Cave Tours

 

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Tour Schedule

Tour route availability and times change depending on the season. Before arriving at the park or trying to reserve tickets for a tour, please review the tour schedule for the dates of your trip. Read more about tour descriptions at the bottom of this page.

 

Tour

Departure Time

Historic Tour

10:30, 12:45, 2:00, Daily
11:30, Saturday and Sunday

Domes and Dripstones Tour

9:45, 11:00, 1:30, Daily
2:15, Saturday and Sunday

Frozen Niagara Tour

9:00, 12:30, 3:00, Daily

Mammoth Passage Tour

2:30, Daily
9:00, 10:00, 12:00, 3:00, Saturday and Sunday
Tickets for the Mammoth Passage tour are sold in-person, the day of the tour. 

Accessible Tour ♿

11:30, Daily

Gothic Avenue Tour

9:30, Daily

Cleaveland Avenue Tour

2:00, Saturday and Sunday

Grand Avenue Tour

10:15, Saturday and Sunday


 

Tour

Departure Time

Historic Tour

10:30, 11:30, 12:45, 2:00, Daily

Domes and Dripstones Tour

9:45, 11:00, 1:30, 2:15, Daily

Frozen Niagara Tour

9:00, 12:30, 3:00, Daily

Mammoth Passage Tour

9:00, 10:00, 12:00, 2:30, 3:00, Daily
Tickets for the Mammoth Passage tour are sold in-person, the day of the tour. 

Accessible Tour ♿

11:30, Daily

Gothic Avenue Tour

9:30, Daily

Cleaveland Avenue Tour

2:00, Daily

Grand Avenue Tour

10:15, Daily

Tour

Departure Time

Historic Tour

10:30, 2:00, Daily

Domes and Dripstones Tour

11:00, 1:30, Daily

Frozen Niagara Tour

9:00, 12:30, 3:00, Daily

Mammoth Passage Tour

2:30, Daily
Tickets for the Mammoth Passage tour are sold in-person, the day of the tour. 

Accessible Tour ♿

11:30, Daily

Gothic Avenue Tour

9:30, Daily

Tour

Departure Time

Historic Tour

10:30, Daily

Domes and Dripstones Tour

1:30, Daily

Frozen Niagara Tour

9:00, 12:30, 3:00, Daily

Mammoth Passage Tour

2:30, Daily
Tickets for the Mammoth Passage tour are sold in-person, the day of the tour. 

Accessible Tour ♿

11:30, Daily

Gothic Avenue Tour

9:30, Daily


The park visitor center and cave tours will be closed on December 25, 2021. 

Tour

Departure Time

Historic Tour

10:30, 12:45, 2:00, Daily
11:30, Saturday and Sunday

Domes and Dripstones Tour

9:45, 11:00, 1:30, Daily
2:15, Saturday and Sunday

Frozen Niagara Tour

9:00, 12:30, 3:00, Daily

Mammoth Passage Tour

2:30, Daily
9:00, 10:00, 12:00, 3:00, Saturday and Sunday
Tickets for the Mammoth Passage tour are sold in-person, the day of the tour. 

Accessible Tour ♿

11:30, Daily

Gothic Avenue Tour

9:30, Daily

Cleaveland Avenue Tour

2:00, Saturday and Sunday

Grand Avenue Tour

10:15, Saturday and Sunday

 

Tour Reservations

Cave tours often sell out during the summer and early fall seasons, and reservations are strongly recommended. Reservations are the only way to ensure a spot on a tour is available for your party. Please plan accordingly by visiting Recreation.gov or calling 877-444-6777 to secure your tickets in advance. Availability of walk-up tickets is not guaranteed.

 
 

Know Before You Go

 
 

Things To Leave Behind

To ensure the safety of all visitors and the continued protection of Mammoth Cave the following items are not permitted on cave tours:

  • Flash photography (photography is allowed if the flash is turned off)
  • Child backpack carriers (front packs are permitted)
  • Strollers
  • Tripods/Monopods
  • Walking sticks
  • Metal framed backpacks and backpacks that are higher than the shoulder or that are of a length that extends below the hips (i.e. large trekking backpacks)
  • Firearms or other weapons
  • Pets (Day use kennels at the Lodge at Mammoth Cave are available for rent. Proof of vaccination must be provided upon entering the kennel. Learn more about pets in the park.)

