• The Historic Entrance of Mammoth Cave

    Mammoth Cave

    National Park Kentucky


Tour group preparing to enter Mammoth Cave, circa 1909.
Tour group preparing to enter Mammoth Cave with guide Ed Bishop, circa 1909.

Mammoth Cave's miles of hollow halls were already thousands of years old when the first human beings came on the scene, and the Cave stands as a natural wonder in its own right. But grandeur and fascination, awe and wonder, fear and courage, trepidation and daring – those feelings that have given the Cave its power to inspire millions – are a human contribution.

The people who have come to Mammoth Cave over the years represent a crazy-quilt of backgrounds, native and foreign, young and old, rich and poor, sacred and mercenary. Let these pages introduce you to some of the characters, communities, and cultures that have made Mammoth Cave a part of themselves, and left their mark in return.

Did You Know?

Did You Know? Native Americans mined minerals in Mammoth Cave for 2,000 years.

Native Americans of the Early Woodland period gathered minerals from Mammoth Cave between 2,000 and 4,000 years ago ... no one knows why. Objects they left behind – slippers, cane torches, gourds, and mussel shells – remain perfectly preserved in the cave.