|About the Site|
|Mammoth Cave National Park (2)|
A visit to Mammoth Cave National Park should of course involve as much time as possible in the magnificent cave system. For most visitors, this will be done one or more of the excellent tours provided by the National Park Service. Most of these tours follow a fairly easy to follow trail through the caverns. In most places, the trail is lighted, and in some places it can be quite wide and even feature handrails for safety purposes.
The main tour begins with an assembly in a massive cave room not far from the historical entrance. Here a group of tourists listens to remarks from the NPS guide. The massive size of some cave rooms can easily be appreciated here.
Even on the tame hikes provided on the major tours there are places where the visitor must squeeze through tight places and crouch to avoid overhanging rocks.
The trails are often well-worn and easy to follow.
There are some places in which the hike requires a tight squeeze.
On the most popular cave tours the trail follows lighted, easy to hike paths. However, earlier visitors had to light their way in a variety of ways. In the 1800's these lights included lard-oil lanterns and oil-soaked rags.
One famous part of the cave system is Mammoth Dome. Leaving this massive vertical chamber requires climbing several flights of stairs on a tower under the earth. This room is part of the Historic Tour, a 2 mile jaunt which takes about 2 hours.
Different parts of the caves are very different from each other. In some cases enormous rooms or high and wide passages characterize the route. In others, low ceilings and narrow passages are the rule. Experienced cavers may crawl or slide through spaces as small and tight as possible.
In years past it was a common practice for visitors to write their name on the rocks, but not surprisingly this is no longer permitted in the cave. In some locations the names on the walls or ceilings are up to 100 years old.
- Next Page for Mammoth Cave National Park -
- All photographs ©Patrick Holleran, Shannon Digital Imaging, 1994-2012
- Commercial use of the images contained in this document without express written consent is strictly prohibited.
- Comments and other remarks can be sent via e-mail to email@example.com