• The Historic Entrance of Mammoth Cave

    Mammoth Cave

    National Park Kentucky

Memorial Day Weekend 2014

Summer view from the Green River Bluffs Trail

Summer view from the Green River Bluffs Trail.

Photo from B. Carson files

The park ramps up opportunities for visitors to enter Mammoth Cave during Memorial Day Weekend! From Saturday May, 24 - Monday May 26, 2014 visitors can enjoy a variety of different tours during our late spring schedule. Self-guided tours, long cave excursions, and short scenic trips are available. If going underground isn't for you, there are nearly 53,000 acres of beautiful woodland, miles of scenic river, ranger led surface hikes and numerous campsites to enjoy. Whether above or below ground Mammoth Cave surely has something for everyone!

The Visitor Center hours are 8:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. Central Daylight Time.

Memorial Day Weekend is a very busy time at the park. 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 summer. 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
Mammoth Passage Tour 9:00
Frozen Niagara Tour 9:15, 11:30, 4:45
Historic Tour 8:45, 9:30, 10:00, 10:45, 11:30, 12:15, 12:45, 1:45, 2:15, 3:00, (3:30 Sat/Sun), 4:00
Domes and Dripstones Tour (formerly the New Entrance Tour) 8:45, 9:30, 10:00, 11:15, 12:15, (12:45 Sat/Sun), 1:30, 2:00, 2:45, 3:15, 4:15
Violet City Lantern Tour 1:15
Grand Avenue 9:00 (Saturday, Sunday)
Star Chamber Tour 6:15 p.m.
Focus on Frozen Niagara 6:15 p.m. (Saturday, Sunday)
Trog Tour 2:00
Introduction to Caving Tour 9:30
Wild Cave Tour 9:00 (Saturday, Sunday)
Discovery Tour 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Surface Walks & Programs - Free! Departures
Jr. Ranger Nature Track 2:30, 4:00 (Saturday, Sunday)
Sand Cave Almanac Caravan 1:00
Heritage Walk 3:45
Campfire Program 7:30 p.m.


 
Ranger with visitors at leeching vat

Ranger with visitors at leeching vat.

Mammoth Passage Tour
Follow your guide to the Historic Entrance where the cave was first discovered more than 5,000 years ago. Entering the cave, imagine early visitors as they walked through these "Mammoth Passages". Visit one of the largest rooms in the cave and see remains of an early saltpeter mining operation.

Includes parts of the Historic and all of the Discovery Tour routes. Not available by reservation.




Duration:
1 1/4 hours
Distance: 3/4 mile
Total Stairs: 160
Difficulty: Easy
Tour Capacity: 40
Price: $5 Adults, $3.50 Youth, $2.50 Special Access
Tour Times: 9:00

 
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 Domes and Dripstones, 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: $10 Adults, $8 Youth, $5 Special Access
Tour Times: 9:15, 11:30, 4:45
Want to make a reservation? Click here

 
View of Broadway on the Historic Tour

View of Broadway on the Historic Tour.

Historic Tour
Been in other more decorative caves, but never in Mammoth Cave? This journey through the natural entrance leads to "classic" Mammoth Cave landmarks visited by writers, scientists, military figures and celebrities of the 1800s and early 1900s. A great family trip!

Portions of this tour are also seen on the Violet City Lantern, Star Chamber and Gothic Tours. It is seen in its entirety on the River Styx Tour.

Duration: 2 hours
Distance: 2 miles
Total Stairs: 440, including 155 at Mammoth Dome
Difficulty: Moderate
Tour Capacity: 120
Price: $12 Adults, $8 Youth, $6 Special Access, $5 Educational Rate
Tour Times: 8:45, 9:30, 10:00, 10:45, 11:30, 12:15, 12:45, 1:45, 2:15, 3:00, (3:30 Sat/Sun), 4:00
Want to make a reservation? Click here

 
The Drapery Room on the New Entrance Cave Tour

The Drapery Room on the New Entrance Cave Tour.

Domes and Dripstones Tour (formerly the New Entrance 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: $12 Adults, $8 Youth, $6 Special Access
Tour Times: 8:45, 9:30, 10:00, 11:15, 12:15, (12:45 Sat/Sun), 1:30, 2:00, 2:45, 3:15, 4:15
Want to make a reservation? Click here

 
Remains of a 19th century tubuerculosis hut on the Violet City Lantern Tour

Remains of a 19th century tuberculosis hut on the Violet City Lantern Tour.

Violet City Lantern Tour
Travel exclusively by lantern light as guides recreate a nostalgic experience of days gone by. The flickering flame and rugged trails make it seem as if time stands still in the cave. Experience the cave the way early visitors did as you navigate steep hills and uneven terrain through some of the largest and oldest toured passageways. Relive the stories, behold the illusions and experience the cave's primitive nature that only this rustic walking tour can afford!

Portions of this tour are also seen on the Historic, River Styx and Mammoth Passage Tours. Only visitors age 16 and over may carry lanterns. Be prepared, the rugged nature of this tour possesses steep hills, low lighting, uneven terrain and no handrail or electric lighting infrastructure. To preserve the nostalgic nature of this tour, the use of flashlights is prohibited.

Age Limit: 6 and over
Duration: 3 hours
Distance: 3 miles
Total Stairs: 160 and numerous hills with no hand rails
Difficulty: Strenuous
Tour Capacity: 38
Price: $15 Adults, $11 Youth, $7.50 Special Access
Tour Times: 1:15
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: $24 Adults, $18 Youth, $12 Special Access
Tour Time: 9:00 (Saturday, May 24 & Sunday, May 25)
Want a reservation? Click here

 
Star Chamber

Star Chamber.

