Summer 2018

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 26 - August 18, 2018

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 8:30, 9:15, 11:30, 4:15
Historic Tour 10:00, 11:30, 12:45, 1:45, 2:45, 3:15, 3:45
Domes and Dripstones Tour 8:45, 9:30, 10:00, 11:15, 12:15, 12:45, 2:00, 3:45
Mammoth Cave Accessible Tour 9:45, 12:45
Grand Avenue Tour 9:00, (11:00 Mon - Fri)
Violet City Lantern Tour 2:30
Wild Cave Tour 9:00 (Mon - Fri)
Star Chamber Tour 6:15 p.m.
Surface Walks & Programs - Free! Departures
Sand Cave Almanac Caravan 1:00
Nature Track for Kids 1:00
Heritage Walk 3:30
Echo River Spring Walk 3:45
Porch Talk 4:00
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: 30
Price: $14 Adults, $10 Youth, $7 Special Access
Tour Times: 8:30, 9:15, 11:30, 4:15
Want to make a reservation? Click here
To view what part of Mammoth Cave this tour covers click here.

 
View of Broadway on the Historic Tour
View of Broadway on the Historic Tour.

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, 11:30, 12:45, 1:45, 2:45, 3:15, 3:45
Want to make a reservation? Click here
To view what part of Mammoth Cave this tour covers 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: 8:45, 9:30, 10:00, 11:15, 12:15, 12:45, 2:00, 3:45
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: 9:45, 12:45
Want to make a reservation? Click here
To view what part of Mammoth Cave this tour covers 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.

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: 9:00
Want a reservation? Click here
To view what part of Mammoth Cave this tour covers click here.

 
Remains of a 19th century tubuerculosis hut on the Violet City Lantern Tour
Remains of a 19th century tuberculosis hut 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 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: 2:30
Want to make a reservation? Click here
To view what part 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: 200
Difficulty: Moderate
Ticket Capacity: 40
Price: $20 Adults, $15 Youth, $10 Special Access
Tour Times: 6:15 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

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.

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* (see note below)
To view what part of Mammoth Cave this tour covers click here.

*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.

 
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
Face the darkness - and the challenge. Journey with experienced guides and a small adult group through some of the starkly beautiful yet physically demanding "wild" areas of the cave. Climb, crawl, squeeze, hike and canyon walk in the realms of Mammoth Cave. See places no other tour encounters and feel the thrill of exploration!

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: 9:00 (Mon. - Fri.)
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

 
Headstone of Stephen Bishop
Headstone of Stephen Bishop.

Heritage Walk
This easy walk uses the 3/4 mile Heritage Trail, adjacent to the Mammoth Cave Hotel. The ranger shares stories of the old Mammoth Cave Estate and the changes to the cultural landscape and perceptions through the late 18th and early 20th centuries. Includes a walk to the Old Guides Cemetery where former enslaved cave guide Stephen Bishop now rests.

Duration: 45 minutes
Distance: 3/4 mile (1.2 km)
Difficulty: Easy - wheelchair accessible
Trip Times: 3:30

 
Echo River Spring
Echo River Springs Walk
(Wheelchair Accessible)

Visitors of all ages can join a Park Ranger for a short and easy walk to Echo River Springs. An underground river inside Mammoth Cave surfaces at this spring and flows out to nearby Green River. The ranger will share some of the challenges of living with this karst landscape -- both on the surface and inside the cave system.

Duration: 45 minutes
Distance: ¼ mile (0.4 km)
Difficulty: Easy
Times: 3:45
Meets at: Echo River Spring Trailhead

 
Ranger With Visitors
Ranger with visitors at a porch talk.

Porch Talk
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: 4:00

 
Campfire
Campfire

Evening Program
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 14, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

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

Phone:

(270) 758-2180

Contact Us