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“A larger than life natural attraction - it's Mammoth!”

Mammoth Cave National Park
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: A mysterious limestone cave that has fascinated people for 4,000 years.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed June 18, 2013 via mobile

I've visited caves all over the world - but nothing prepared me for the enormity of Mammoth Caves. With 400 (!) miles of surveyed tunnels and caverns, in addition to an estimated 600 miles of unsurveyed area, Mammoth Caves is easily the largest cave system in the world. Carved out of a limestone bed 1000 feet deep and extending across three states, Mammoth was first explored over 4000 years ago. European settlers encountered it in early explorations and it has been an attraction since the end of the War of 1812.

Not as 'decorated' as some other cave systems, Mammoth impresses nonetheless with its sheer immensity. The main cavern, accessed by the 'Natural' entrance boggles the senses with it's vast volume. Descriptions are inadequate - you have to experience it yourself. (Take the 'Historical' tour to see it best.)

The most 'decorated' portion (think stalagmites, stalagtites, cave bacon, etc.) of the surveyed caverns is accessed on the 'New Entrance' tour.

There are many other tours available, including Caving 101, where actual spelunking is taught.

The guides we had on our tours were knowledgeable, engaging, and passionate about their underground world.

We were fortunate to go on the New Entrance tour with a group of only 18 (maximum tour capacity 120) so were able to stop many more places than usual.

Our larger (40 person) group on the Historical tour (maximum tour capacity 140) was easily accommodated by the huge caverns and tunnels, but we all couldn't be near the guide to hear his side comments while walking from stop to stop.

With so much to do underground, don't neglect the above ground attractions of the park with its extensive system of hiking and interpretive trails, and ranger-lead activities.

There's so much to experience, a 2 day stay would be pretty much the minimum. The 'luxe' hotel in the park has basic but comfortable accommodations (king bed, air conditioning, phones, private baths, tv, etc.), for around $85/night in June. There are cottages and other accommodations starting around $50 night (2 room cabin $65/night) with AAA discounts.

There's a variety of dining options. We ate supper and breakfast in the main dining room, and had reasonably priced meals of better than average quality for a concession restaurant. In fact the Southern skillet-fried chicken was excellent, as were the biscuits (which turned out to be Pillsbury frozen dough - but were extraordinarily light, fluffy as and flavorful; I don't know how they did it.). Local cherry preserves are served at the table, and are good enough that you'll want to buy a jar to take home. Portions are large (to huge), many dishes can easily be shared. My wife ordered the $8.95 'Caveman' breakfast that was so much food it could have easily fed us both - and a kid or two.

1  Thank 444RayS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,354 - 2,358 of 2,999 reviews

Reviewed June 18, 2013

We arrived on the way to another event and wanted to take the walking tour that was shorter and involved a bit less climbing/walking (for seniors with bad knees). The tour was scheduled for 9:15 and we arrived at 8:30 and went right to the box office. We stood in line for 25 minutes and when we got to the ticket seller were told that the tour we wanted was "sold out".
As we could not physically do the longer tours and could not wait around for 3 hours for the next "frozen niagara tour" we left. There were lots of people walking around to tell you about options, but only two people working the ticket windows. I have no idea why the tour was "sold out" or why, under that circumstance they could not do a second smaller tour to follow the main group. Essentially the attitude was you do it our way or go away. So, we went away.
If you are going to this site, I recommend you get reservations in advance (I did not explore that option when I went to the website), especially if you have a schedule, because the Park Service here is not at all interested in you needs.

1  Thank Les R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 17, 2013

liked wild cave tour, campgrounds & camp store & trails behind cave. Disliked walk from campground to cave entrance.

Thank Kevs442
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 17, 2013

I wish everyone would go and visit Mammoth Nat'l Park and take in the Caves. The Government has cut funding to 1/2, causing 1/2 of the tours to be cancelled. I feel the more to see such an Amazing attraction, the better the Park has to gain back some funding.
We took in the Niagara tour, due to bad feet and back. Still, what an eye opener, The Guides are so awesome, knowledgeable, and very personable. This makes for a great time for all.

Thank Jeffemail
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 17, 2013

Let me start off by saying, I thought I had written this review last summer when we visited! We were here last July of 2012. The temps outside were over 100, so heading down into a cave was a real treat!
We didn't purchase the expensive cave tours, we just did the "do it yourself" one. It was a great intro to the caves and they had a few guides around to answer questions and let you know about the sites. You could choose to keep going, or stop and listen to what they were saying, it was truly a "go at your own pace". They had us walk across a special disinfectant to help the bats and that was just fine.
It was a great tour, tickets were easy to get...fast and efficient. Helpful staff everywhere we looked. We would've like to have done more hiking along the trails and such, but the weather was just too hot, with no clouds to provide any relief. We already know we want to go back and purchase a regular tour and take advantage of all the things this great place has to offer!

Thank earnhardt8carfan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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