Mammoth Cave is for Everyone

During the spring and fall seasons the park is a very popular destination for school trips and other parties. As a result, your tour may include other group(s) of various ages.

Dress Appropriately

You may wish to bring a light jacket during your tour. Cave temperatures can vary widely near entrances (especially in winter), deep cave temperature is 54ºF (12ºC) while surface temperatures in the summer can exceed 90ºF (32ºC).

Cave Tour Accessibility

Visitors with limited mobility may find some cave tours too strenuous. Please review cave tour descriptions and consider your limitations when choosing which tour to participate on.

For members of the deaf and hard of hearing community, assisted listening devices and sign language interpreter services are available with advanced arrangements.

The park is committed to providing accessible options for all visitors. Learn more about accessibility in the park.

Getting Here

When traveling to the park for a cave tour, plan for adequate travel time to the visitor center to arrive around 30 minutes before the start of your scheduled tour. This will allow for time to find parking, pick up your physical paper tour tickets and time to use the restroom.

Do not rely on your mobile GPS or web based mapping applications. These services often lead visitors off track onto routes requiring river crossings via ferry or onto narrow winding roads not suitable for large vehicles. More information about travel directions to the park are available.

 
A small amphitheater with wooden benches

Ranger-led Programs

Join us for a ranger-led program on the surface.

A group of visitors, one in a wheelchair, listen to a ranger.

Accessible Activities

Description of Accessible Cave Tours, Ranger Walks & Talks, and Self-Guided Adventures

 

Descriptions of Currently Offered Cave Tours

 

Utilizing the Elevator Entrance, this tour emerges near the famous Snowball Room. Continuing through historic Cleaveland Avenue, this tour passes through areas of the cave highly decorated with historic signatures and sparkling geological formations. This tour is ideal for people who wish to see the cave and are looking for a tour with no stairs.

This is an accessible tour. This tour is designed for persons with a disability, limited physical mobility, or any other reason for a tour with no stairs. If no one in your party needs an accessible tour, please consider selecting another tour unless this is the only tour available at the time of your request. Wheelchairs, scooters and other assistive devices are allowed. Accessible restrooms are on this tour.  

Participants meet at the visitor center for a caravan in their personal vehicles to drive approximately 2 miles to the elevator entrance. Assistive devices will need to be decontaminated upon exiting the cave to limit the spread of White Nose Syndrome.

Please note that no transportation or mobility assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, walkers or canes are available. NPS employees will not transport or assist visitors or visitor equipment. If visitors need assistance with the Park's accessible features, they must bring a companion with them for aid.

Duration: 2 hours
Distance: 0.5 miles (0.8 km)
Total Stairs: No stairs
Difficulty: Easy
Ages: All ages. Youth under the age of 16 years, must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older.
Restrooms: Yes
Fees: $22 Adults, $16 Youth, $11 Senior Pass Holder, $11 Access Pass Holder.

For nearly two centuries, Cleaveland Avenue has attracted people from all over the world to see its sparkling walls of gypsum and unique tube-shaped passages. Evidence of early visitors can still be seen on the walls and ceiling of some of its most famous places. This tour is ideal for people looking for a unique part of Mammoth Cave and an interest in geology and history. 

This tour enters the cave by descending nearly 200 stairs and exits the cave via an elevator. In the event the elevator is not available due to unforeseen circumstances, the tour retraces the route and ascends the near 200 stairs back out of the cave.

Includes all of the Accessible Tour route.

Duration: 2 hours
Distance: 2 miles (3.2 km)
Total Stairs: 200 (400 if the elevator is unavailble)
Difficulty: Moderate
Ages: All ages. Youth under the age of 16 years, must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older.
Restrooms: Yes
Fees: $22 Adults, $16 Youth, $11 Senior Pass Holder, $11 Access Pass Holder.

