Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park, located in Kentucky, is the longest known cave in the world. There are over 400 miles that have been explored underground so far. Individuals started giving tours of the cave by candle light as early at 1816. Now many of the tours given by Park Rangers use electric light.

Jess and I decided that Mammoth Cave would be the perfect National Park near Indiana to check out in January 2017. The cave is 54 degrees year round. Of course the weekend Jess and I planned to go I had just come down with a severe cold or sinus infection (Due to my refusal to go to the doctor means I’m not entirely sure what it was, but it felt like my eyes were going to pop out of my head). The prospect of visiting a new National Park, however, overruled being sick so off we went to Mammoth Cave. (The prospect of our pit-stop for breakfast at Toast on Market in Louisville helped too – if you’ve read any of my posts before, you know I am all about the food!)

mammoth cave 3
Domes & Dripstones Cave Tour

*Quick note: do not use your GPS for directions to Mammoth Cave National Park! It will not take you the most direct or easiest way. The National Park is located off of Exit 53 on I-65 and there are signs from there giving directions to Mammoth Cave.


Although, Park Rangers give tours all year, the number of tours offered on a particular day depends on the time of year. There were only two options when we went in January while 10 options were available during that summer. Of the two options, Jess and I picked the longer tour – Domes & Dripstones. We figured if we were going to drive 3 hours one-way we might as well take the longer tour. I’m glad we did because we got to see a lot more of the cave. After the tour you have to walk through some trays of sponges to clean the bottom of your shoes. This is so you won’t spread White-Nose Syndrome to other bats. (Surprisingly, being in the cave helped relieve some of the pressure in my head – I felt better when we left than when we arrived…or maybe I was just so distracted by the awesomeness that is Mammoth Cave that I forgot I was sick haha!)

mammoth cave hike
Green River Bluff Trail

Shawn had been on cave tours many times for school trips while growing up so we decided to explore above ground when we visited in May 2017. Dogs are allowed on the hiking trails at Mammoth Cave so we took Niko with us. It was his first National Park! We hiked the River Styx Spring Trail and the Green River Bluff Trail.

Niko checking out the Green River

There’s still much to be seen at Mammoth Cave both above and below ground. Below is part of my bucket list for this National Park.

Bucket List:

  • Cleveland Avenue Tour
  • Gothic Avenue Tour
  • Historic Tour