Old Guide's Cemetery

Headstones and grave markers sit in the ground covered with fallen leaves in a forest.
The Old Guide's Cemetery sits in a quiet woodland near the entrance to Mammoth Cave.

NPS Photo/ Deb Spillman

Quick Facts
Located off of the one-half mile Heritage Trail, and is located near the Mammoth Cave Visitor.
The Old Guide’s Cemetery is on the National Register of Historic Places for its local significance of being the burial place of Stephen Bishop, an African-American man famous for his exploring Mammoth Cave, as well as three patients from the 1842 Tuberculosis Experiment.
National Register of Historic Places

Cellular Signal, Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Wheelchair Accessible

The Old Guide’s Cemetery is the burial place of one of Mammoth Cave’s earliest cave guides, Stephen Bishop. Bishop was an African-American man who spent almost 20 years guiding cave tours of Mammoth Cave, first as an enslaved guide and then as a free man. He is considered by many to be the most famous cave guide and explorer in Mammoth Cave’s history. The stories of his discoveries inside the cave are shared with hundreds of park visitors annually.  

The cemetery is the resting place of several members of the surrounding communities, dating from the early 1840’s to the late 1850’s. Also buried here are three patients who died during the experimental Tuberculosis cure treatment held within Mammoth Cave during the winter of 1842. Several of the stone huts where the patients lived can still be found within the cave and are viewable on several tours offered to the public.  

The Old Guide’s Cemetery is one of approximately 80 cemeteries located within Mammoth Cave National Park and is included in the National Register of Historic Places. It is located near the visitor center, off of the half-mile long Heritage Trail that connects to several other trails in the park. 

Mammoth Cave National Park

Last updated: December 18, 2020