Mammoth Cave National Park

World Map

United States Of America >> Nashville, Tn >> Attractions >> Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park


The USA's national parks are, each of them, fairly distinctive. Yellowstone is the world's first national park; Redwood has the world's tallest trees; and Kentucky's Mammoth Cave has- you guessed it- the world's longest cave. The centrepiece of the park, Mammoth Cave, measures a whopping 563 km in length and 115 mt in depth (mapped terrain only), and is crisscrossed by several underground rivers, including the Echo River and the appropriately-named River Styx. This magical subterranean world is a realm like nothing you're likely to have seen before: deep shafts; towering, cathedral-like caverns; glittering stalactites suspended from high vaulted ceilings; sparkling white gypsum crystals; stalagmites, limestone formations, columns and pillars sculpted out of limestone by years of running water. Among these caves, and in the underground pools which dot the area, live an amazing range of animals- up to 200 species, from mussels and blind fish to cave shrimp, bats, crickets and flatworms. This is a world with a weird and wonderful beauty, still not completely charted, and offering discoveries by the dozen. But Mammoth Cave is not just karst topography; above the ground too is a wealth of amazing natural beauty. The Green and Nolin rivers run through this expanse, where maple, oak and beech form vast stretches of dense forest, inhabited by white-tailed deer, raccoon, fox, woodchuck, and birds such as wild turkeys, owls and hawks. There's ample scope here for boating, canoeing, hiking, fishing- and caving, of course. Whether you venture underground, or stay above it, in the familiar warmth of the sun, you're going to be impressed. A number of guided cave tours, of varying duration and difficulty levels, are conducted by rangers through Mammoth Cave, and visitors can sign up to join one or more of these. Do note that there are restrictions on smoking and photography (the latter in certain areas), and only those who feel fit enough should venture underground. Temperatures below ground fluctuate considerably; passages can be steep, slippery and muddy; and you might be expected to crawl in places. Certain sections are open to experienced spelunkers only.

Best time to visit

Mammoth Cave National Park is open throughout the year, though summer is the best time to go. Winters are too cold for comfort, and some facilities- including two of the park's campgrounds- are closed during this time. Summer temperatures hover between 27 and 32°C, while winter averages are usually around 4 to -1°C. Peak winter, January and February, sees temperatures fall below -18°C, and is accompanied by snowfall. Bring sufficient woollens when visiting the park, and be particularly careful if you're going caving; it's much colder underground.


The must-do, of course, for anybody visiting Mammoth Cave National Park, is to go caving- on an unforgettable journey of discovery through the dark passages of the cave itself.


Access to the Mammoth Cave National Park is free. Charges, however, are levied for tours through the caves, and can range from US$ 3.50 to US$ 35. Special licenses and rules apply for certain activities in the park, such as fishing. All outdoor activities- fishing, camping, horse riding, boating, canoeing, hiking and spelunking- are governed by the park administration and are subject to a long list of do's and don't's- please check at the visitor centre before embarking on any of these.

Travel Tools

World Weather World Time Converter
Currency Converter World Holidays & Festival
Travel Health & Tips Travel Insurance
TrainsTravel Features

Get the latest and the best on travel
Free Desktop Calendars!
Stay Connected!
Come join our interactive community
Quick Updates
Latest News, Deals, Views & more
© 2001 - 2020 All rights reserved. Useful Links