Camping Regulations

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There are a few simple rules to follow to protect park resources and to help you and our other visitors to have a safe and memorable experience camping at Mammoth Cave.

 

General Camping Regulations

Fees

  • Reserve your campsite through Recreation.gov or pay all front country or backcountry camping fees at the Mammoth Cave Campground entrance kiosk.
  • Find more information about Fees and Passes.

Resource Protection

The following activities are prohibited within Mammoth Cave National Park:

  • Digging, trenching, or leveling ground at your campsite.
  • Chopping, cutting, sawing or driving nails into standing trees.
  • Using mechanized saws in the park.
  • Defacing or carving into trees, signs, shelters, or other park features.
  • Disturbing, killing or hunting any wildlife, including snakes.
    • All plants and animals in Mammoth Cave National Park are protected.
    • Collection of any portion of a plant is prohibited unless specifically authorized by regulation.

Fire

  • Only create fire in established fire rings.
  • Do not burn trash in the fire rings.
  • Transport of firewood into the park is prohibited. You may pick-up any dead or downed wood inside the park or purchase wood from the Caver's Camp Store. Store hours vary with season; check bulletin board at kiosk for current hours.
 
 

Pets

  • Keep pets on a leash at all times.
  • Dispose of pet waste in garbage. Do not litter.
  • Do not leave pets unattended at a campsite for longer than one hour.
  • Kennels are available at The Lodge at Mammoth Cave.
  • More information is available about having Pets in the park.

Firearms

  • In accordance with Title 36 CFR 2.4 and Kentucky law, visitors may carry firearms on trails, in campgrounds, or any other area in which carrying is not specifically prohibited.
  • Weapons of any kind are prohibited in all federal facilities, on all cave tours, on the park's tour buses, and in the facilities of the park concessionaire.
  • Other weapons capable of destruction, such as fireworks, bows, air rifles, blowguns and slingshots, are prohibited in the park.

Alcohol

  • Alcohol is permitted only in campgrounds and picnic areas, provided the person in possession is at least 21 years old.
 

Frontcountry Camping Regulations

In addition to general camping regulations, the following apply to all frontcountry camping areas.

Check-in/Check-out

  • Check-out time is before 11 am
  • Check-in time is after 2 pm
  • If you arrive at your reserved site after kiosk hours please check-in the next morning at Mammoth Cave Campground kiosk.
  • If you do not have a reservation and arrive after kiosk hours, please go on-line to Recreation.gov to reserve an available site. You may be relocated the next day if your site is already reserved for the following night. Maximum 14 day stay in calendar year

General

  • Quiet hours are 10 pm to 6 am

  • Generators are permitted from 8 am to 8 pm as long as they are properly muffled and do not create unreasonable noise.

  • Carry a flashlight or lantern when walking after dark to watch for tripping hazards and snakes.

  • Mark your campsite when you leave so others know it is occupied. Be aware though that articles left unattended on an unpaid campsite for 24 hours may be impounded

  • When your stay is over, please check that you haven’t left personal possessions behind

Waste, Water, and Food

  • When food is not being prepared or eaten, it must be stored inside a vehicle to prevent wildlife access to human food. Do not feed or play with wildlife. Wild animals that become dependent on human handouts may lose their ability to forage independently when campers disappear in the "off-season."

  • To eliminate unpleasant odors and muddy campsites, catch your drain water in buckets and empty into toilets in the restrooms.

  • Water hydrants are for collection of water to be used at your campsite. Washing dishes or clothing at water hydrants is prohibited.

Rules of the Road

  • Obey the 15-mph speed limit and the stop signs in the campgrounds. Watch for children at play.

  • Park all wheeled vehicles on asphalt pads. All vehicles must fit on asphalt; overflow parking located at Service Center adjacent to campground.

  • Overnight camping is not permitted in parking lots, overlooks, or along roadsides in the park.

  • Mini-bikes, mopeds, and motorcycles are permitted only on improved roads.

  • Roller skates, rollerblades, skateboards, coasting vehicles, or similar devices are allowed only in the campground.

 

Backcountry and Riverside Camping Regulations

In addition to general camping regulations, the following apply to backcountry and riverside camping activities.

  • Camping is permitted only at designated backcountry campsites and along floodplains more than ½ mile away from ferry crossings or developed campgrounds.

  • Camping on the floodplain is only accessible by boat.

  • Maximum party size is 8. Two parties affiliated with the same group may not stay in the same campsite.

  • All sites except McCoy Hollow have a nearby water source. Boil and treat water before drinking, or carry in your own drinking water.

  • No hunting is allowed anywhere in the park.

  • Permits are required for all Backcountry and Riverside Camping.

  • Permits for the Backcountry campsites can be reserved through Recreation.gov or by calling (877) 444-6777.

  • Permits for the Riverside/Floodplain camping are obtained at the Mammoth Cave Campground in person only on the day of your trip. Contact campground office for hours of operation. (280) 758-2424.

 

Backcountry Camping Regulations for Camping with Horses

In addition to general camping and backcountry and riverside camping regulations, the following apply for individuals camping with horses.

  • Horses must be tied to hitch posts at backcountry locations where they are provided. In backcountry campsites or any backcountry areas with no hitch posts, or if these are full, horses must be cross-tied so they cannot chew on or otherwise damage trees or other vegetation. Tying horses and pack animals to trees is prohibited.

  • Hobbling horses and pack animals to permit free grazing is prohibited.

  • Cross-tying of horses and pack animals is not permitted within 100 feet from any stream or water source.

  • In backcountry areas with hitch posts, manure must be scattered no less than 100 feet from any campsite area before departing the area.

Last updated: July 18, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 7
Mammoth Cave, KY 42259-0007

Phone:

(270) 758-2180

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