Visiting in Fall

September, October, and November

Red, orange, and yellow leaves decorate the forest canopy and reveals rolling hills and cliffsides. Late fall may bring frost flowers, delicate ice crystals emerging from plants, that appear in the cold morning temperatures, only to melt away by the afternoon. Cooler temperatures on the surface are welcomed by hikers and the popularity of cave tour remains high during the fall season.

 

Plan Your Fall Visit Navigation

 
A single tent in a campground
Fall can be a quiet time in the park campgrounds.

NPS Photo/ Jackie Wheet

Cave Tours

The shoulder season means that fewer cave tours are offered both in variety and frequency, but visitation to the park can remain high, especially in the early fall. Tour tickets during holidays and local schools fall break oftentimes sell out in advance, it is still always recommended to purchase your cave tour tickets in advance, as they are the only way to ensure a spot is available for your party. Availability of walk-up tickets is not guaranteed.

Several ranger-led surface programs are usually scheduled throughout the fall months, check at the visitor center when you arrive to see what programs are being offered that day.

Camping and Lodging

As the busy summer season starts to wind down, the park campgrounds take on a quieter pace. The Mammoth Cave Campground and Maple Springs Campground close for the season on November 30 and will not reopen until March 1. The Houchin Ferry Campground near the town of Brownsville, KY remains open year-round.

Most of the cabins and rooms for the Lodge at Mammoth Cave are available year-round. The one exception being the woodland cottages that do not have heat or A/C, they close for the season when the temperatures drop, usually around November 1. Other lodging and camping options are available year-round in nearby communities.

 
A simple white church building with red and orange leaves all around.
Three historic churches remain in the park, telling of the parks past history as the site of several communities.

NPS Photo/ Deb Spillman

Fall Weather

Fall is the driest season in the park and the humidity is on the decline bringing a welcome relief from the swelter of summer. During the first half of the season temperatures are still comfortably warm with daytime highs averaging in the 70s Fahrenheit (21.1°C) and nighttime low in the 50s Fahrenheit (10°C). As the season progresses the temperatures continue to drop bringing lows closer to freezing (32°F/0°C) in the latter half of the season.

See Fall Colors

The changing colors of leaves are often sought out by photographers and sightseers, but in this area of the state that annual color show doesn't usually begin to occur until late October. Taking a ridge-top hike to Sunset Point along the Heritage trail can give you easy access to a view of the colorful hillsides or taking a scenic drive to one of the three remaining historic churches in the park will give you a front row seat to the pops of color throughout the park.

 
A group of rangers and park visitors hiking on a trail
Rangers lead a group to explore the Sloans Crossing Pond area of the park.

NPS Photo/ Kait Evensen

Things To Do

Autumn is a popular time for hiking, with sparser foliage and cooler night temperatures ticks are much less plentiful, making the sunny days and changing colors even more worthwhile. More comfortable weather means a good time for longer visits to the backcountry on bike, horseback, or on foot.

Changing seasons also means a change in some of the wildlife commonly seen in the park, squirrels and rabbits begin to bulk up for the winter, deer grow a thicker coat, and migratory birds may be sighted in the park.

Early fall can also be a nice time to explore the park from the water before the temperatures drop. A day out on the river in a canoe or kayak can give you a different perspective of the hilly terrain and wildlife found in the park.

 

Make the Most of Your Visit

 

Last updated: December 16, 2021

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

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

Phone:

270 758-2180

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