Cave area in Kentucky. Explore the many labyrinths of Mammoth Cave on one of the many tours available or enjoy the splendor of Mammoth Cave National Park. It is a vacation that offers fresh air and unrivaled experiences of nature’s many wonders.

Established in 1941, Mammoth Cave National Park protects the underground cave system, the Green and Nolin River areas, and a part of south central Kentucky. The park’s most important goal is to balance the area’s ecosystems and the public’s enjoyment of viewing and learning about them.

Mammoth Cave has been available for public tours since 1816. Mammoth Cave is the longest system of caves known to be in existence in the world. Some believe Mammoth Cave was named after wooly mammoth fossils being found in the cave, but this simply isn’t true. The term “Mammoth” refers to the length and size of the cave. The Mammoth Cave is actually named the Mammoth-Flint Ridge Cave System due to the ridge the cave was formed under.

Tours through Mammoth Cave are provided by the National Park Service. The public can explore and experience the cave’s amazing chambers and intricate labyrinths. The cave is known to have more than 367 miles of passageways and more are being added all the time. All of the tours can be strenuous, so do the research before picking one. It is advisable to check with park personnel to find the right tour. Proper footwear is crucial to an enjoyable experience and for safety reasons.

A couple of easy tours of Mammoth Cave are available. One easier tour is The Great Onyx Tour, about 2 ¼ hours in duration, which lets visitors explore the cave with lighting provided only by their lanterns. The Frozen Niagara Tour is only a ¼ mile hike into the cave, and offers views of the most photographed area in the cave.

There are several moderate tours such as the Broadway, Discovery, Gothic Avenue, Historic and the New Entrance tours. The Historic Tour lasts for 2 hours, and it is a 2 mile hike into Mammoth Cave. It begins at the Historic Entrance. The tour guides tell stories about the role the cave played in the War of 1812. This tour can be strenuous due to stairs and the length of the hike.

The Introduction to Caving Tour is a lot more intense, lasting 3 ½ hours, but it is extremely fascinating. There will be some hand and knee crawling and squeezing through small spaces while exploring areas not on the normal tours. This tour is also not for those with a fear of heights or that experience claustrophobia.

These are only a few of the extraordinary tours of Mammoth Cave. Tours range from one hour to as long as six hours. One to fit the desired activity level is sure to be available.

Camping is a truly enjoyable outdoor experience at Mammoth Cave National Park. The park has camping at three developed campgrounds. In the backcountry and alongside the green and Nolin Rivers, there are more than a dozen sites.

Mammoth Cave National Park has more than seventy miles of trail through the backcountry for riding, hiking, bicycling, and exploring. Many trails in the front country lead to favorite areas such as Turnhole Bend, Cedar Sink, and the Sand Cave. There are even sixty miles of trails for horseback riding located north of the Green River. Maps for the park are available at the park’s Visitor Center.

The Green and Nolin Rivers run through the Mammoth Cave National Park. Many visitors enjoy fishing for an array of game fish. Canoeing and boating are also popular choices. It is not advisable to swim in the river due to safety reasons. The rivers have strong currents and submerged dangers. The Green River runs at an average speed of about five miles per hour, and the Nolin River’s current is only slightly slower.

The Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky offers rivers, hills, forests, and a spectacular cave. Discover the wonders of Kentucky while enjoying the peaceful and scenic beauty of this amazing national park.