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Beginner: Mammoth Caves

Mammoth Cave National Park preserves the cave system and a part of the Green River valley and hilly country of south central Kentucky. This is the world's longest known cave system, with more than 400 miles explored. Early guide Stephen Bishop called the cave a "grand, gloomy and peculiar place," but its vast chambers and complex labyrinths have earned its name - Mammoth.

Reservations are not required, but are strongly recommended to ensure a spot on cave tours. Reservations cannot be made the same day of the tour. Park Information

You will be responsible for booking your own cave tours. Tickets sell out very quickly for many of the tours. Tour Descriptions

Available Tours:

• Frozen Niagara Tour                 • Star Chamber Tour

• Historic Tour                               • Trog

• Domes & Dripstones Tour       • Introduction to Caving

• Gothic Avenue Tour                  • Wild Cave Tour

• Violet City Lantern Tour           • Cedar Sink Hike

Visitor Center Hours 8:00a.m. - 6:00p.m. Central Time

We will be  staying at the Maple Springs group campsite number G006 on Friday and Saturday night. 

There is plenty of hiking available in the park to take advantage of on Saturday or Sunday. There will not be a set itinerary for the group in order to give all participants the opportunity to participate in their desired tours. (For those who are not claustrophobic the Wild Cave tour is highly recommended.)

The cost of the group site is $30 per night and will be divided among campers.

Additional Resources:

Park Map

Backcountry Map & Guide

Mammoth Cave National Park Fact Sheet

Green River bisects Mammoth Cave National Park, and can be crossed within the park via Green River Ferry or Houchin Ferry - two of the few operating rural ferries in America.

Green River Ferry operates year-round, 6:00am-9:55pm. 

The Green River Ferry is currently closed for routine maintenance. An alternate route to the campground via state and county roads is 35 miles from the Visitor Center.

Houchin Ferry operates March-November, 10:15am-6:00pm.

Carpool arrangements will be made one week prior to the trip. Passengers in the carpool will be expected to split the cost of gas.

NOTICE: All attendees need to understand that while I, and others in the group will look out for your well being, YOU are ultimately responsible for your own safety on the trip. Everybody attending is responsible for bringing their own equipment including but not limited to shelter, sleeping bag, stove and food. If you do not have any of these items please say so and we will try and find someone who would be willing to share.

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  • Lyndon

    Beware! It's raining pictures!!!
    Am sorry, I'm too lazy to sort thru em)-;

    May 13, 2014

  • Joy T.

    I had a great time last weekend. Thank u so much heather for organizng this trip. Hope to see you all again next time! :-)

    1 · May 12, 2014

    • Joy T.

      Yeah right! It was all your fault( lyndon, jean and u) for wanting to have lunch at KFC. I tend to have a blurry vision when im hungry. Hehei

      May 12, 2014

    • Lyndon

      When in Kentucky, do the KFC buffet! But don't go to the YUM center for it, coz you'd end up eating expensive, but so so spaghetti, hehehe:-)

      May 12, 2014

  • Lyndon

    I'm still collating the pics, but they should be up soon:-)

    2 · May 12, 2014

  • Claudette

    I recommend the Intro to Caving -- a shorter, less strenuous but still challenging version of the Wild Cave tour. They should, in fact, rename it Intro to the Wild Cave tour, :P. It was also great meeting everyone, hope to do more hiking/exploring/camping/om-nom-noming with all of you again.

    May 12, 2014

  • Linda C

    It was great to be back at Mammoth Cave. I loved the lantern tour and bike trail. Great to meet new people and see familiar faces. Thanks Heather, for organizing.

    1 · May 12, 2014

  • Lyndon

    'Twas awesome!

    1 · May 12, 2014

  • Rob

    Great trip. Nice people. So glad that I had the opportunity to see this. Thanks, again, Heather for putting all of this together!

    2 · May 12, 2014

  • Parag

    Heather:
    Me, Paul, Evan plus his guest will be carpooling together. I have sent you my cell no, it will be great if you can respond with me with your or corordinator's number so that we will be in touch.

    May 8, 2014

  • Brian W

    I so wish I could go to this, if only I didn't have to work Friday night. =(

    May 7, 2014

  • Paul P.

    I'm excited to go. I'll be bringing a car full of hikers with me. It'll be good!

