Fall 2015

Fall view from the Green River Bluffs Trail

Fall view from the Green River Bluffs Trail.

Photo from B. Carson files

The busy days of summer are soon forgotten as the park slips into fall. The thick green woodland transitions into a landscape of beautiful autumn colors. Radiant reds, gushing golds, pretty purples and amazing oranges blanket the tree canopy. Hikers can enjoy the vibrant nature trails. Canoeists can lazily drift down the Green River in a corridor of color. The underground world of the park also changes as a variety of specialty tours access parts of the cave with fewer numbers. Whether above or below ground, the fall is a wonderful time to visit Mammoth Cave National Park. Feel free to come and join us and experience your America!

Our fall schedule runs September 8 - October 31, 2015. The Visitor Center hours are 8:30 a.m. - 5:15 p.m. Central Time.

Reservations are not required, but are strongly recommended to ensure a spot on cave tours. Reservations cannot be made the same day of the tour. Adult ticket prices are for individuals 13 and up. Youth ticket prices are for visitors age 6 - 12. Unless otherwise noted, all visitors under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult age 18 or over.

Unless otherwise noted, flash photography is not permitted on cave tours.

Below you will find our full selection of tour times and descriptions offered this fall. Feel free to read each one, decide which is best for you and tailor-make your own opportunity to experience the wonders of Mammoth Cave National Park.

 
Cave Activity Departures
Frozen Niagara Tour 9:00, 2:30, 3:30
Domes & Dripstones Tour 9:30, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 12:30, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00
Great Onyx Lantern Tour 10:30, 2:15
Grand Avenue 9:45
Introduction to Caving Tour 10:00 Saturday
Wild Cave Tour 9:00 Sat./Sun.
Surface Walks & Programs - Free of Charge! Departures
Heritage Walk 9:30
Sand Cave Almanac 1:30 Fri./Sat.
Campfire Program 6:30 p.m. Fri./Sat.

If you would like to view a map of the cave where tours travel please click below:

Mammoth Cave Tour Routes Map

 
The Frozen Niagara Formation.

The Frozen Niagara Formation.

Frozen Niagara Tour
Often the perfect taste of Mammoth Cave for visitors with very small children, elderly family members, or others who cannot walk long distances. Not sure you like close spaces? Have trouble walking or managing long staircases? This short visit through this very heavily decorated part of Mammoth Cave might be best for you.

This section of cave is seen in its entirety on the New Entrance, Grand Avenue, Introduction to Caving and Wild Cave Tours.

Duration: 1 1/4 hours
Distance: 1/4 mile
Total Stairs: 12, plus an optional 98
Difficulty: Easy
Tour Capacity: 39
Price: $13 Adults, $9 Youth, $6.50 Special Access
Tour Times: 9:00, 2:30, 3:30
Want to make a reservation? Click here

 
The Drapery Room on the Domes & Dripstones Tour.

The Drapery Room on the Domes & Dripstones t
our.

Domes & Dripstones Tour
A wonderful complement to the Historic Tour, this trip includes a dramatic series of domes and pits, typical large trunk passageways, and a short journey through dripstone formations.

This tour includes the entire Frozen Niagara Tour route and a small portion of the Grand Avenue Tour route.

Duration: 2 hours
Distance: 3/4 mile
Total Stairs: 500, including 280 on the initial staircase descent
Difficulty: Moderate
Tour Capacity: 118
Price: $15 Adults, $10 Youth, $7.50 Special Access
Tour Times: 9:30, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 12:30, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00
Want to make a reservation? Click here

 
Nativity formation in Great Onyx Cave.

The Nativity Formation in Great Onyx Cave.

Great Onyx Lantern Tour

Learn the legends and rumors of early community life as you travel by bus to Great Onyx Cave, a privately owned and operated cave until the 1960's. Discover how Great Onyx survived the Cave Wars and emerged as one of the most pristine show caves in the region. Exploring this geologic beauty by lantern light offers a different perspective to the multitudes of dripstone, gypsum, and helictite formations. Encounter evidence of cave life from past and present.

