Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Mammoth Caves National Park Historic Tour

Mammoth Cave,
Edmonson Co.,

Hiking Trails:
Historic Tour cave route

Total Time: 2 hours
Estimated Distance: 2 Miles

Pros: Large and famous cave
Cons: Large crowds on tour
Hike Type: Lollipop Loop
Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Google Maps of Parking:

I had been traveling with my family in Kentucky and Tennessee, and one of our stops was Mammoth Caves National Park. Aside from hosting the most extensive cave system in the world, Mammoth Cave is indeed massive, and the tour we took, the historic tour, feature an absolutely massive cave that is impressively large in width and height. 

There are many different cave tours, and they need to be booked. It is advisable to book in advance as cave tours fill up. We opted for the historic tour, to explore the main cave and the surrounding cave. The cave tours in summer are very large, with many people on our tour led by a national park service ranger.

This tour goes through the main cave entrance (the "historic" entrance), descending into the mouth via a pair of staircases. There is a small waterfall dropping into the cave mouth next to the steps. As the path continues, the cave width widens, eventually getting very wide and forming a massive inner chamber called the "Rotunda". We continued along the tour, passing the old saltpeter workings, and then to the Giant's Coffin.

We then went off the main cave route and into a smaller passage, taking many steps in the process. We passed the Wooden Bowl Room, the Bottomless Pit (a very deep crevice), and then to Fat Man's Misery, a narrow passageway. We then took the impressive stair system up Mammoth Dome, which took us back to the main cave and then back out the entrance. 

Descending the Stairs into the Main Cave Entrance

Mouth of the Cave

Inside the Main Passageway

Giant's Coffin

Deep, Narrow Passage

Bottomless Pit

Fat Man's Misery

Staircase up Mammoth Dome

Mammoth Dome

Exiting the Cave

Waterfall at the Cave Entrance

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