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Mammoth Cave National Park - Kentucky

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As a national park, World Heritage Site, and International Biosphere Reserve, Mammoth Cave is recognized worldwide as a unique and exemplary karst resource. Beneath the surface is the longest cave known to man. It extends at least 365 miles, with more discovered every year. Above the surface lie steep hills and valleys, winding rivers and woodlands re-grown from the farms and small communities that existed here before the park's establishment in 1941.

The park offers cave tours, camping, hiking, canoeing, picnicking, and horseback riding in a 52,830-acre hardwood forest, with 31 miles of the Green and Nolin Rivers and 70 miles of trails.

Mammoth Cave Trivia

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1. 138 species make use of the cave on a regular basis - 42 of these are troglobites, adapted exclusively to life in the cave. Blind fish, crayfish and the Kentucky cave shrimp are eyeless and colorless.

2. Prehistoric people scraped minerals from the cave walls between 2,000 and 4,000 years ago, and left behind slippers, gourds, and torch sticks that are perfectly preserved in the cave's constant environment.

3. In 1838, three young slaves were leased to the owner of Mammoth Cave to guide the visiting public into the cavern. Nick Bransford, Mat Bransford, and Stephen Bishop became well-known personalities and discovered many of the passageways still shown on tours today.

Mammoth Cave Attractions

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1. Cave tours are offered year round, ranging from an easy '-mile stroll to 5 miles of crawling, climbing, and sliming. Blackouts in the cave's total darkness, when guides purposely turn off all the lights, are a favorite memory of returning visitors. Enjoy a quiet hike in the 300-acre Big Woods, an old-growth remnant on the north side of Green River.

2. Take a twilight stroll around the Sloan's Crossing Pond Walk to the riotous croak-buzz-and-squawk of frogs, bugs, and water birds.

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