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Mammoth Cave National Park

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The Wonder

Below ground, the world's largest known cave system. Above ground, more than 50,000 acres of forested parkland and rivers.

The Adventures

Cave tours, caving, camping, hiking, horseback riding, boating, biking, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, fishing

One for the Bucket List

Dare to venture on the Wild Cave Tour. Ready for slithering through openings possibly as thin as 9 inches? Cure you're claustrophobia and fear of the dark all at once. Although the park offers more than a dozen tours for all ages and degrees of monster-under-my-bed skittishness, the Wild Cave Tour is for the most adventurous -- and is considered very difficult.

You'll have to gear up in helmets, boots, headlamps and kneepads to climb in passageways seen on no other tours. The six-hour adventure winds through Cleaveland's Cabinet, Thorpe's Pit and Cathedral Domes, among other amazing features, and ensures plenty of twists, crouching, crawling and inevitable jaw-dropping. Reserving the tour is highly recommended, as well as speaking with a park representative beforehand to go over safety restrictions.

Seasons and Hours

The park's visitor center is open year round, but the park is closed on Christmas Day. Daily schedules vary for the park's 10+ cave tours. Reservations are recommended for the Wild Cave Tour, Introduction to Caving and Trog, especially during peak summer months. More info about tour schedules.

Time Zone Note: Mammoth falls just west of the time zone line that splits Kentucky. The park is in the Central Time Zone, not the Eastern Time Zone -- many visitors driving in from the east forget this.

Getting There

Several roads lead into the park, from all directions. Take 70/255 from either east or west to merge onto the South Entrance Road that leads to the visitor center. Two ferries operate to transport vehicles across the Green River, which bisects the park. To reach Mammoth Cave and the visitor center, you only need to cross via the Green River Ferry if you are driving into the park from the north entrance on 1352. More info on the ferries.

Average Temps (ºF) High/Low

Temps below are outside. Cave temps range form mid-50s to low 60s year-round.

January - 44/24
April - 71/43
July - 89/65
October - 71/45

Approximate Distance From...

Louisville, KY - 90 miles
Nashville, TN - 90 miles
Cincinnati - 180 miles
Indianapolis, IN - 200 miles
Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 270 miles
St. Louis, MO - 300 miles

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Explore the Bewilderness

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Let Your Adventure Begin

Fill Your Bucket List With Bewilderness

America the beautiful. You got that right. From the skytops of the world's tallest trees to the underwater color-play of tropical reefs, the National Park Service (NPS) oversees hundreds of parks and areas to conserve many of our country's most precious natural wonders and living treasures.

Otherworldly landscapes. Thriving wildlife. Hidden, wicked-cool marvels of time and nature. Humbling, sweeping views that are not just breathtaking but truly breath-giving, so inspiring you might find them. Whether you're a mobile-mad workaholic, family trooper or just a mid-life meditator, we hope you have time to enjoy it all.

Affordable Adventure

Fewer than half of the national parks charge entrance fees, which usually range from $5 to $25 (often just per vehicle). Children 16 and under are always admitted for free. Daily fees for camping usually range between $10 and $20 per party.

The NPS offers annual America the Beautiful Passes that cover entrance fees at any national park.

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