Mammoth Cave National Park is the home of the world’s most extensive known cave system. Currently, 426 miles of passages have been mapped. Fortunately, there are a variety of Mammoth Cave tours to experience the cave.
YES! You must have a tour ticket to enter the cave.
Mammoth Cave Tours
There are lots of options for Mammoth Cave tours. Different lengths and difficulty levels are available.
Don’t wait until the last minute! Space is limited for Mammoth Cave tours, so purchase your tour tickets in advance!
We only had one day to spend on our trip at Mammoth Cave. So we picked 2 tours: The Historic Tour and the Domes and Dripstones Tour.
Getting Ready for a Mammoth Cave Tour
Choosing the Right Tour: The National Park Service offers many choices of Mammoth Cave tours. These vary from .25 miles to 4 miles in length and are rated easy to difficult.
When selecting a tour, read the descriptions closely because some tours include the same areas.
Clothing: Mammoth Cave averages about 54°F. This temperature did not feel cold to me. A coat would be too hot, considering all the stairs. I recommend wearing a long sleeve t-shirt or short sleeves with a very light jacket.
Footwear: Wear good, sturdy shoes. (I wore my favorite Merrells.) Leave your flip-flops or strappy sandals at home. On many Mammoth Cave tours, you’ll be climbing stairs, so you want your shoes to stay on your feet!
Photography: No flash photography is allowed in the cave. Also, the NPS doesn’t allow tripods or monopods. Since there is low lighting, I found it better to use my phone camera rather than lugging around the Canon.
The Restroom: Most tours don’t have a restroom, so plan accordingly!
Mammoth Cave Historic Tour
We started our day with the 10 am Historic Tour. This 2-hour tour gives visitors a glimpse of what the first explorers experienced when they entered the cave.
The entrance to this tour is near the visitor center.
While there are some tighter spaces, there are also broad passages and rooms. This Mammoth Cave tour is about 2 miles and is rated moderate.
Are there stairs? YES! According to the NPS, there are 540.
I counted 579, including walking up to the restaurant, an essential stop after a cave tour!
Domes and Dripstones Tour
Our 2-hour Domes and Dripstones Tour was at 2:45 pm, allowing us time for lunch.
Guests must ride a bus to get to the entrance of the Domes and Dripstones tours.
This tour is unique. It includes drapery formations at Frozen Niagra along with stalactites and stalagmites.
And the stairs? 500, according to the National Park Service. So it is rated difficult.
Clautrophobics beware! This tour begins with a descent on narrow twisty steep stairs. It has more tight passages than the Historic Tour. Guests often must walk single file.
We also saw lots of crickets on this Mammoth Cave tour. So if you have orthopterophobia, you might skip this one.
Mammoth Cave National Park is a great place to visit any time of year. No matter the weather, it’s comfortable and dry in the cave. And with all of the options for Mammoth Cave tours, I bet you’ll find one that fits your party.
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