    1 · May 5, 2014

  • Heather

    I'll send out carpool info late tonight so keep an eye out for my email.

    May 5, 2014

  • Heather

    Hi All. FYI, anyone who does not contact me with full name, phone and email by 8pm tonight will not be included in the carpool. A few people still haven't given me their info. Thanks - Heather

    May 5, 2014

  • Claudette

    Hi everyone, I checked the weather forecast for next weekend and it's predicting rain for both Friday and Saturday. Now, I'm wondering, does anyone have a sort of shelter we can put over the picnic tables so we can have protection from the rain while we eat/cook/hang out? Willing to share? I do have a Kelty Noah Tarp 16 with adjustable tarp poles, I'm willing to share it with the group BUT, I will need help setting it up as I've never used it. This is my first meet up with CSB so I don't really know how car camping goes with this group. So apologies if I've overstepped my newbie-ness.

    May 4, 2014

    • Claudette

      Would appreciate it, Joy … I had a hard time with my first attempt at set up. Youtube makes it look so easy, we'll see. I'm leaving late morning. 10ish probably. You?

      May 4, 2014

    • Joy T.

      Oh wow! That early? Well, i will take my half day off on fri. Will be on the road by 1pm.

      May 4, 2014

  • Linda C

    Is anyone interested in biking? They have two 9-mile out-and-back trails. It sounds like you would need a hybrid or mountain bike for either.

    April 22, 2014

    • Linda C

      I will definitely bring my bike.

      1 · April 23, 2014

    • Joy T.

      Cool! Let go biking then! :-)

      1 · April 24, 2014

  • Rob

    I'm trying to figure out which tour to reserve. I am not going on the Wild Cave Tour. and it would be good to have others from the group join me for one of the other options. I am leaning towards Voilet City Tour, but really, anything is fine. Anyone else interested?

    April 20, 2014

    • Rob

      I will be signing up for Saturdays Violet City tour

      April 22, 2014

    • Linda C

      I bought a ticket for Violet City on Saturday.

      April 23, 2014

  • Kevin

    Are we going to hike to the campsite or drive to it and set up camp?

    April 19, 2014

    • Heather

      We're going to drive to the campsite. At this time the ferry is not running so we may actually have to drive around the exterior if the park to go between campsite and visitor center where the cave tours start. This trip is basically car camping.

      April 20, 2014

  • Jeff C.

    My spot is available. I have something tentative that could last minute, change my plans to attend this. In fairness to others wanting a spot and so it isn't last-minute, please take mine. I presume the organizer removes me from this trip?

    April 19, 2014

    • Heather

      You should be able to change your status to not going. If you have troubles let me know.

      April 19, 2014

  • Mindy

    Would love to go, but that's Mother's Day weekend. Anyone have any interest in going another weekend? Maybe the following one?

    2 · February 13, 2014

    • Michael G

      First weekend of June or sometimes in August. Would it work for anybody? I also wanted to hike in the Gardens of God. We could try do that at the same trip.

      April 18, 2014

  • Zak

    There are 2 group camps in that park. (have been there) one near the caves and one near the trails. They don't clearly mark it on the map. which one are we at?

    February 13, 2014

    • Heather

      We will be staying at Maple Springs Campground site G006.

      March 18, 2014

  • Kevin

    It says starting on friday at 7. Does this mean we leave chicagoland at 7 or meet at the campgrounds at 7 pm?

    March 15, 2014

    • Heather

      Kevin - 7 PM is a place holder. About a week before the trip I'll review the carpool request information and help people make accommodation for transportation to Mammoth Caves. Some people may want to leave in the morning and other after work. There is usually a wide range of leave and arrival times.

      March 18, 2014

  • Christopher V.

    I'm too late. The Wild Cave tour is sold out (as well as the following Saturday). Bummer. I did that a couple of years ago and it was memorable, and quite intense! Next time.

    February 19, 2014

  • Rodger

    This looks like a great time. I will try and make this happen. I penciled it on my calendar. Thanks Chad!

    February 13, 2014

  • Joy T.

    The wild cave tour needs to be booked in advance. I tried booking for at least 3 weeks before our trip last year but it was full already. We did the 30m paddling instead and it was fun! I would love to do the wild cave tour this time. :-)

    February 12, 2014

  • Chad G.

    The Wild Cave tour is not to be missed! Will remember it forever!!

    February 12, 2014

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