Discover Mammoth Cave National Park

Located in south-central Kentucky, Mammoth Cave National Park stands as a testament to the Earth’s mysterious depths, boasting the world’s longest known cave system, with over 400 miles of explored passages. This vast network of caverns, tunnels, and chambers enthralls visitors with its sheer scale and mesmerizing formations, offering a journey into the heart of the Earth’s ancient history.

Beyond its underground marvels, Mammoth Cave National Park encompasses diverse ecosystems, from lush forests teeming with wildlife to rolling hills and winding rivers. It serves as a sanctuary for numerous species, including the endangered Indiana bat and the elusive cave salamander. Above ground, visitors can explore over 70 miles of scenic hiking trails, revealing breathtaking vistas and captivating geological features.

Steeped in rich cultural heritage, Mammoth Cave has been a site of human exploration for thousands of years, with evidence of Native American inhabitation dating back to prehistoric times. Over the centuries, this natural wonder has captivated explorers, scientists, and adventurers alike, leaving behind a legacy of discovery and wonder.


Top 3 Facts About Mammoth Cave National Park


World’s Longest Cave System

Mammoth Cave National Park boasts the world’s longest known cave system, with over 400 miles of explored passageways and chambers. Despite extensive exploration, new passages are still being discovered, hinting at the immense depth and complexity of this underground labyrinth.


Rich Cultural History

The cave has a fascinating human history dating back thousands of years. Evidence of Native American presence in the cave dates back to the Paleo-Indian period, with artifacts and drawings found throughout. In the 19th century, Mammoth Cave became a popular tourist attraction, drawing visitors from around the world.


Unique Geological Formations

Within Mammoth Cave, visitors can marvel at a diverse array of stunning geological formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, gypsum flowers, and cave pearls. These formations are the result of millions of years of slow deposition and erosion, creating otherworldly landscapes underground.

Camping and transportation in Mammoth Cave National Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Mammoth Cave National Park

Getting to Mammoth Cave National Park is relatively straightforward, with several transportation options available:

  • By Car: Most visitors travel to Mammoth Cave National Park by car. The park is located in south-central Kentucky, accessible via Interstate 65. If you’re traveling from the north, take Exit 53 onto KY-70 and follow the signs to the park’s visitor center. From the south, take Exit 48 onto KY-255 and follow the signs.
  • By Air: The nearest major airports to Mammoth Cave National Park are Louisville International Airport (SDF) and Nashville International Airport (BNA). Both airports are approximately 1.5 to 2 hours away by car. From the airport, visitors can rent a car or arrange for other transportation to the park.
  • Public Transportation: While there is no direct public transportation to the park, some tour companies offer shuttle services from nearby cities or transportation hubs. Visitors can check with local tour operators or transportation companies for availability and schedules.
  • RV or Camper: For those traveling with recreational vehicles or campers, Mammoth Cave National Park offers several campgrounds with RV hookups. Visitors should follow the directions provided by the park service and check for any restrictions or road conditions before traveling.

Places to Stay Near Mammoth Cave National Park

There are several lodging options available near Mammoth Cave National Park to suit various preferences and budgets:

  • Campgrounds: Mammoth Cave National Park offers several campgrounds for those who prefer a rustic outdoor experience. Options include the Mammoth Cave Campground, Maple Springs Group Campground, and Houchin Ferry Campground. These campgrounds provide tent and RV sites, with amenities such as restrooms, picnic tables, and fire rings.
  • Lodges and Cabins: The park also features lodge accommodations and rustic cabins for those seeking a more comfortable stay. The Mammoth Cave Hotel, located within the park, offers guest rooms and cottages with modern amenities. Additionally, nearby private cabins and vacation rentals provide cozy retreats for families and small groups.
  • Hotels and Motels: Several hotels and motels are located within a short drive of Mammoth Cave National Park, offering a range of amenities and price points. These accommodations can be found in nearby towns such as Cave City, Glasgow, and Bowling Green. Visitors can choose from well-known chain hotels, locally owned motels, and boutique accommodations.
  • Camping and RV Parks: In addition to the campgrounds within the national park, there are several private campgrounds and RV parks located nearby. These facilities offer a range of amenities, including full hookups, showers, laundry facilities, and recreational activities. Whether you’re traveling in a tent, RV, or camper, there are plenty of options for camping enthusiasts near Mammoth Cave National Park.
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Best Time to Go to Mammoth Cave National Park



Summer is a popular time to visit Mammoth Cave National Park, offering long, sunny days perfect for outdoor adventures. From June through August, the park comes alive with activity as visitors flock to enjoy the warm temperatures and abundant sunshine. This season is ideal for exploring the park’s extensive trail system, with opportunities for hiking, camping, and picnicking amidst lush greenery.

