Summer 2019

Summer view from the Green River Bluffs Trail
Summer view from the Green River Bluffs Trail.

Photo from B. Carson files

Summer at Mammoth Cave is full of opportunities for adventure both above and below ground. The lush tree covered ridges and valley floors provide a perfect setting to enjoy approximately 70 miles of our nature trails. The Green River provides visitors a beautiful and peaceful setting to canoe or just slowly drift along its gentle current. Of course, there is also the Mammoth Cave itself. The entrance exhales its cool breath on those who enter its realm providing not only a physical relief from hot summer days, but also the exhilaration of discovery! We would love for you to come join us as you experience your America.

Our summer schedule runs May 25 - August 17, 2019

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

Tickets are required to enter Mammoth Cave. Reservations are not required, but are strongly recommended. Cave tours frequently sell out and reservations are the only way to ensure a spot is available for you and/or your party. Please plan accordingly. 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
Frozen Niagara Tour 9:15, 11:30, 4:30
Historic Tour 10:00, 12:45, 3:15, 3:45
Extended Historic Tour 9:00
Domes and Dripstones Tour 10:00, 11:00, 12:15, 12:45, 2:15, 2:45
Mammoth Cave Accessible Tour 9:30, 1:30
Gothic Avenue Tour 8:45
Grand Avenue Tour 9:45, 11:45
Violet City Lantern Tour 2:15
River Styx Tour 3:30
Trog Tour 9:00 Saturday & Sunday
Introduction to Caving Tour 1:30 Saturday & Sunday
Wild Cave Tour 10:00 - Not Offered Wednesdays
Star Chamber Tour 6:30 p.m.
Self-Guided Discovery Tour 10:00 - 2:00* Offered as visitation warrants. See tour description for details
Surface Walks & Programs - Free! Departures
Sand Cave Almanac Caravan 1:00
Nature Track for Kids 1:00
Sloans Pond Walk 3:45
Porch Talk 3:00
Evening Program 7:30 p.m.

 
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 (0.4 km)
Total Stairs: 12, plus an optional 98
Difficulty: Easy
Ticket Capacity: 34
Price: $14 Adults, $10 Youth, $7 Special Access
Tour Times: 9:15, 11:30, 4:30
Want to make a reservation? Click here
To view what part of Mammoth Cave this tour covers click here.

 
Historic Entrance
The Historic Entrance to Mammoth Cave

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 (3.6 km)
Total Stairs: 440, including 155 at Mammoth Dome
Difficulty: Moderate
Ticket Capacity: 110
Price: $17 Adults, $12 Youth, $8.50 Special Access, $6 Educational Rate
Tour Times: 10:00, 12:45, 3:15, 3:45
Want to make a reservation? Click here
To view what part of Mammoth Cave this tour covers click here.

 
Tuberculosis Hut
Remains of a 19th century tuberculosis hut seen on the Extended Historic Tour route.
Extended Historic Tour
Take a walk along the Historic Tour route with a side trip to visit an underground hospital used in the 1840’s to treat consumptive patients. Your journey through the natural entrance will take you past saltpeter mining operations and across the Bottomless Pit as you wind through small passages and visit the beautiful Mammoth Dome.

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

To view what part of Mammoth Cave this tour covers
click here.

Duration: 2 hours 15 minutes
Distance: 2 miles (3.2 km)
Total Stairs: 540, including 155 at Mammoth Dome
Difficulty: Moderate
Ticket Availability Per Tour: 60
Price: $18 Adults, $13 Youth, $9 Special Access

Tour Times: 9:00
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
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 (1.2 km)
Total Stairs: 500, including 280 on the initial staircase descent
Difficulty: Moderate
Ticket Capacity: 110
Price: $17 Adults, $12 Youth, $8.50 Special Access
Tour Times: 10:00, 11:00, 12:15, 12:45, 2:15, 2:45
Want to make a reservation? Click here
To view what part of Mammoth Cave this tour covers click here.

 
Accessibility tour in Cleaveland Avenue
Accessibility tour in Cleaveland Avenue.

Mammoth Cave Accessible Tour

Accessibility Alert: This is an ACCESSIBLE TOUR. This tour is accessible for persons with a disability or otherwise limited physical mobility. 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.

See unique gypsum formations, historic cave writing and more on accessible cave trails. Using the elevator entrance, this ½ mile round trip provides visitors with special needs an opportunity to visit the Snowball Room and includes portions of the Cleaveland Avenue Tour and Grand Avenue Tour. Wheelchairs, scooters and other assistive devices are allowed. Accessible restrooms are available in the Snowball Room.

