What a country chooses to save is what a country chooses to say about itself.Mollie Beattie
About the Park
Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky has 420 miles of surveyed underground passageways make it the longest known cave system in the world. The park comprises an extensive system of limestone caverns in west-central Kentucky. Also, it has a comprehensive above-ground trail system in the hardwood forest, where fishing, hiking, and canoeing are popular activities.
Check out the view of the park!
Live it up!
Best Things to do in the Park
- Travel back in time on the Historic Tour of the cave and learn how people have used this underground world
- See the domes and frozen waterfalls on the Frozen Niagara Tour. This was our favorite
- Take the historic Green River Ferry to cross the Green River in the park. It has been operating since 1934
- Enjoy the above portion of the park by hiking the Heritage Trail
- Canoeing on the Green and Nolin rivers
We have visited Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky several times with our children since we lived a couple of hours away in southern Indiana. Walking through the massive underground rooms and learning the history of this area never gets old!
Size of Park
Mammoth Cave is the world’s longest recorded cave system, at over 400 miles
Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky and is known for having the world’s longest cave system, with more than 400 miles of passageways.
Mammoth Cave is not the only thing special about this national park, as the region has a rich history. In addition, the park has been given the title of International Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site because of animal and plant life diversity.
Besides the massive cave system, the park also protects the rolling hills of south central Kentucky and a part of the Green River Valley. Tourists can also participate in water activities, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, water skiing, boating, and swimming.
Best hiking trails
Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky is an excellent place for those who love spending time outdoors and under the ground in the cave system.
This tour takes place underground and is the best trail for seeing many types of formations in the cave. It’s an easy hike.
Heritage Loop Trail
Heritage Loop is less than a mile long. So naturally, it is the first choice for families visiting the park. It can take around 20 minutes to complete this loop. This trail passes through woods and leads to an old cemetery in the park. This trail is a popular place for a hike or run.
River Styx Spring Trail
This trail is short and easy. Many people prefer this trail for a day hike, leading to a cave and an underground spring. The trailhead of the River Styx trail is located on the right side of the Mammoth Cave entrance. If you want to make the hike a little longer, you can extend it by continuing to the Echo River Trail, which will make your entire walk almost 3.5 miles long.
Cedar Sink Trail
The Cedar Sink Trail is less than 2 miles long and leads you to an underground river system in the park. You will witness a beautiful forest, a sinkhole, and big cliffs along the hike. Many consider it one of the most beautiful hikes in the park. This is also a popular trail for birding. However, you can still enjoy solitude here when there are few hikers.
Big Hollow North and South Loops
This 11-mile-long trail has a moderate difficulty level, as trekking for almost 4 hours is challenging. We suggest taking this trail in the fall to enjoy the changing leaves.
Mammoth Cave Railroad
Mammoth Cave Railroad is a popular biking trail because of its long distance. The Mammoth Cave Railroad was opened in the late 1800s and closed in 1931. Today, a significant portion of the path has been transformed into this 9-mile-long hiking trail. While on the path, hikers/cyclists can also stop at interpretive waysides, historic sites, and scenic overlooks.
Camping in the Park
Mammoth Cave National Park has three campgrounds where you will find both sunny and shaded campsites. There are also 13 designated riverside camping options or backcountry campsites in the park where campers can find solitude in the majestic woodlands.
The three developed camping grounds in the park include Maple Springs Campground, Houchin Ferry Campground, and Mammoth Cave Campground. Of all three, Mammoth Cave Campground is the most popular among campers.
Mammoth Cave Campground
If you want to have an authentic Kentucky camping experience with amenities, this is where you should book a camping site! There are 111 campsites on the campground, which include tent or RV sites, tent-only sites, and group sites. The campground has laundry, a dump station, seasonal portable water, and recycling bins. Seasonal hot showers and flush toilets are also available.
Maple Springs Campground
Maple Springs Campground is known for its secluded location and is more suitable for those who want a quiet camping experience. The campground has fewer amenities than Mammoth Cave Campground. However, the sites include fire rings, picnic tables, and electric and water hookups for RVs.
Houchin Ferry Campground
Located next to the Green River, Houchin Ferry Campground is open year-round. This campground offers visitors a more straightforward camping experience with 12 tent-only campsites that offer drive-up access. In addition, the campground has portable toilets that are available year-round. Other than that, the campsites do not provide any amenities.
Camping options near the park
Many campers with RVs may prefer something other than the campgrounds in the park due to the lack of electric hookups. However, you can always find a suitable campsite near the park. One of these options is the Horse Cave KOA which is 8 minutes away from Mammoth Cave National Park. Another excellent option is the Mammoth Cave Jellystone, which is just minutes from the park’s entrance.
Mammoth Cave is so large that you will be mesmerized by its mystique and beauty. But, according to experts, there are still 600 miles of passageways that still need to be explored!
The cave’s surface has water dripping from the caprock made of sandstone. One of the most well-known tunnels in the cave is the “Fat Man’s Misery,” which is a must-visit if you are exploring the cavern!
Doyel Valley Overlook
Doyel Valley Overlook is an observation point in Mammoth Cave National Park. From this spot, you will get a rare view of the valleys and rolling hills of the national park. Before the park’s creation, this area was home to the Doyel family. Sand Cave is located near this overlook.
Turnhole Bend Overlook
This spot provides a clear view of the northern part of the park, which is accessible through the Green River Ferry. Depending on the season, you can also look at the Turnhole Bend Spring. You can stand here in peace while gazing upon the Green River as it flows through the Turnhole Bend.
This is a 25-mile-long river that flows through the park. Alongside the Green River, you will find springs and streamside caves. The river also has an abundance of fish, including black bass, sunfish, and catfish, which is why it is a popular fishing spot. In addition, people also come here for canoeing and swimming.
As the name implies, this viewpoint’s popularity has been defined by its gorgeous sunsets. As the day ends, photographs from all parts of the park flock here to capture the sun setting over the forested hills. At this point, you will also be able to see the deep river valley in a new light! The viewpoint is accessible through the Heritage Trail, which is only 0.5 miles of hiking.
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