Special Notice: This cave is toured within Mammoth Cave National Park, but is not known to connect with the Mammoth Cave System.


Age Limit: 6 and over
Duration: 2¼ hours
Distance: 1 mile
Total Stairs: 40
Difficulty: Moderate
Tour Capacity: 38
Price: $18 Adults, $13 Youth, $9 Special Access
Tour Times: 10:30, 2:15
Want to make a reservation? Click here


 
The Rocky Mountains on the Grand Avenue tour route.

The Rocky Mountains on the Grand Avenue tour route.

Grand Avenue Tour

This physically demanding trip will give you an excellent idea of the size and complexity of the Mammoth Cave System. Learn of the cultural and natural history of the cave and how they are interwoven as your journey takes you through some of the most dramatic passages in this "mammoth" cave. Walk through a variety of cave as you encounter gypsum lined passages, narrow canyons, steep underground hills, large rooms and ares with dripstone formations.

This tour includes the entire Frozen Niagara Tour route and all of the Domes and Dripstones Tour except for the 280 stairs descending the vertical shafts at the entrance.

Age Limit: 6 and over
Duration: 4 hours
Distance: 4 miles
Total Stairs: Nearly 700
Difficulty: Very Strenuous
Tour Capacity: 78
Price: $26 Adults, $19 Youth, $13 Special Access
Tour Time: 9:45
Want a reservation? Click here

 
A suitable pair of boots meeting footwear requirements for the Introduction to Caving tour.

A suitable pair of boots meeting footwear requirements for the Introduction to Caving tour.

Introduction to Caving Tour
Want to really go caving? Not sure if spelunking is for you? Try this short, small group caving challenge to discover things about the cave and yourself. Experience off trail adventures wearing traditional caving gear. Learn how cavers work together as a team as they travel over uneven terrain, crawl through tight holes and climb up rocky slopes. Bring your friends or family for an action packed activity!

In order to minimize the spread of White Nose Syndrome, a fungus that has resulted in the death of millions of bats in the eastern United States, Mammoth Cave National Park has instituted stringent cleaning procedures for all off-trail spelunking tours this summer. All equipment and outerwear including gloves will be provided by the park. Visitors must provide their own boots. No personal caving equipment allowed. No Exceptions. Shorts and t-shirt recommended for wear under required coveralls.

An adult must accompany visitors under age 18. Organized youth groups must have at least two adult representatives accompanying minor children. Chest or hip measurement must not exceed 42 inches; if you are larger you may not physically pass through the crawl spaces. PLEASE READ: Sturdy, lace-up hiking boots that cover the ankle are required. Boots with zippers will not be admitted on the tour. Boots must have good aggressive tread. No slick-soled footwear is permitted. No tennis shoes allowed. You will not be allowed to participate in the tour if you are not wearing proper footwear - no exceptions. Please bring an extra pair of tennis shoes or sandals for use during boot cleaning at the end of the tour. Requires at least 2 participants.


Age Limit: 10 and over
Duration: 3 1/2 hours
Distance: 1 mile
Total Stairs: 280+
Difficulty: Strenuous
Tour Capacity: 20
Price: $26 Adults, $20 Youth, $13 Special Access
Tour Times: 10:00 Saturdays Only
Want to make a reservation? Click here

 
A suitable pair of boots meeting footwear requirements for the Wild Cave tour.

A suitable pair of boots meeting footwear requirements for the Wild Cave tour.

Wild Cave Tour
Face the darkness - and the challenge. Journey with experienced guides and a small adult group through some of the starkly beautiful yet physically demanding "wild" areas of the cave. Climb, crawl, squeeze, hike and canyon walk in the realms of Mammoth Cave. See places no other tour encounters and feel the thrill of exploration!

