Mammoth Cave National ParkVisit Website
There are caves all around the world, but none compare to Mammoth Cave! As the world’s longest-known cave system with over 400 known miles of passageways, this natural wonder and World Heritage Site should be on everyone’s list of must-have experiences. Mammoth Cave National Park is just 30 minutes from Bowling Green, Ky. and can easily be added to any Bowling Green or Kentucky vacation itinerary.
A variety of underground tours offer a glimpse at 350 million-year-old rocks and fascinating animals adapted to life in the dark. As the second-oldest tourist attraction in America, you will hear remarkable stories of human history including how African Americans played a vital role in developing both cave tours and the visitor experience. With tours designed for a mixed audience, you can take it easy or get down and dirty on a wild cave tour.
Of course, the surreal beauty continues above ground with an abundance of free and paid activities including nature walks, horseback riding, canoeing or kayaking down the Green and Nolin Rivers, and campfire programs. All organized tours begin and end at the new Visitor Center designed for gold-level certification as a sustainable, “green” building. Children under six are admitted free.
Visitors are encouraged to purchase their tickets through the reservation system at www.recreation.gov or by phone at 877-444-6777. In past years, morning tours did not sell out. Morning tours may be the best option for people who have not made advanced reservations. Call 270-758-2180 for up to the minute tour availability information.
*NOTE: February 24, 2014: White-nose syndrome has been found in tour routes of Mammoth Cave. Park staff discovered WNS in remote sections of Mammoth Cave last year, including colonial hibernacula.
Tours of Mammoth Cave will continue. It is important to remember the disease affects bats, not humans. Therefore, tours and research are continuing at Mammoth Cave National Park, accompanied by extensive education and outreach on WNS, and adherence to approved cleaning methods recommended by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Visitors must walk through bio-security mats as they exit cave tours.
AS OF SEPTEMBER 8, 2015, THE FOLLOWING CHANGES IN CAVE TOURS AND LODGING WILL BE IN EFFECT THROUGH 2016
Mammoth Cave National Park will remain open when two major renovation projects begin on Tuesday, September 8, 2015: reconstruction of the cave trail along the Historic tour route; and upgrades to the concessions facilities at Mammoth Cave Hotel.
• The two-mile Historic tour will not be offered in its entirety until summer of 2016. The park has contracted with the Tradesmen Group Inc., of Plain City, Ohio, to reconstruct the 75-year old tourist trail built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
• The main lodge of the Mammoth Cave Hotel will close for upgrades to the electrical and HVAC systems, and installation of a fire/safety system. These utilities have not been changed since the hotel was built in the 1960s. The park has contracted with Lightsey Construction LLC of Forsyth, Georgia, for renovations of the concessions facilities.
“The park will remain open and cave tours will continue,” said Superintendent Sarah Craighead. “Lodging, food service, and other concessions services will be available on a limited basis. There will be plenty of opportunities for visitors to enjoy the park.”
To compensate for closure of the Historic tour:
• Additional cave tours have been scheduled in other sections of Mammoth Cave. Eight Domes and Dripstones tours will be offered daily, as well as three Frozen Niagara tours, two Great Onyx tours, and a Grand Avenue tour. Crawling tours will be available on weekends.
• On weekends, fall break, and spring break during the construction period, the park will open the Mammoth Passage or Discovery tours, which use a portion of the Historic route.
To compensate for closure of the main lodge:
• Forever Resorts will offer limited food service at the Caver Camp Store.
• Gifts and souvenirs will be available at the Caver Camp Store and at the Forever Resorts outlet inside the park visitor center.
• Lodging will be available in the Sunset Terrace Lodge, the Hotel Cottages, and the Woodland Cottages. Reservations must be made by telephone at 270-758-2225. Registration will occur at the Caver Camp Store. Lodging will close for the season on November 1, 2015, and reopen in March 2016.
• Forever Resorts will continue to operate the bus transportation for cave tours, as part of its contract with the park.
“We ask the public’s patience during construction,” added Craighead. “Improvements to the cave trails and the concessions facilities will allow the park to better serve our visitors and protect Mammoth Cave’s natural and cultural resources that are entrusted to our care.”
To learn more about WNS and MCNP's response, visit http://www.nps.gov/maca/parkmgmt/planning.htm.