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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Make the Most of Your Visit
Last updated: December 16, 2021