In order to minimize the spread of White Nose Syndrome, a fungus that has resulted in the death of millions of bats in the eastern United States, Mammoth Cave National Park has instituted stringent cleaning procedures for all off-trail spelunking tours this summer. All equipment and outerwear including gloves will be provided by the park. Visitors must provide their own boots. No personal caving equipment allowed. No Exceptions. Shorts and t-shirt recommended for wear under required coveralls.

An adult must accompany visitors under age 18. Organized youth groups must have at least two adult representatives accompanying minor children. Chest or hip measurement must not exceed 42 inches; if you are larger you may not physically pass through the crawlspaces. PLEASE READ: Sturdy, lace-up hiking boots that cover the ankle are required. Boots with zippers will not be admitted on the tour. Boots must have good aggressive tread. No slick-soled footwear is permitted. No tennis shoes allowed. You will not be allowed to participate in the tour if you are not wearing proper footwear - no exceptions. Please bring an extra pair of tennis shoes or sandals for use during boot cleaning at the end of the tour. There will be no food service in the Snowball Room. Visitors will need to bring their own lunch or snacks. A small fannypack is provided. Requires at least 2 participants.


Age Limit: 16 and over
Duration: 6 hours
Distance: 5 miles
Difficulty: Extremely Strenuous
Tour Capacity: 14
Price: $55 Adults, $27.50 Special Access
Tour Times: 9:00 Saturday/Sunday
Want to make a reservation? Click here

 

MAMMOTH CAVE NATIONAL PARK SURFACE ACTIVITIES
Free of charge

 
Woodpecker

Let's Go Birding!

Join a local naturalist and discover a part of the world where birds nest and rule the skies. Enjoy the sights and the sounds that greet each morning here in cave country and discover some of the most commonly seen bird species in the park. Learn what the park is doing to monitor and help protect these wonderful creatures that add so much to the landscape.

Duration: 2 hours
Distance: varies
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Trip Time: 8:15 a.m. Tuesdays & Thursdays*

*Hike is scheduled to run through October 15th. Schedule subject to change without notice.

 
Old Guide's Cemetery

Old Guide's Cemetery

Heritage Walk
This easy walk uses the 3/4 mile Heritage Trail, adjacent to the Mammoth Cave Hotel. The ranger shares stories of the old Mammoth Cave Estate and how the surface above helped shaped the stories below. Includes a walk to the Old Guide's Cemetery where former enslaved cave guide Stephen Bishop now rests.

Duration: 1 hour
Distance: 3/4 mile
Difficulty: Easy - handicap accessible
Trip Times: 9:30

 
Family of visitors hiking a nature trail.

Nature Hike
Without question the underground of Mammoth Cave National Park holds a world of discovery. However, the world above the cave is an often overlooked resource in understanding the complexity of the entire ecosystem. Explore the surface with a local naturalist and discover the rich flora and fauna diversity of the woodland and gain a greater understanding of the wonders of the park!

Duration: 2 hours
Distance: Varies
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Trip Time: 11:00 Tuesdays & Thursdays*

*Hike is scheduled to run through October 15th. Schedule subject to change without notice.

 
Mammoth Cave Baptist Church

Mammoth Cave Baptist Church

Sand Cave Almanac Caravan
A progressive walking and driving tour telling the saga of Floyd Collins, trapped in Sand Cave in 1925. See the Collins' family home place and end your journey at the Mammoth Cave Baptist Church at the gravesite of Floyd Collins.

This activity is conducted in a caravan in which visitors drive their own vehicle. The caravan traces a 5.2 mile distance from Sand Cave Trailhead to Mammoth Cave Baptist Church.

Duration: 2 hours
Distance: 5.2 miles (driving)
Difficulty: Easy - handicap accessible
Trip Time: 1:30 Friday & Saturday

 
Campfire

Campfire Program
Join a park ranger for a special program at the wheelchair accessible Park Amphitheater. Programs generally begin just before dark and interpret a different topic each evening. Check at the Visitor Center information desk to learn more about available evening amphitheater programming topics.

Duration: 45 minutes
Difficulty: Easy - handicap accessible
Campfire Program Times: 6:30 p.m. Friday & Saturday


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