This classic tour visits areas of Mammoth Cave that have been used for nearly 100 years. This tour begins in a sinkhole, passes through huge domes, amazing breakdown, and ends in the dripstone section known as Frozen Niagara. Please note that this tour ascends and descends hundreds of stairs and several steep inclines, which can be difficult for many visitors, as there are no alternative routes. Focusing on the natural formation of the cave, this tour is ideal for people interested in science and wanting to see stalactites and stalagmites.

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

Duration: 2 hours
Distance: 0.75 miles (1.2 km)
Total Stairs: 500, including 280 on the initial staircase descent
Difficulty: Moderate
Ages: All ages. Youth under the age of 16 years, must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older.
Restrooms: No
Fees: $21 Adults, $16 Youth, $10.50 Senior Pass Holder, $10.50 Access Pass Holder.

Enjoy this Historic Tour with a bonus side trip to one of the sites of the famous 1840s Mammoth Cave experiment to treat consumption. This tour is ideal for people who want a Historic Tour and have a little extra time to spend in the cave.

Duration: 2.25 hours
Distance: 2 miles (3.2 km)
Total Stairs: 540, including 155 at Mammoth Dome
Difficulty: Moderate
Ages: All ages. Youth under the age of 16 years, must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older.
Restrooms: Yes
Fees: $23 Adults, $17 Youth, $11.50 Senior Pass Holder, $11.50 Access Pass Holder.

The naturally decorated Frozen Niagara section remains one of the most famous at Mammoth Cave, and serves as the last stop for a variety of cave tours. While many tours require long hikes and numerous stairs to reach this point, this short tour offers a chance to visit this area with only 12 stairs. This tour is ideal for anyone with difficulty walking long distances or negotiating stairs.

This tour has a bus ride to and from the cave entrance.

Duration: 1.25 hours
Distance: 0.25 miles (0.4 km)
Total Stairs: 12, plus an optional 98
Difficulty: Easy
Ages: All ages. Youth under the age of 16 years, must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older.
Restrooms: No
Fees: $18 Adults, $14 Youth, $9 Senior Pass Holder, $9 Access Pass Holder.

Gothic Avenue was named because of its unusual rock formations resembling Gothic architecture, and was the site of some of the earliest 19th century tourism. Early visitors left behind signatures, artifacts, and monuments in this area of the cave, which also features stalactites and stalagmites. This tour focuses on 1800s tourism and uses of Mammoth Cave, and is ideal for people with a high interest in history.

Portions of this tour are also seen on the Star Chamber, Historic and Violet City Lantern Tours.

Duration: 2 hours
Distance: 1 miles (1.6 km)
Total Stairs: 160
Difficulty: Moderate
Ages: All ages. Youth under the age of 16 years, must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older.
Restrooms: No
Fees: $19 Adults, $15 Youth, $9.50 Senior Pass Holder, $9.50 Access Pass Holder.

At 4 hours long, this lengthy tour explores the geologic diversity of what Mammoth Cave has to offer. Going through slot canyons, tubular passageways, tall canyons, and tunnels sparkled with gypsum, this tour is the longest walking tour we offer. This tour also encounters hundreds of steps and ascends and descends many tall, incredibly steep hills. Covering a wide variety of the history and geology of Mammoth Cave, this tour is ideal for those wishing for a lengthy, half-day hike inside of the cave. 

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.

Duration: 4 hours
Distance: 4 miles (6.4 km)
Total Stairs: 1313
Difficulty: Strenuous
Ages: 6 years and older. Youth under the age of 16 years, must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older.
Restrooms: Yes
Fees: $35 Adults, $27 Youth, $17.50 Senior Pass Holder, $17.50 Access Pass Holder.

A beautiful cave in its own right, Great Onyx Cave houses an abundance of beautiful geologic formations that sparkle in the lantern light of this tour. Visitors on this tour can see many stalactites, stalagmites, gypsum crystals, and helictites. This cave was also the site of very important cultural history in the early days of Kentucky cave tourism. This tour is ideal for people with an interest in cave tourism history and unusual rock formations. Please note: this tour is in Great Onyx Cave, which is separate from Mammoth Cave.  

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

Duration: 2.25 hours
Distance: 1 miles (1.6 km)
Total Stairs: 40
Difficulty: Moderate
Ages: 6 years and older. Youth under the age of 16 years, must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older.
Restrooms: No
Fees: $23 Adults, $18 Youth, $11.50 Senior Pass Holder, $11.50 Access Pass Holder.

