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Your guide to Mammoth Cave
All About Mammoth Cave
Mammoth Cave is a natural wonder in the heart of Kentucky, located midway between the major cities of Louisville and Nashville, Tennessee. Home to the world’s longest known cave system, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mammoth Cave National Park has just as much to do above ground as it does in the 400 miles of caverns that lie beneath it. There are over 53,000 acres of park with nearly 85 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, and you can spot muskrats and rare local species such as the Indiana brown bat.
Park rangers are posted at the Visitor Center on the southern side of the park to answer any questions you might have and host free guided hikes through the park. The Green and Nolin Rivers provide 30 miles of space to kayak or canoe. Outside of the park, there are a few nearby towns, including Cave City, where you can ride a zipline and see life-size dinosaur statues.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Mammoth Cave
Mammoth Cave is a major attraction year round, but be sure to bring a jacket when you visit as the caves’ interiors are cool regardless of the season. Summer is the most popular time to visit the caves and explore the rest of the park because of the temperate weather outside, but be prepared for a wait for some tours. The cooler days of spring and fall make them quieter times to arrive. Springfest in Old Louisville offers food trucks and local artwork in May. In late fall and winter, you’ll have much of the park to yourself, and September brings the Ten-Tucky Festival in Louisville, a series of plays by local professionals.
Top things to do in Mammoth Cave
The Sinkhole Trail
This two-and-a-half-mile trail is an accessible path through Mammoth Cave National Park. The route winds its way through moss-covered rock formations, past smaller caves, and across a wooden boardwalk. You’ll also be able to catch a few glimpses of the underground river that flows through the cave system.
Abraham Lincoln’s Birthplace National Historical Park
An hour’s drive northeast of Mammoth Cave National Park is the birthplace of America’s 16th president. This historic site in Hodgenville is home to pastoral trails following in the footsteps of the statesman’s boyhood play places, a large stone monument, and multiple exhibits where you can learn about his early life in rural Kentucky.
Historic Churches and Cemeteries
More than 600 families in 30 rural communities called Mammoth Cave their home before it became a national park in 1941. Learn about their history and lives at the four churches and adjacent cemeteries, such as the Old Guide’s Cemetery off the Heritage Trail and the Mammoth Cave Baptist Church.