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Mammoth Cave Hotel Roof Replacement Project

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The entrance to the Mammoth Cave Hotel.
The current front entrance to the Mammoth Cave hotel.

NPS Photo/ Molly Schroer

About the Mammoth Cave Hotel

The Mammoth Cave hotel, currently operated by MCNP ONP, LLC, was constructed in 1965 as part of the Mission 66 program – an ambitious 10-year plan to modernize and expand park infrastructure nationwide to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the National Park Service in 1966.

The Mammoth Cave hotel sits directly across from the park visitor center, serving as a hub for visitor services in the park, including two concessioner run dining facilities, a conference room, retail shops, and hotel check in desk. Over 600,000 people visit Mammoth Cave National Park annually approximately 83% of visitors arriving to the park utilize this visitor service hub to embark on ranger-led cave tours.

Water damage on the drywall in the hotel.
Roof leaks and water damage have become a common occurrence inside the hotel.

NPS Photo/ Molly Schroer

An Aging Building

In recent years, conditions of the over 55-year-old building have deteriorated. The lodge building was constructed with a virtually flat roof which does not allow for the proper drainage of water. During periods of heavy rain, the building experiences dozens of roof leaks which affect visitors using the building’s services.

Investing in Public Lands

The Mammoth Cave Hotel Roof Replacement Project, funded through the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), is a significant investment that will help address the park’s backlogged maintenance needs and correct other exterior and interior deficiencies of the park’s main hotel building. In 2020, the GAOA established the National Parks and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund (LRF) which provides money for projects that reduce the maintenance backlog on Federal lands.

Mammoth Cave National Park was selected as one of the first recipients of GAOA funds for the Hotel Roof Replacement Project. The $6.6 million awarded project construction cost is split between deferred maintenance (approximately 80%) work and capital improvement work (approximately 20%). The total funded project cost includes construction compliance, design, project construction, National Park Service project management, construction management, and contingency funds which is roughly $7.5 million.

A drawing of the outside of the hotel building.
An artist design rendering of the new façade, roof line, and entrance of the hotel.

NPS Graphic

A Plan for the Future

The Mammoth Cave Hotel Roof Replacement Project incorporates several elements to modernize the lodge building and improve the overall visitor experience. These elements include:

  • An update to the hotel roof and the external façade of the building. This will blend the hotel structure into the surrounding environment and match the appearance of the current visitor center building.

  • A reconfiguration of the interior lobby to enhance the functionality of the building and improve the overall visitor experience. This reconfiguration will create a more open and inviting gathering space for visitors accessing the lodge and adjacent park visitor center.  

  • New energy efficient windows and increased insulation in the roof and walls. This addition will increase the overall energy efficiency of the building.

Frequently Asked Questions

The park has worked with the National Park Service (NPS) Denver Service Center (DSC) on the planning, design, and construction management for this project. The contract for construction was recently awarded to National Contracting Services, LLC out of Louisville, KY. 

The in-park concessioner, Ortega National Parks, LLC, will be required to vacate the lodge building during the roof construction project, but will continue to provide food, beverage, and retail services from temporary locations near the visitor center.

The hotel front desk, will be temporarily operating out of the Caver's Camp Store building, while the main lodge building is closed for construction. At the camp store, park visitors can find food and retail services, showers, laundry, and a US post office. The temporary hotel front desk is located between the camp store and the post office. 

During construction, a section of the Heritage Trail and the foot bridge behind the lodge will be temporarily closed. Hikers wishing to access the Heritage Trail can do so from either the Old Guides Trail near the Historic Entrance or from the parking lot near the Sunset Terrace hotel building. 

No. Operation of cave tours will not be impacted during construction. Tour participants will still start and end their tour at the park visitor center.

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    Mammoth Cave National Park

    Last updated: March 23, 2022