Summer also provides the chance to cool off with refreshing dips in the park’s rivers and streams or take underground cave tours to escape the heat. While summer brings larger crowds to the park, the abundance of activities and longer daylight hours make it an exciting and rewarding time to visit.



Winter unveils a different kind of beauty at Mammoth Cave National Park, with serene landscapes and quieter trails awaiting those who brave the colder temperatures. From December through February, the park takes on a peaceful atmosphere, offering a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

While some outdoor activities may be limited due to weather conditions, winter provides unique opportunities for birdwatching, wildlife spotting, and photography. Inside the caves, the constant temperature offers a comfortable environment for exploring the underground wonders without the summer crowds. Additionally, winter visitors can enjoy special seasonal events and programs offered by the park, providing a memorable experience amidst the serene winter scenery.



Spring is a delightful time to visit Mammoth Cave National Park, as the park bursts to life with vibrant colors and renewed energy. From March through May, the weather begins to warm up, and the landscape awakens with blooming wildflowers and budding trees. This season offers comfortable temperatures for hiking and exploring both the cave systems and the surface trails. Visitors can witness the park’s diverse wildlife, including migratory birds returning to their nesting grounds.

Spring also brings the opportunity to experience thrilling adventures such as guided cave tours and outdoor recreational activities in the crisp, refreshing air.

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Must-See Attractions

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Sand Cave

Explore Sand Cave, a large sandstone arch and cave formation in the park. This historic site was once used as a shelter by early settlers and offers an intriguing glimpse into the area’s human history.

Green River

Experience the scenic beauty of the Green River, which runs through the park. Enjoy canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and wildlife watching along the riverbanks.

Lost River Cave

Discover Lost River Cave, an underground river cave system near the national park. Take a guided boat tour through the cave’s passages, learn about its geological formations and history, and explore the surrounding nature trails and butterfly habitat.

Helpful Tips: Making the Most of Your Adventure to Mammoth Cave National Park

Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

Research the park’s attractions, tours, and facilities before your visit. Make reservations for cave tours, especially during peak seasons, as they can fill up quickly.

Pack Appropriately

Dress Appropriately

Wear comfortable clothing and sturdy, closed-toe shoes suitable for walking and climbing uneven surfaces in the caves. The cave temperature remains around 54°F (12°C) year-round, so bring layers to stay warm.

Respect Wildlife

Respect Wildlife

Observe wildlife from a distance and avoid feeding or approaching animals. Remember that you are a guest in their habitat and should minimize your impact on their behavior and environment.

Stay Informed

Check for Updates

Before your visit, check the park’s website or contact park staff for updates on trail conditions, tour availability, and any alerts or closures that may affect your plans.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Mammoth Cave National Park

Cave tours vary in length and difficulty, ranging from one to six hours. The Historic Tour, one of the most popular tours, lasts approximately two hours and covers about two miles.

Reservations are strongly recommended, especially during peak seasons, holidays, and weekends. While some tours may have walk-in availability, it’s best to book in advance to secure your spot.

Yes, Mammoth Cave National Park offers a variety of hiking trails ranging from easy to strenuous. Visitors can explore scenic trails through forests, along riverbanks, and past historic sites.

Yes, camping is permitted at designated campgrounds within the park. Options include tent camping and RV camping with facilities such as restrooms, showers, and picnic areas available.

No, self-guided exploration of the caves is not permitted for safety reasons. All cave tours are guided by trained rangers to ensure visitor safety and protect the fragile cave environment.

Yes, Mammoth Cave National Park offers accessible tours for visitors with mobility impairments. These tours are designed to accommodate wheelchairs and provide an opportunity to experience the caves’ wonders.

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