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Try the Experimental Snowball Tour
(MAMMOTH CAVE NATIONAL PARK – July 17, 2007) When was the last time you visited the Snowball Room, 267 feet below the surface side of Mammoth Cave National Park? Park officials are offering a new tour for a few days this summer as an experiment – an excursion to Snowball via the Carmichael Entrance and Cleaveland Avenue, two miles roundtrip.
“We’re trying the Snowball tour a few days this summer to see how people like it and to ground-proof the logistics of the tour,” said Deputy Superintendent Bruce Powell. “People often remember the Snowball Room from previous visits, but they don’t always want to walk the four-mile Grand Avenue tour just to see it. This gives folks another option.”
Visitors enter Mammoth Cave at the Carmichael Entrance, descend 200 steps to a mostly level one-mile walk to Snowball. Within Snowball is a lunch line, operated by staff from the Mammoth Cave Hotel, which offers a box lunch, coffee, soft drinks, and candy bars. (The food cost is not included in the tour price.) The group then retraces their steps to the surface.
“The tour is beautiful, fun, and strenuous,” adds Powell. “The trip passes through Rocky Mountain, a large room full of craggy breakdown, and the elliptical Cleaveland Avenue, encrusted with white gypsum. The Snowball Room gets its name from the large blisters of gypsum covering the ceiling. The steps are the hard part – after walking two miles, you have to climb 200 steps back up to sunlight.”
The Snowball Tour, a two-mile, three-hour tour, will be offered ONLY Thursday, July 19; Wednesday, July 25; Tuesday, July 31; and Thursday, August 9. All departure times are at 10:15 a.m. The tour is limited to 38 visitors. Tickets ($14/adult; $8/youth) may be purchased at the park visitor center.