Please note that transportation or mobility assistive devices such as wheelchairs, scooters, walkers or canes are permitted on this tour, but are not available. NPS employees will not transport or aid visitors in using assistive equipment. If visitors need assistance with the Park’s accessible features, they must bring a companion with them for aid. Assistive devices will need to be decontaminated upon exiting the cave to limit the spread of White Nose Syndrome.

Participants and their companions meet at the Visitor Center for a caravan in their personal vehicles to drive approximately 2 miles to the elevator entrance.

Notice: Due to only having one elevator, this tour could be cancelled on short notice for elevator maintenance/repair.

Duration: 2 hours
Distance: ½ mile maximum (0.8 km)
Total Stairs: No stairs
Difficulty: Easy - Accessible
Ticket Capacity: 14
Price: $20 Adults, $14 Youth, $10 Special Access
Tour Times: 9:30, 1:30
Want to make a reservation? Click here
To view what part of Mammoth Cave this tour covers click here.

 
Hundreds of signatures are left from the 1800s in Register Hall in Gothic Avenue.
Hundreds of signatures are left from the 1800s in Register Hall in Gothic Avenue.

Gothic Avenue Tour
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 ½ miles (2.4 km)
Total Stairs: 160
Difficulty: Moderate
Ticket Availability Per Tour: 40
Price: $15 Adults, $10 Youth, $7.50 Special Access
Tour Times: 8:45
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.

*The Grand Avenue Tour will only be available through Labor Day. Due to a large scale trail project after this season the Grand Avenue Tour will be closed for two years while work is ongoing.

Age Limit: 6 and over
Duration: 4 hours
Distance: 4 miles (6.4 km)
Total Stairs: Nearly 700
Difficulty: Very Strenuous
Ticket Capacity: 78
Price: $30 Adults, $23 Youth, $15 Special Access
Tour Time: 9:45, 11:45
Want a reservation? Click here
To view what part of Mammoth Cave this tour covers click here.

 
Chief City
Chief City 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 primitive & 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 (4.8 km)
Total Stairs: 160 and numerous hills with no hand rails
Difficulty: Strenuous
Ticket Capacity: 38
Price: $20 Adults, $15 Youth, $10 Special Access
Tour Times: 2:15
Want to make a reservation? Click here
To view what part of Mammoth Cave this tour covers click here.

 
Dead Sea on the River Styx Tour
Dead Sea on the River Styx Tour
River Styx Cave Tour*
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.

This tour covers the entire Historic Tour route. Limited sections of the Star Chamber, Violet City Lantern, Mammoth Passage and Mammoth Cave Discovery Tours are also seen.

*Please use extra caution when visiting the river level. To access this sectionof 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.


Duration: 2 ½ hours
Distance: 2 ½ miles (4 km)
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Change: 360’
Participant Limit: 40
Total Stairs: Approximately 600, including 155 at Mammoth Dome
Prices: $18 Adult, $13 Youth, $9 Special Access
Want to make a reservation?
Click here
To view what section of Mammoth Cave this tour covers click here
 
Star Chamber
Star Chamber.

NPS Photo by Jackie 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 (3.2 km)
Total Stairs: 160
Difficulty: Moderate
Ticket Capacity: 40
Price: $20 Adults, $15 Youth, $10 Special Access
Tour Times: 6:30 p.m.
Want to make a reservation? Click here
To see what part of Mammoth Cave this tour covers click here.

 
Rotunda
The Rotunda on the Discovery Tour Route
Discovery Tour*
*(Offered as visitation warrants - Please see note below)

Visit the Rotunda, one of the largest rooms in the cave and explore a vast canyon passageway. Learn about prehistoric American Indian explorers, saltpeter mining operations, and basic cave geology on this self-guiding tour. Rangers are stationed along the route to give short talks and answer questions. This is a short introductory tour.

Includes part of the Historic Tour and all of the Mammoth Passage Tour routes. Offered as visitation warrants. Call the Park the day of your visit to check availability. Includes a steep outdoor hillside trail to and from the cave’s natural entrance.

*This tour is self-guided. Rangers are located inside the cave along the route, and are available for questions. Tickets are day of sale only and therefore cannot be purchased by reservation. The Mammoth Passage Tour may be run in place of the Discovery Tour depending on staff availability and as visitation warrants. The Mammoth Passage Tour covers the same area of Mammoth Cave, but is run as a guided tour.

