Snowy Range Pass

Snowy Range Pass

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Mammoth Cave National Park

Since we were going right by Mammoth Cave National Park to visit with friends, we decided to stop in and take at least one tour of the cave. I still find that taking decent pictures in these large dark spaces difficult, but I keep trying. A new addition to the tours is the requirement that you agree to a foot soaking on the way out of the cave. There is some kind of fungus found in caves in a wide region. They are calling it the bat white nose syndrome, which has killed millions of bats since 2006. Since these bats are very important to the cave environment and to the well being of the rest of us, they are taking these steps to try and prevent the spread of the infection.

We have been here several times over the years. We are staying in Cave City and it is almost like time has stood still here, at least in some ways. There are no new construction projects or high tech tourist gimmicks to get you to spend your money. There are still the attractions that you might have seen in the 1950’s. Dinosaur Park, old fashioned souvenir shops, classic motels, and even a place that offers to let you sleep in a wigwam.

We are staying in a newer campground –Cave Country RV campground. It has reasonable size sites with level spots, full hookups and free WI-FI and friendly owners.

The park itself holds the world’s largest cave system. It fact, if the next two largest caves were placed within it, there would still be over 100 miles of cave to spare. To date there are known to be 313 miles of cave tunnels and they are still exploring. It is certainly not the most attractive cave, but its sheer size is so impressive, you forget about the rest. We took the Mammoth Passage tour which takes you to some of the larger rooms.

The cave has had human visitors for at least 3000 years. They know this because they have found physical evidence of their presence on the form of artifacts and some mummified human remains. During the war of 1812 the cave was mined for elements to make black powder and they used a water system using hollowed out tree trunks, which still remain in the cave today.

In addition to the cave system itself, the park is over 52000 acres with miles of hiking and biking trails. It also offers lots of opportunity for waterborne exploration, as well.


Sue and Doug said...

nice to be back out on the road again!..bring on the adventures!

Donna K said...

Looks like you could find a little bit of just about everything there! What fun. Interesting information about the caves. Enjoy!!


I remember seeing those Mammoth Cave signs many years ago while traveling through that area in the mid 60's. At my young age at the time, caves were not high on my priority list. I would definitely stop in there now though:))

Happytrails said...

What a neat place.
It has been a few years since we visited Mammoth Cave and after reading your post I want to go back.
Thanks for all the interesting info!!

Judy and Emma said...

I haven't been to Mammoth Cave since 1970. I would have stopped there on my way north had I been feeling better. :(

Gail and Rick (Gypsy Turtles) said...

I'd love to see those caves, but I don't think I could get my better half to go with me...he is very claustrophobic! I might have to go alone one day :)

Rick and Paulette said...

Those caves must be absolutely huge if the Carlsbad Caverns can fit inside them! Another place to add to my list of 'must sees'.

pidge said...

Thanks for sharing all the great pictures and the tour of the caves. We love Kentucky and hope to do more exploring when I get my heart settled down. Thanks for the link to the park also. Stay safe.

Paul and Marti Dahl said...

I love caves, yet I haven't been to Mammoth Cave yet...go figure.

Interesting, soaking your feet on the way out, hope it helps stop that bat sickness.

E Squared and Mui said...

We were told about the white nosed syndrome when we visited Endless Caverns in Virginia last year. They are monitoring the bat population carefully, and so far haven't see it here yet.

Diana said...

Believe it or not, Mammoth Cave is one of the few national parks in the lower 48 that I have not been to! I am sooo jealous!

Ruth said...

We have been to Mammoth Cave Nat'l Park twice now. Last time was last year and we stayed in the park for a few days and did the "Wild Cave Tour"

Now that was quite the tour. A few years ago we did the Grand Entrance Tour as well. We really love the park.

Glad you had a great time.

Kevin and Ruth