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Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park - BEST Places to Picnic

1 Mammoth Cave Parkway
P.O. Box 7
Mammoth Cave, KY 42259

Visitor Information Line
(270) 758-2180

WELCOME to Mammoth

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 cave system, with more than 365 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.

Your visit to Mammoth Cave National Park can include cave tours, surface hikes, canoeing on the Green River, picnicking, horseback riding, bicycling, camping and more. These pages provide everything you need to begin your journey of exploration in and around the world's longest known cave.

Places To Go

Many visitors to Mammoth Cave National Park say, "We just want to see the Cave." But that's only half the story. The park's 52,800 acres feature dozens of unique places to go, whether to the gloomy underworld, the cool and languid river, or the shadow-dappled rolling hills. The short-list below will get you started.

Cedar Sink
There's a place where the earth opens a window into its inner secrets.
Turnhole Bend The "turnhole", once used by riverboat pilots to turn around in the narrow river. 
Rotunda Pass through the Narrows and see why the Cave became known as Mammoth
Green River Bluffs Overlook The Green River valley opens before you from this bird's-perch view. 
Engine No. 4
Workhorse of the old Mammoth Cave railroad.
Chief City One room. Two acres. Only by lantern-light.
The Big Woods A glimpse of the uncut forest of Old Kentucky. 
Cave Island Another world between the banks of Green River. 
Sloan's Crossing Pond
Let the frogs serenade you at this uncommon watering hole. 
Good Springs Church
A silent sanctuary that echoes memories of a past community. 
River Styx Spring
The stygian waters of Mammoth Cave surface once again. 
Sand Cave
The storied "lonely sandstone cave" where Floyd Collins met his fate. 
Cathedral Domes
Towering beauties reward the hardy adventurer. 
Frozen Niagara
Mammoth's most famous formation.

Places to Picnic

  • Dennison Ferry
  • Houchins Ferry


The first human to enter Mammoth Cave passed under its imposing arch about 4,000 years ago. His reason for probing the shadows? The same as ours today. Curiosity led the way to discoveries of minerals, and primitive miners plumbed the rocky halls for nearly 2,000 years before the cave again fell quiet. It would not again echo the sound of human feet clattering the floor stones until the very end of the 18th century.

Once European settlers discovered Mammoth Cave, stories both inspiring and strange began to accumulate about their adventures underground. The cave's stories spoke of curiosity, cures, captivity and capitalism; excitement, exploration and exploitation.

And the story keeps on going. From the torch-bearing Indian to yesterday's park visitor, the fabric of the story-cloth of Mammoth Cave continues to be woven. Click the links on this page to discover the people, places, stories and objects that illuminate this special place.

Nature & Science

Mammoth Cave National Park was established in 1941 to protect the unparalleled underground labyrinth of caves, the rolling hilly country above, and the Green River valley. Since then, ongoing study and exploration have shown the park to be far more complex than ever imagined, hosting a broad diversity of species living in specialized and interconnected ecosystems. The park's challenge is to balance these remarkable and sometimes fragile living networks with the public's enjoyment of them. The key to that balance is knowledge, and the park's new environmental monitoring programs will provide that understanding.

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