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“Not Bad for a National Park” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Headquarters Campground

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Headquarters Campground
P.O. Box 7, Mammoth Cave National Park, KY 42259   |  
Hotel amenities
Fredericksburg, Virginia
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Not Bad for a National Park”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2013

We enjoyed our stay in the park a little more than the campground but it had all that we needed. The showers were adequate but a little distance from the camping area. The site was a decent size for our two tents but had lots of poison ivy. The picnic table was a cement thing that was not very comfortable but, again did it's job. We rented bikes at the little store and they didn't even have enough helmets for the bikes which looked like they had been serviced once ten years ago. We did enjoy our stay and had fun biking around. The cave tour was also very enjoyable.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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20 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2013

Our family of five, including three youngsters, had a great time. We tent-camped three nights and were amazed at the abscence of mosquitoes (thanks to the bats). The yellow jackets were around but not terribly annoying around our Loop A site. We noticed one camp site in Loop C that was closed off due to a yellow jacket nest being nearby. Yikes! The NPS should do something about this. Last I checked, yellow jackets weren't endangered or anything. There are emerald ash borer traps up in the trees. How about yellow jacket traps!?!?

The proximity to the Visitor's Center and tours cannot be overstated. It's incredibly convienent. The hotel is a musty, damp throwback to a time best forgotten. That said, the AC in the lobby was a welcome relief from the humidity. The restaurants were decent, except the Troglobite, which only accepts cash and has a menu of typical fattening garbage. I'd rather hunt for my lunch in the woods than pay for that junk.

Our family had a wonderful time and the little ones loved the cave tours. Hopefully before we come next time, a new sinkhole will open under the hotel, a new yellow jacket disease will sweep through the park and Obama will be out of office so the sequester-nonsense that ended most of the cave tours (you're telling me Obama couldn't think of anything else to cut in the federal budget?!?!) will pass and services the American people actually want from the federal government (like the full range of cave tours from their NPS rangers) will be reinstated.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2013

Though we had been to the park for cave tours before, this was our first stay at the campground. The campsites were clean, flat, well-shaded, and spacious enough for our needs. The bathrooms were also clean. It was a only a 10 minute walk from our campsite to the visitor's center. And it was incredibly quiet during the night. Others have already commented that there are virtually no mosquitoes in the park, and I can confirm that. Instead there was a large population of fireflies, which kept the kids busy in the evening. The showers are $2, but to use them, you must buy tokens at the camp store. Be sure to do your business before they close at 8 pm. We lost track of time at night and had to drive to Cave City for ice. If at all possible, make reservations for your cave tours. Otherwise, plan on being at the visitor's center first thing in the morning. I arrived five minutes after they opened, and there were already 30 people in line and one sold out tour time.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Asheville, North Carolina
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2013

The Mammoth Cave NP campground is clean, full of trees, and has campsites adequately spaced between one another. We camp in a small RV, and we go out in the woods for the peace and quiet of nature. This park allows generator use from early morning till late evening (10:00, I seem to remember). To be blasted by generator noise almost constantly is not necessary. I truly feel sorry for the many tent campers who use the park. This problem could so easily be eliminated by greatly limiting generator use hours or by having a camping loop dedicated to those who wish to use generators. Other than that, the campground is a perfect choice for easy walking to the Mammoth Cave visitor center, plus a nice camp store and a post office. The price is, as with all national parks, a bargain. No hookups-- but there is a showering facility for public use at a small fee.

Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Detroit, Michigan
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2013

We stayed three nights here and really enjoyed the campsite. The site itself was spacious and had nice shade. We had deer walking through every morning and again aat night. The bathrooms were ok. The showers cost $2 for ten minutes and are pretty gross, so if you can get away with it, it's best to avoid them. We're used to rustic, though, so it was fine for us.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Binghamton, New York
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2013

Reading reviews on Tripadvisor Mammoth Cave forum, I contemplated hard whether we should stay at surrounding campground (such as Nolin Lake) but I am glad I settled for this one. We went on 8:45 am and 7:15 pm cave tours and if we were camping in Nolin Lake, as it turned out, it would have taken a good half-an-hour drive including (albeit) a free fun ferry ride over Green River to get to the park visitor center where the tours began. I've read that early morning tours are the least crowded, but on my tour there were still good number of people, maybe around some 40 or 50, so I don't know how many people are on that tour later in the day. As I remember, the full tour capacity is something like 100 or 200. Lantern tour in the evening was fun, too. We also went to a couple of surface tour too, and it was nice to just get up and go at the time of those tours.

