|Mammoth Cave National Park is a United States National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is located in the state of Kentucky and preserves the world's longest known cave system, with over 360 miles of caves. The park was established in 1941 and currently draws nearly two million visitors annually. |
Cave tours depart from the park visitor center in buses. No public transportation is available in the area, including taxi service.
Take a tour of the cave. The Frozen Niagara tour and the Historical tour are both recommended, and each gives a very different perspectives of the cave.
Do take the time to learn about a man named Floyd Collins. There have been several books written about his ordeal of being trapped in a cave in 1925. (Don't worry about becoming trapped as a tourist, he was an extreme cave explorer!) Unbelievable history!
Motel and camping facilities are available within the park itself. National chain motels can be found in nearby Cave City and Park City.
• Mammoth Cave Hotel is located within the park. It features 42 standard motel-style rooms, 20 more rooms in the "Sunset Lodge" near the main hotel facility, and two groups of cottages with limited facilities (open only during summer). Nightly rates range from $38 for cottages to $92 for motel rooms during the summer. A restaurant, snack bar and gift ship are on the premises. The hotel is just across a small ravine from the Visitor Center, from which all cave tours depart. A paved trail adjacent to the hotel leads directly to the Historic Entrance of Mammoth Cave.
• National chain motels have locations in Cave City, about eight miles from the center of the park. Chains include Days Inn, Best Western, Quality Inn, Comfort Inn, Ramada Inn, Knights Inn and Super 8.
• A Hampton Inn is located in Horse Cave, four miles from Cave City on Interstate 65.
Mammoth Cave National Park has several camping options.
• The Headquarters Campground, adjacent to the visitor center, has 109 spaces suitable for all types of RV's. No hookups are provided; a shower/toilet house is available. $16/night ($8 with Golden Age/Golden Access pass), maximum stay 14 days.
• Houchins Ferry Campground is a primitive 12-site campground, not suitable for RV's or trailers and accessible only by ferry. $12/night ($6 with Golden Age/Golden Access pass).
• Maple Springs Group Campground is located six miles from the visitor center, and features seven sites for up to 24 campers each; four sites have horse facilities. $25/night.
• Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Campground, a full service campground, is located about seven miles from the visitor center on KY 70 near Cave City. It features sites for both RV's and tenters, plus a wide variety of cabins, including bunkhouses suitable for groups. Wi-fi Internet access is provided.
• Diamond Caverns Resort Campground is located on KY 255 near the I-65 interchange. The entrance is actually located within the park itself (thanks to a recent expansion of the park along KY 255), but the campground is independent of the park. It is a part of Diamond Caverns Resort and Golf Club, with check-in located at the resort's main office. Full-service sites are available, and a recreation center with full workout facilities is on site.
• Cave Country RV Campground, Kentucky's newest RV park will open late March 2006. Located less than one mile form I-65, exit 53, this modern RV park offers full hookup sites with easy pull-through access. Super sites to 90' for the biggest diesel pushers are within walking distance of many local restaurants. Exercise equipment in the rec room, day trip plans, and free Wi-fi are offered to campers.
• Nashville, the home of country and gospel music (including the Grand Ole Opry), is located about 75 miles south of the park on I-65.
• Louisville is the home of the Kentucky Derby, the world's most famous horse race. 80 miles north of the park on I-65.
• Bowling Green is home of the factory where the Corvette sports car is manufactured, the nearby National Corvette Museum, and the Lost River Cave. 28 miles south on I-65.
• Barren River Reservoir State Resort Park features extensive boating and fishing on a man-made reservoir. A lodge and large campground are located in the park. From Mammoth Cave, take KY 70 to Cave City, KY 90 to Glasgow, then south on U.S. 31-E to the park, about 20 miles from Mammoth Cave. The park is home to the annual Glasgow Highland Games, one of the largest Scottish athletic evens in the nation.
• Lexington, the "Horse Capital of the World" and home to many Thoroughbred horse farms. 100 miles northeast; take I-65 north to Elizabethtown, then the Martha Layne Collins Blue Grass Parkway east to Lexington.
| || |
Most visitors access the park from two roadways which have interchanges with Interstate 65, one near Park City, Kentucky (KY 255) and the other near Cave City (KY 70). KY 70 also enters the park from the west side of the park, near Brownsville. No entrance fee is charged.
No public transportation is available. The nearest commercial airport is Nashville, Tennessee.
Fees of $4.00 to $45.00 are charged for cave tours, depending on their length. A wide variety of tours are available, all departing from the park's visitor center.
Shopping is not one of the area's strong points. However, a group of antique shops are located in downtown Cave City.
A restaurant is located at the Mammoth Cave Hotel. This is the only public food service within the park proper.
Fast-food restaurants are found in Cave City (McDonald's, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Long John Silver's, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen), as well as Cracker Barrel and Jerry's family-style restaurants, and three independent restaurants. More dining options are found ten miles east of Cave City in Glasgow, or 28 miles south in Bowling Green.
For a taste of the local food, be sure to try Mario's Italian and The Sahara Steak House.
Barren and Edmonson counties are "dry," though residents of Cave City voted in November 2005 to allow liquor by the drink in restaurants only. The nearest full liquor service and sales are in Bowling Green.