Mammoth Cave National Park is a U.S. National Park located in central Kentucky. The Mammoth Cave is in Edmondson County, near Green River, about 75 miles from Louisville. Mammoth Cave is known as the longest cave system in the world. The park was established as a National Park on July 1, 1941 and became a World Heritage Site on October 27, 1981. Also was declared an international Biosphere Reserve on September 26, 1990. The park extends on an area of 52,835 acres.
With over 390 miles of passageways Mammoth Cave is by far the world’s longest known cave system, being well over twice as long as the second-longest cave system, which is South Dakota’s Jewel Cave that has about 150 miles of known passageways. The cave is 379 feet deep, and contains at least 5 levels of passages. It is one of North America’s oldest tourist attractions. Tours have been operating at Mammoth Cave since 1816.
About 350 million years ago the Kentucky area was a shallow sea. As the water dropped, the land evolved into layers of sandstone on top and limestone underneath, creating unique conditions for cave formation. The underground rooms and tunnels were formed by rivers and whirlpools. As a result of water corrosion you can find in Mammoth Cave National Park 350 miles of explored territory and another 600 miles of undiscovered areas. These caves are home for the 130 species of animals including baths, crikets or some species of fish.
In this caves have been discovered aboriginal artifacts, dating back 2,000 to 4,000 years, indicating that early man may have lived in the cave entrances. Now you can choose between 13 tours inside the caverns that can take from 30 minutes to 6 hours. You can choose between the underground destinations like Grand Avenue, Frozen Niagara, and Fat Man’s Misery. You could also choose a wild tours venture away from the developed parts of the cave into muddy crawls and dusty tunnels. Until 1990’s one of the cave’s most famous attractions the Echo River Tour you could travel on a boat along an underground river. The tour was discontinued for logistic and environmental reasons.
In the 19th and 20th centuries from Mammoth Cave have been recovered several sets of Native American remains. In 1935 were discovered the remains of an adult male under a large boulder. The boulder had shifted and settled onto the victim which was a Columbian miner, who had disturbed the rubble supporting it. The remains of the ancient victim were named Lost John and were exhibited to the public into the 1970’s, when they were interred in a secret location in Mammoth Cave for reasons of preservation.
Mammoth Cave National Park has much to offer above ground as well as below. There are 60 miles of hiking trails through beautiful woodland hills made up of beech, black oak, white oak, poplar, and hickory. You can rent a horse to go on one of the many horseback trails. On the 31 miles of Green River waterway you can travel with a canoe. You can also fish here but you are not allowed to swim because of the depth of the river. The Green River Cruise boat ride offered several times a day is the perfect solution for elders or for people who love rivers but don’t want to paddle.
Thanks to the warm weather, from May through September is the best time to visit the Mammoth Cave National Park. By April, the snow is gone and temperatures are in a comfortable range of 13ºC at night and 24ºC during the day. The winter snows usually begin in November and, although the park is open, you can encounter some closed roads. The temperature cave can vary between 12.7ºC and 18ºC, so take a light jacket even in summertime if you go there. Also the cave floors and stairs can be slick and wet so take with you durable, flat-soled footwear that offers good traction.
If you like adventure you can stay here in a campground that offers you in excellent condition with new restroom buildings, fire pits, picnic tables and potable water. To do a backpack camping here you must first sign in with the rangers. For supplies, a small general store, as well as showers and a post office are all less than a one-mile walk from the campground and cave tours. For those who don’t wish to camp, you can stay in hotel rooms. You can go to a coffee shop for dinners which is located right next to the park headquarters. The rooms are clean and attractive with balconies that lead out to the lovely wooded creek. My advice for you if you want to stay in a hotel room here is to make an early booking because they are very crowded.
Along the route into the park, you can find rock shops, carnival type rides, family entertainment areas and a golf course where you can also have fun. I think is a perfect destination for a relaxing vacation especially if you are interested in caves an archaeology.