The campground is only 5 min ride on bike from the visitor center - a very pleasant ride. You can also hike there through a short trail in the woods past amphitheater where rangers do evening campfire talks. We didn't get to go there, but we wish we had.

Our old bikes came in handy to go to camp store, where shower, laundry and post office (surprised, but a nice touch) are also located. Bring headlights too in the evening, as it gets a little dark after the sun goes down. Shower is $2 per generous 10 minutes. I heard people complaining it is too expensive, and it may have been so, but you can return the tokens you didn't use to the store and this shower at Mammoth Cave was hot and had good water pressure, and lasted long enough for me to come out refreshed. Mind you it's not a hotel room shower, but it's clean enough and definitely serves the purpose. I thought the laundry in an adjacent room was also a very nice touch - it cost me $1 both for washer and dryer to use. Old machines, but they were such wonderful things to have around when our clothes got drenched wet & muddy after hiking in thunderstorm!

I liked fire rings at campsites too - I've never seen a fire ring on a campground with a grill that can adjust its height. I thought that was pretty cool.

Also, the picnic table - at first I didn't like the fact that it was not a wooden table that I'm used to, but I quickly realized that this 'cement' table was slightly bigger, and also, I can potentially, actually *cook* something there, IF you bring a Lodge charcoal tabletop grill or something (which I didn't, but I wish I did). But one must always use fire ring in the campground, to make fire, so be aware of that. Lodge tabletop grill is sort of encased, so I thought it would work on this table, though. Anyway, I thought this was an interesting difference from our camping experience in New York and Maine.

WiFi is available just outside of the campground office as you enter the premise. There is a picnic table there and you'll see people sitting there hovering over their cell phones and laptops.

The ground is flat, so that's good news for tent campers. There was a paved area for cars, and I liked to keep dish buckets on there, keeping it from mud splash from rain.

Bathroom is air-conditioned and very clean! This was the first time for me to camp in a southern state and this made sense to me as it was muggy and hot outside. I was used to cobwebs at campground bathrooms, but no such things. A nice touch!

About the crowd on the campground - it was an interesting situation, because while we stayed on the campground for four nights, we experienced a thunder storm on the second night. People seem to have dissipated - but the next night was Friday I believe, and the place was almost full, and also a bit noisy because some people kept talking into the night - they weren't particularly loud or anything, but they just won't stop talking until past midnight, and as a tent camper, that was not a good situation.

As some reviewers point out, some sites may be a tad too close to the road - so I would pick sites carefully.

As for bugs - there were some of those yellow jackets but they didn't bother us. What was great though is that I had no mosquito bites from 4 days of camping, thanks to the wonderful bats of Mammoth Cave!

Overall, we had a great time camping there. People were friendly and the caves, biodiversity, and histories of the place were just so interesting - it is deservedly a World Heritage Site.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chula Vista, California
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
105 helpful votes 105 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013

We stayed on a Thursday night in June at the Mammoth Cave Campground. We had a reservation, but there were several sites that were vacant. People arriving without a reservation wouldn't have had a problem finding a campsite. However, I would imagine that the campground is full on the summer weekends. The campground is close to the visitor's center, hotel, and store. The campground has flush toilets that were fairly clean. The pathway to the bathroom was lined with lights at night. The campground was mostly wooded and there was enough distance between sites. Our site was flat, as were all of the others. The campground was quiet at night. The only complaint that we have is that someone was smoking pot near our campsite. We felt that this was completely inappropriate since we had children traveling with us and so did most of the other campers. We never saw the campground host or knew where they were located otherwise we would have reported this camper.

The other lodging in the park didn't look so welcoming. We had no problem with yellow jackets, other insects, or animals while camping. We were happy with our decision to camp and will stay at this campground again the next time we visit Mammoth Cave.

Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Headquarters Campground

Address: P.O. Box 7, Mammoth Cave National Park, KY 42259
Location: United States > Kentucky > Mammoth Cave National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 6 Specialty lodging in Mammoth Cave National Park

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