Mammoth Cave located in south central Kentucky is the longest known cave system in the world. Its depth and total length are unknown, however, explorers have discovered more than 400 miles of vast chambers and complex labyrinths within the caves. It has certainly earned its name! Here’s some tips for touring Mammoth Cave if you’re looking to explore the cave yourself.
- My number one tip would be to make a reservation. You can do that on the park’s website here. Reservations are the only way to ensure a spot is available for you and your group.
- If you didn’t make a reservation in time make sure you get there early. The tours fill up very quickly. Nearly everything was sold out when we arrived at 11:00.
- Bring a sweater! The cave’s temperature vary somewhat, but usually hover around 54 degrees Fahrenheit. When you approach the entrance you will feel the cold air pouring out.
- The walk back up the hill is physically exhausting and it’s quite a temperature shock leaving the cool 50 degree weather to the blazing hot air. Be prepared for this. Bring water with you for the hike back up.
- If you end up doing the self-guided tour talk to the rangers. The ones we talked to were super friendly and knowledgeable. I asked him if he had anything he wanted to share with us and he smiled and said, “How much time do you have?” This turned into the most awesome 10 minute history lesson on the Mammoth Cave. They get bored down there and their job is to answer questions — talk to them!
The tour we went on was the self-guided tour because everything else was either a long wait or sold out. It wasn’t anything spectacular and lasted about a half an hour. It would have been shorter had we not spoke to the rangers. There wasn’t any great formations or dripstones to see. If I could do it again I would have made reservations ahead of time for the Frozen Niagara or the Diamonds and Dripstones Tour. If you’re on a budget, however, the self-guided tour is a low cost option of exploring the lovely Mammoth Cave without spending a lot of money.
You can learn more about the different cave tours here.
Have you explored Mammoth Cave before? What tour did you end up going with?