The state of Kentucky is famous for its blue-grass hills, horse racing, and the giant Mammoth Cave. Mammoth is now a National Park and presents the largest cave system in the United States. Almost 400 miles have been explored, and document and researchers and explorers say there is “no end in sight.” Soaring ceiling heights and also a bottomless pit can be found, along with underground rivers that once held boat tours, and all this is underground! Guided tours are available, and step into another world full of stalagmites and stalactites formations, chambers, and vast openings in one of the biggest cave systems in the world.
How was Mammoth Cave system formed?
The caves are estimated to be approximately 10 million years old. The creation they say was started by an ancient sea or water formation that distributed soluble limestone in the area. The sea or water formation that was there eventually disappeared, and erosion started taking place. The limestone was further eroded as rainwater worked its way through the holes and cracks, making them larger and larger and even forming underground rivers. The “bottomless pit” is a favorite rea in Mammoth Cave, as erosion has created a massive hole, with seemingly no end in sight. It is measured to be about 105 feet deep, but its appearance gives the sensation that the hole continues forever. Researchers say that eventually the caves will erode into massive canyons, but that will take thousands of years.
There are many tours to choose from, varying from strenuous to easy and family friendly if you are bringing small children. There are different tours offered in winter vs. summer. Go and see the underground rivers, or the bottomless pit, and discover Mammoth Cave’s endless tunnels, labyrinths, and caverns.
Frozen Niagara Tour
The Frozen Niagara Tour is an excellent way to see the cave if you have small children or anyone that can’t walk too far. The Frozen Niagara refers to a formation in the cave, appearing as if the wall has dripped and turned into a frozen waterfall. The tour lasts about an hour, is ¼ of a mile long, and is classified as an easy trail and tour. The eerie yet beautiful sight is a must see on your visit to Mammoth Cave.
Domes & Dripstones Tour
The Domes Tour includes the entire Frozen Niagara tour within it, lasting about two hours and covering almost a mile. See the dramatic domes, pits, and dripstone formations on your tour. You will see the “Drapery Room” displaying impressive structures that the cave proudly shows. There are quite a few stairs on this tour (over 500), and it is moderately difficult.
Wild Cave Tour
The wild tour describes what it is about, and that is wild! Experienced guides will lead you through some of the most beautiful and hard-to-get-to areas inside. You must be at least 16 years old to go on this tour. For six hours and five miles, you will have to walk, squeeze, and crawl through some awkward spaces in the caves. Be sure to wear a good pair of hiking boots, and your chest and hip measurements cannot exceed 42 inches on this tour, or you may never leave it. Participants that do not have decent boots will not be allowed to go! Try out this wild trip and feel like a real explorer.
Cleveland Avenue Tour
The Cleveland tour starts off descending 200 stairs into the encrusted Cleveland Avenue area. On this tour, you will see gypsum in different crystallized shapes, forms, and sizes. The Snowball Room has been visited by people since the 1800’s, and you will get to see it on this tour. You will cover about 2 miles on this trip, and the tour takes approximately 2 and ½ hours to complete. The trail and terrain are classified as moderate, making it a good option for those that want a good hike, but one that is not too strenuous.
Other Things to See and Do
The tours are by far the most exciting thing to do, but there are plenty of other things to fill your time at Mammoth Cave. The rivers that are above ground offer fishing, kayaking and canoeing. Mammoth is a National Park so there is camping available. Hiking trails are available, as well as bicycling and you can even bring your horses and explore the area via horseback. There are many trials to choose from (above ground) and all are different lengths, have a variety of scenery, and various difficulty levels. Stop by the visitor’s center to see what trails and tour you would like to accomplish on your trip to Mammoth Cave.
The Mighty Mammoth
It is massive, and thousands flock to see and explore one of the biggest systems in the world. Tour can show you the amazing formations that have taken place over millions of years within the cave, along with underground rivers, and celling reaching hundreds of feet in height and the “bottomless pit” reaching depths of 105 feet. The erosions and formations will only continue, and the cave will remain long after our time. People report hauntings in the cave from past explorers or dwellers, and sightings and weird happenings have taken place. See Mammoth for yourself, and stand in the greatness of the largest caves in the world.