J.L. Wheet

Star Chamber
Take an evening journey into Mammoth Cave and experience the cave by lantern light. Learn of the early travels of both guides and visitors in the 1800s. Hear the stories of tuberculosis patients who sought for a cure inside the cave. View numerous rock monuments and signatures left by visitors who sought memorable experiences in Mammoth Cave over a hundred years ago. A great tour for summer campers!

Portions of this tour are also seen on the Historic, River Styx and Gothic Avenue Tours. Only visitors age 16 and over may carry lanterns. To preserve the nostalgic atmosphere of the activity, there is no flashlight use permitted on this tour.


Age Limit: Age 6 and over
Duration: 2 1/2 hours
Distance: 2 miles
Total Stairs: 200
Difficulty: Moderate
Tour Capacity: 40
Price: $12 Adults, $8 Youth, $6 Special Access
Tour Times: 6:15 p.m.
Want to make a reservation? Click here

 
The Frozen Niagara Formation

The Frozen Niagara Formation.

Focus on Frozen Niagara
A short evening tour for amateur photographers, visiting Rainbow Dome, Crystal Lake, Moonlight Dome, Onlyx Collonade and the famous Frozen Niagara flowstone, with an optional trip to the Drapery Room. This tour departs the visitor center in a caravan in which visitors are required to drive their personal vehicles to the cave entrance.

This tour is the same route used by the Frozen Niagara Tour, but is centered toward providing visitors with photographic opportunities. As a result, this tour permits flashes, tripods and monopods in the cave.

Duration: 1 1/2 hours
Distance: 1/4 mile
Total Stairs: 12, plus an optional 98
Difficulty: Easy
Tour Capacity: 30
Price: $10 Adults, $8 Youth, $5 Special Access
Tour Times: 6:15 p.m. (Saturday, May 24 and Sunday, May 25)
Want to make a reservation? Click here

 
A Trog Tour exiting the Historic Entrance at Mammoth Cave

A Trog Tour exiting the Historic Entrance at Mammoth Cave.

Trog Tour
A kids only off-trail adventure! Hike through the forest to the Historic Entrance and find out how the surface and subsurface are connected. Put on your hard hat and headlamp (provided) as you travel off-trail. Unlock the secrets of how the animals of Mammoth Cave survive in the deep dark as you hike, crawl and belly-slide through rarely visited passages.

In order to minimize the spread of White Nose Syndrome, a fungus that has resulted in the death of over 5.5 million bats in the eastern United States, Mammoth Cave National Park has instituted stringent cleaning procedures for all off-trail spelunking tours. All equipment (coveralls, helmets, knee pads and head lamps) are 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.

Parents, guardians and/or chaperones must attend the first 30 minutes of the tour to assist when children "suit up" with their equipment and must pick up children promptly at the end of the tour to assist with White Nose Syndrome shoe cleaning protocol. Sturdy, athletic style, closed toe shoes required. Requires at least 2 participants. Meets at the hotel dorms near the tennis courts.

Age Limit: Children ages 8 - 12
Duration: 2 3/4 hours
Distance: 1 1/2 miles
Total Stairs: 200
Difficulty: Moderate
Tour Capacity: 12
Price: $14
Tour Times: 2:00
Want to make a reservation? Click here

 
Caver crawling in passage like those on the Introduction to Caving Tour

Caver crawling in passage like those on 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 over 5.5 million 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. Lace-up hiking boots that cover the ankle are required. Boots must have good 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: $23 Adults, $18 Youth, $11.50 Special Access
Tour Times: 9:30
Want to make a reservation? Click here

 
An appropriate pair of boots for the Wild Cave Tour

A recommended pair of boots 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 over 5.5 million 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. Lace-up hiking boots that cover the ankle are required. Boots must have good 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. 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: $48
Tour Times: 9:00 (Saturday, May 24 & Sunday, May 25)
Want to make a reservation? Click here

 
Audubon Avenue

Audubon Avenue.

Discovery Tour (self-guided)
Visit the Rotunda, one of the largest rooms in the cave, explore a vast canyon passageway, and learn about 19th-century saltpeter mining operations and the geologic origins of Mammoth Cave on this self-guiding tour.

Includes part of the Historic Tour and the entire Mammoth Passage Tour route. Not available by reservation.

Duration: 1/2 hour minimum
Distance: 3/4 mile
Total Stairs: 160
Difficulty: Easy
Price: $4 Adults, $2.50 Youth, $2 Special Access
Tour Times: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

 

MAMMOTH CAVE NATIONAL PARK SURFACE ACTIVITIES
Free of charge

 
Park Rangers conducting activites on the Junior Ranger Nature Track program

Park Rangers conducting activities on the Junior Ranger Nature Track program.

Junior Ranger Nature Track
An activity designed for children to learn and explore more about Mammoth Cave National Park. Join park rangers in a variety of activities that enable children to discover more about the park's plants, animals, cave forming processes and the delicate balance of the ecosystem.

Duration: 30 - 45 minutes
Program Times: 2:30, 4:00 (Saturday, Sunday)

 
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: 1:00

 
Headstone of Stephen Bishop

Headstone of Stephen Bishop.

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 the changes to the cultural landscape and perceptions through the late 18th and early 20th centuries. Includes a walk to the Old Guides Cemetery where former enslaved cave guide Stephen Bishop now rests.

Duration: 45 minutes
Distance: 3/4 mile
Difficulty: Easy - handicap accessible
Trip Times: 3:45

 
Amphitheater sign

Amphitheater sign.

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: 7:30 p.m.

Did You Know?

Soda straw stalactite

Stalactites grow downward – they hang "tight" to the ceiling – while stalagmites grow upward – they "might" reach the ceiling someday. Mammoth Cave's formations include many types of calcite formations.