Mammoth Cave National Park
1 Mammoth Cave Parkway
P.O. Box 7
Mammoth Cave, KY 42259
Visitor Information Line
WELCOME to Mammoth
Mammoth Cave National Park preserves
the cave system and a part of the Green River valley and hilly
country of south central Kentucky. This is the world's longest cave
system, with more than 365 miles explored. Early guide Stephen
Bishop called the cave a "grand, gloomy and peculiar
place," but its vast chambers and complex labyrinths have
earned its name: Mammoth.
Your visit to Mammoth Cave National
Park can include cave tours, surface hikes, canoeing on the Green
River, picnicking, horseback riding, bicycling, camping and more.
These pages provide everything you need to begin your journey of
exploration in and around the world's longest known cave.
Places To Go
Many visitors to Mammoth Cave
National Park say, "We just want to see the Cave." But
that's only half the story. The park's 52,800 acres feature dozens
of unique places to go, whether to the gloomy underworld, the cool
and languid river, or the shadow-dappled rolling hills. The
short-list below will get you started.
There's a place where the
earth opens a window into its inner secrets.
"turnhole", once used by riverboat pilots to turn around
in the narrow river.
Rotunda Pass through the Narrows and see why the Cave became
known as Mammoth.
Green River Bluffs Overlook The Green River valley opens
before you from this bird's-perch view.
Engine No. 4 Workhorse of the old Mammoth Cave railroad.
room. Two acres. Only by lantern-light.
The Big Woods
glimpse of the uncut forest of Old Kentucky.
Cave Island Another world between the banks of Green
Sloan's Crossing Pond Let the frogs serenade you at this
uncommon watering hole.
Good Springs Church A silent sanctuary that echoes memories of a
River Styx Spring The stygian waters of Mammoth Cave surface
Sand Cave The storied "lonely sandstone cave" where
Floyd Collins met his fate.
Cathedral Domes Towering beauties reward the hardy
Frozen Niagara Mammoth's most famous formation.
Places to Picnic
- Dennison Ferry
- Houchins Ferry
The first human to enter Mammoth Cave
passed under its imposing arch about 4,000 years ago. His reason for
probing the shadows? The same as ours today. Curiosity led the way
to discoveries of minerals, and primitive miners plumbed the rocky
halls for nearly 2,000 years before the cave again fell quiet. It
would not again echo the sound of human feet clattering the floor
stones until the very end of the 18th century.
Once European settlers discovered
Mammoth Cave, stories both inspiring and strange began to accumulate
about their adventures underground. The cave's stories spoke of
curiosity, cures, captivity and capitalism; excitement, exploration
And the story keeps on going. From
the torch-bearing Indian to yesterday's park visitor, the fabric of
the story-cloth of Mammoth Cave continues to be woven. Click the
links on this page to discover the people, places, stories and
objects that illuminate this special place.
Nature & Science
Mammoth Cave National Park was
established in 1941 to protect the unparalleled underground
labyrinth of caves, the rolling hilly country above, and the Green
River valley. Since then, ongoing study and exploration have shown
the park to be far more complex than ever imagined, hosting a broad
diversity of species living in specialized and interconnected
ecosystems. The park's challenge is to balance these remarkable and
sometimes fragile living networks with the public's enjoyment of
them. The key to that balance is knowledge, and the park's new
environmental monitoring programs will provide that understanding.