Duration: ½ hour
Distance: ¾ mile (1.2 km)
Total Stairs: 160
Difficulty: Easy
Price: $6 Adults, $4 Youth, $3 Special Access
Tour Times: 10:00 - 2:00*
To view what part of Mammoth Cave this tour covers click here.
 
A Trog Tour exiting the Historic Entrance to 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 millions of bats in the eastern United States, Mammoth Cave National Park has instituted stringent disinfection 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 and last 30 minutes of the tour to assist children in "suiting up" at the tour's beginning and assist with White Nose Syndrome shoe cleaning protocol at the end of the tour. Sturdy, athletic style, closed toe shoes required. Please bring extra pair of tennis shoes or sandals for use during shoe cleaning at the end of the tour. Requires at least 2 participants. The tour meets at the hotel dorms near the tennis courts. It is recommended that tickets are picked up 30 minutes before tour departure. Due to the amount of time parents are required to attend at the beginning and end of the tour, time does not permit the taking of a concurrent tour.

Age Limit: Children ages 8 - 12
Duration: 2 ¾ hours
Distance: 1 ½ miles
Total Stairs: 200
Difficulty: Moderate
Tour Capacity: 12
Price: $20 Youth, $10 Special Access
Tour Times: 9:00 Saturday & Sunday
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 millions of 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 ½ hours
Distance: 1 mile (1.6 km)
Total Stairs: 280+
Difficulty: Strenuous
Tour Capacity: 20
Price: $30 Adults, $24 Youth, $15 Special Access
Tour Times: 1:30 Saturday & Sunday
Want to make a reservation? Click here

 
An appropriate pair of boots for the Wild Cave Tour.
A pair of boots meeting the requirements for the Wild Cave & Introduction to Caving Tours.

Wild Cave Tour
The most extreme tour offered at Mammoth Cave, this crawling tour is an all-day adventure underground. Focusing on a wide variety of topics such as the history of Mammoth Cave exploration, this tour is very physically demanding. Lengthy amounts of time will be spent crawling through extremely tight crawl spaces and climbing through difficult areas. This tour is ideal for people who wish to spend the entire day performing a wide variety of extremely challenging physical obstacles in a unique environment.

In order to minimize the spread of White Nose Syndrome, a fungus that has resulted in the death of millions of 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. PLEASE READ: Sturdy, lace-up hiking boots that cover the ankle are required. Boots with zippers will not be admitted on the tour. Boots must have good aggressive 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. There will be no food service in the Snowball Room. 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 (8 km)
Difficulty: Extremely Strenuous
Ticket Capacity: 14
Price: $60, $30 Special Access
Tour Times: 10:00 (Not Offered Wednesdays)
Want to make a reservation? Click here

 

MAMMOTH CAVE NATIONAL PARK SURFACE ACTIVITIES
Free of charge

 
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) (8.4 km)
Difficulty: Easy - Sand Cave Trail is wheelchair accessible
Trip Time: 1:00

 
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: 1:00

 
Ranger With Visitors
Ranger with visitors at a porch talk.

Porch Talk (Wheelchair Accessible)
Join a park ranger for a brief discussion for one of the many subjects centered in Mammoth Cave National Park. Topics range from the rich cultural history to one of the many disciplines associated with the park's natural history. No matter what the topic, there's surely something to learn and enjoy with this small group setting with a park ranger.

Duration: Approximately 15 minutes
Program Times: 3:00

 
Sloan's Pond
Ranger standing at an overlook at Sloan's Pond.
Sloan's Crossing Pond Walk (Wheelchair Accessible)
Come enjoy one of the more rare surface features of the park. Sinkoles and cavernous limestone rock often keep the surface free from ponds and standing water. However, Sloan's Crossing Pond is one of the few areas to find an aquatic ecosystem above ground. Join a park ranger for a look at the diversity of life and history in this micro-ecosystem along an accessible boardwalk.

Duration: 1 hour
Distance: 0.4 miles (0.6 km)
Difficulty: Easy
Times: 3:45
Meets at: Sloan's Crossing Pond Trailhead
 
Campfire
Campfire

Evening Program (Accessible)
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 - wheelchair accessible
Campfire Program Times: 7:30 p.m.

Last updated: August 6, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

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

Phone:

(270) 758-2180

Contact Us