Archaeologists have found evidence of exploration dating back 4,000 years when torches of cane were used to light the way. Mammoth Cave does not get its name from hairy prehistoric mammals, though, but rather from the vast size of its tunnels. It has been a tourist attraction since the 1700s when slaves served as tour guides, but only became a national park in 1941.
Bottomless Pit and Fat Man’s Misery on the Historic Tour, Frozen Niagara flowstone formation on the Domes and Dripstones Tour, Wild Caving Tour
There are many great options to explore the cave, including the Violet City Lantern Tour, but we most enjoyed the Wild Caving Tour. Make an advanced reservation online to secure your spot (and your blue jumpsuit to keep the mud off your clothes).
There are nearly 80 miles of hiking trails in the park, but start by hiking downhill past the Natural Entrance of Mammoth Cave to the River Styx Spring, a short walk from the visitor center.
Keep your eye out for 2-inch long cave crickets on the Domes and Dripstones Tour. Unfortunately, no cameras are allowed on the Wild Caving Tour.
The park receives the majority of its half-million annual visitors in the summer, making December a great time to visit the park (though not all tours are offered).
No entrance fee, but cave tours have varying prices.
All roads paved
A large, shaded campground is located near the visitor center, as well as a smaller one at Houchin’s Ferry (not suitable for trailers or RVs).
Explore More – Mammoth Cave is the longest cave system in the entire world; how many miles of cave have been explored and mapped?