Just under the green swaths of Kentucky Hills, lies the majestic labyrinth that is as mysterious as is beautiful. The Mammoth Cave National Park is a national park located in central Kentucky, encompassing portions of Mammoth Cave – the longest cave system in the world with more than 400 miles of surveyed passageways.

Interesting Facts about the Mammoth Cave National Park

The cave's name refers to the width and length of the passages connecting to the Rotunda inside the entrance. The name was used before the extensive cave system was fully explored to reveal the mammoth length of passageways. No mammoth fossils have ever been found in the cave, and the name of the cave has nothing to do with the extinct animal.

Mammoth Cave is a five-level cave system that will amaze you just like it has amazed explorers from around the world. What’s astonishing is the fact that many more caves are continuously being discovered even today.

Stephen Bishop, a cave guide during the 1840s and 1850s, was among the first ones to make extensive maps of the cave, and also named many of the cave's features. He described the cave as a “grand, gloomy and peculiar place.” On October 27, 1981, the Mammoth Cave National Park was declared as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.

Photo: Anna Harris/Flickr/ (CC BY-SA 2.0)

This is a beautiful place for rangers who want to explore and witness the eerie beauty of these caves. Most visitors dispense the story behind these caves to the outer world and also happen to share the real life incidents that happen to them while traversing these caves. An estimated 400,000 people visit this underground mystery each year and the popularity of these caves is only expected to increase in the years to come.

Photo: MargaretRiver.com/Flickr/ (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The caves also maintain the under-earth feeling for the visitors by minimizing the amount of garish lights. The guide will warn you about the darkness and the precautions that need to be taken while traversing these underground caves. Soon after, the guide switches off all the lights and lights a match, only to see astonished faces.

The Best Way to Reach Mammoth Cave National Park

The caves are closest to Interstate 65. You can arrive at Kentucky or Tennessee that are both about 85 miles away from I-65. From I-65 you have to head towards Ky 255 if you are coming from the north. And take the Ky.70 if you are headed from the south.

The Best Time to Visit

Well, you can visit these caves all year round. Since the temperatures inside the caves usually range from 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, they can be visited at any time of the year. Summers attract the most visitors and you can avoid it if you want a pleasant and less-crowded thrill inside these dark caves.

What’s in the Caves?

The real thrill starts when you enter the caves. You will have to purchase tickets to various available tours. You can pick one of the listed tours to suit your time and stamina.

• Historic Tour – This is a half-day tour and gives you the thrill of cave exploration and combines it with the rich history of these Mammoth Caves.

• Grand Avenue Tour – This is not for the weak-hearted. This tour combines 3 steep hills and cave exploration together. Its total length is 4 miles and you must remember to carry your essentials like sports shoes and drinking water. This tour ends with a river trip at River Styx Trail.

• Frozen Niagara Tour – If you are short on time or if you don’t want to strain too much, this 75-minute tour will suit you the most. It is about a quarter-mile long and will let you explore the caves.

• Wild Cave Tour – This is the toughest of the lot and is about 5 miles long. Wild Cave Tours happen every day during the summers and only during the weekends year-round.

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