This classic Mammoth Cave Tour visits many of the historic areas that originally made Mammoth Cave famous. Going through tunnels that humans have used for thousands of years, this tour not only explores huge rooms that gave Mammoth Cave its name, but also descends to much tighter places deep inside the cave. Please note that this tour ascends and descends hundreds of stairs and several steep inclines, which can be difficult for many visitors, as there are no alternative routes. This tour is ideal for people with an interest in history and a sense of adventure.  

This tour is seen in its entirety on the River Styx Modified Tour.

Duration: 2 hours
Distance: 2 miles (3.2 km)
Total Stairs: 540, including 155 at Mammoth Dome
Difficulty: Moderate
Ages: All ages. Youth under the age of 16 years, must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older.
Restrooms: Yes
Fees: $20 Adults, $15 Youth, $10 Senior Pass Holder, $10 Access Pass Holder.

An introductory tour into the Historic Entrance, this section of cave houses many great artifacts left behind by historic and prehistoric people. Staying along broad walkways in some of the largest rooms in Mammoth Cave, this tour is ideal for those who do not like tight spaces, have small children, or anyone looking for a tour with limited steps. This tour is the guided version of the self-guided Discovery Tour.

Includes part of the Historic Modified Tour and all of the Discovery Self-Guided Modified Tour routes. Includes a steep outdoor hillside trail to and from the cave’s natural entrance. This tour does not see dripstone formation areas.

Duration: 1.25 hours
Distance: 0.75 miles (1.2 km)
Total Stairs: 130
Difficulty: Easy
Ages: All ages. Youth under the age of 16 years, must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older.
Restrooms: No
Fees: $11 Adults, $9 Youth, $5.50 Senior Pass Holder, $5.50 Access Pass Holder

Following along the Historic Tour Route, this tour focuses on the unique geologic and natural history of Mammoth Cave. Including a brief side trip to the underground water level, this tour takes an in-depth look at the millions of years of formation of Mammoth Cave. This tour is ideal for visitors with a high interest in geology. 

Please use extra caution when visiting the river level. To access this section of the cave the tour leaves modern tour trail to uneven terrain that may be wet, muddy, and/or slick. The tour route travels next to bodies of water, some of which can be very deep depending on river levels. Viewing of this area will also be conducted with electric lanterns and not the modern lighting system on the rest of the route.

This tour covers the entire Historic Modified Tour route. Limited sections of the Mammoth Passage Modified Tour and Discovery Self-Guided Modified Tours are also seen.

Duration: 2.5 hours
Distance: 2.5 miles (4 km)
Total Stairs: Approximately 600, including 155 at Mammoth Dome.
Difficulty: Moderate
Ages: All ages. Youth under the age of 16 years, must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older.
Restrooms: Yes
Fees: $22 Adults, $16 Youth, $11 Senior Pass Holder, $11 Access Pass Holder.

A truly historic way to experience Mammoth Cave, this tour travels exclusively by lantern light. At three hours long, this tour winds through the history and prehistory of Mammoth Cave as you wander through huge, broad tunnels. This tour climbs and descends many incredibly steep hills on historic dirt trails as you experience the cave in the light of the earliest explorers. This tour is ideal for visitors who like to hike and are wanting a unique way to experience the cave. Please note that this tour, at 3 hours long, has no restroom facilities available.  

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.

Duration: 3 hours
Distance: 3 miles (4.8 km)
Total Stairs: 160 and numerous hills with no handrails.
Difficulty: Strenuous
Ages: 6 years and older. Youth under the age of 16 years, must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older.
Restrooms: No
Fees: $25 Adults, $20 Youth, $12.50 Senior Pass Holder, $12.50 Access Pass Holder.

 

Other Cave Tours

Mammoth Cave offers numerous cave tours throughout the year. The selection of tours changes seasonally and with staffing availability. You can read descriptions and learn more about these other cave tours before planning your trip to the park. Check back with our cave tour schedule or park calendar to see future offerings of these other cave tours.

Last updated: October 25, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

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

Phone:

270 758-2180

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