Historic Cave Tour- Mammoth Cave National Park {Kentucky}

This weekend took us up to the beautiful Mammoth Cave National Park. This is the longest cave system in the world and it has been drawing the curious explorers for over 4,000 years. Established as a national park in 1941, a world heritage site in 1981, and an international biosphere reserve in 1990. Is it any wonder then that so many people have traveled to Kentucky to wonder at its immensity.

We arrived a little before our scheduled time and made our way to the Pavillion A where a ranger gave us a safety briefing before we made our way down to the cave entrance. Each small group was allowed down the path towards the entrance with space between the other groups.

Because of Covid, they were only offering one tour that they have made to be self-guided through the main part of the caves. Normally, there are about 20 or so different tours that you can take ranging from an easy walk through along the main part of the caves to extreme options that have you climbing tight spaces or diving into the water at the very bottom. Because of the limited availability of tours, it is strongly recommended to reserve your tickets online beforehand to make sure that you can get into the tour.

Entrance to the caves

We took the Historic Cave tour which leads visitors down on a Y-shaped path along the big open areas of the caves. Mammoth Cave has over 400 miles of underground trails and caves- a lot of which has yet to be explored. Rangers are posted throughout the trails to give information and answer questions.

The first recorded account of the caves took place in the late 1700’s when two brothers happened upon the cave while hunting a bear. But the history of the caves reach back 5,000 years to the Native Americans who were living here at that time. Researchers and archeologists have discovered over 1,000 sites within the caves that date back to those peoples. They discovered burial sites and other sites that show how minerals were being mined back then.

The caves have served many purposes through the ages including that of being a fort, an armory, a monument, a hideout, and a hospital. In the 1800’s it was believed that tuberculosis patients could come here and be healed from the damp underground air of the caves. Hundreds of people came looking for that healing power of the caves. Sadly, this was a short lived belief. But the popularity of the caves continued as a tourist destination.

{Know if you go:: Be sure to wear layers in the cave- it can get very chilly beneath the surface. Be aware of your own health to make sure that you can handle stairs or being underground or anything else. There are medical personnel on site if needed. Be sure to reserve your tickets ahead of time to make sure you can get on the tour. You can reserve tickets at: https://www.recreation.gov/ticket/facility/234640 }

Mammoth Cave is absolutely incredible and it is an experience that everyone should have at some point. Thanks for coming along on our cave tour of Mammoth Cave National Park today!

3 responses to “Historic Cave Tour- Mammoth Cave National Park {Kentucky}”

    • Touring the caves is incredible! When not in the times of Covid, they offer a whole range of tours of differing times and ability levels. When I went a few years ago, we went on a tour that took us down steep steps to the water level and through some tight winding paths. Hard to imagine having the job of mapping these caves.

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