Mammoth CaveBowling Green, KY 

The longest cave system in the world.

Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park protects the longest known cave system in the world, the Mammoth-Flint Ridge Cave System, with 406 miles of surveyed passageways.  The caves were formed as high elevation springs sink underground after contacting the sandstone and limestone.  The national park was authorized in 1926 and established in 1941 when the minimum amount of land had been acquired.  It was named an International Biosphere Reserve in 1990.  The cave system has both rare bats and the endangered Kentucky cave shrimp.

Busiest Months

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There are a number of short introductory tours to the cave that last as little as twenty minutes up to more advanced and strenuous tours that will take four to six hours. The tours range in price for adults from $11 to $55. A few highlights:

Focus on Frozen Niagara Photo Tour – If your goal is to photograph the caves, this is the tour for you. They allow the use of tripods and flash photography on this tour. They are not allowed on other tours.

Underground Rivers:

The Echo River Tour once took visitors to Mammoth Cave on a boat tour of the underwater rivers. Due to flooding and harm to the acquatice creatures, the tour was discontinued in the early 1990s. Instead, the River Styx Tour is operated (in season) to allow visitors to glimpse the underground rivers.

Caving:

The park has both an Introduction to Caving as well as the more advanced Wild Cave Tour for those that want to learn the rules and techniques of safe caving as well as venture into miles of undeveloped passageways. On the Wild Cave Tour, visitors perform several freehold climbs up or down ten foot cave walls.

Things to Remember:

Mammoth Cave is on Central Time
Flash photography is not permitted on cave tours.
A jacket or sweater and good walking shoes are recommended for the caves as the temperatures can get cool and the walk down and up can be strenuous.
Reservations are strongly recommended and cannot be made the same day of the tour.

What else is there to do?

Over 30 miles of the Green and Nolin Rivers flow through the park. Fishing in the rivers during the spring and summer is popular. Canoeing, kayaking and camping are also available. There are several operators who rent boats, and the Green River makes an easy float trip for a beginner.

There are over 80 miles of trails for hiking and some for horses and bikes. There are six trailheads for access to the backcountry trails, which compose the majority of the parks trails. There are 7.2 miles of trails around the Visitor Center and 10.8 miles of trails in the frontcountry.

Hiking Trails:

Recent Bird Sightings

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Lodging and Camping

A campground with 105 sites is located 1/4 mile from the Visitor Center at the Mammoth Cave Campground. Along the Green River, the Houchin Ferry Campground has another 12 sites accesible by car or boat. Houchin Ferry is located 15 miles from the Visitor Center on the South Bank. Camping is also available on the riverbanks and islands of the Green and Nolin Rivers inside the park. To camp on the floodplain, get the free Backcountry Use permit and make sure to camp at least 1/2 mile from the Green River Ferry, Houchin Ferry and Dennison Ferry Day-Use Area.

Mammoth Cave Hotel offers year-round accommodations in the park near the Visitor Center operated by concessioner Forever Resorts. There are 20 sunset terrace rooms, ten historic cottages and the pet-friendly Woodland Cottages.

Bowling Green, Kentucky is located thirty minutes southwest of the national park. It is the third most populous city in the state with over 60,000 people and has a number of hotel options for visitors that are exploring the area.

Campground Reservations:

Mammoth Cave Campground
109 Sites

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Maple Springs Campground
7 Sites

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Roundtrip Flights to Louisville:

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Savannah

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New York

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Newburgh

09/19/2019

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Tampa

06/06/2019

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Dallas

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Baltimore

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Newport News

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Myrtle Beach

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Denver

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Los Angeles

08/08/2019

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Tickets from $ 255

Washington

09/12/2019

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Tickets from $ 255

Miami

06/27/2019

07/30/2019

Tickets from $ 257

Chicago

05/25/2019

06/08/2019

Tickets from $ 266

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