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Mammoth Cave

Mammoth Cave is the world’s longest known cave systemwith more than 400 miles explored. The cave is so long that if you were to add the lengths of the second and third longest caves together they still wouldn’t be as long. It is preserved by the Mammoth Cave National Park. Early guide Stephen Bishop called the cave a “grand, gloomy and peculiar place.” It is a wonderful place to escape to if you’re in need of some time in the great outdoors. You could ventrure off to the park for a short day trip or make a wonderful weekend camping trip out of it.

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Trails There are over 70 miles of trails within the park boundaries. There are trails for hiking, biking and horse back riding. Bicyclists must yield to hikers and horse back riders and can only ride street bikes on the paved pathways. Mountain bikes are permitted along unpaved trails and ma not exceed 15 miles per hour unless posted otherwise. Trails may be paved, wooden, gravel or worn down. It is wise to ask which trails are more difficult and keep in mind that if you hike down to the riverside, you have to hike back up.

Tours The summer tours listed below begin on May 26th and run until September 1st. The visitor center hours are 8:15 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Central Daylight Time. People under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Reservations are not required but are strongly suggested to ensure your spot on a tour. It is also suggested to ask about the difficulty level of each tour to ensure everyone’s safety. -Mammoth Passage Tour -Frozen Niagra Tour -Historic Tour -New Entrance Tour -Star Chamber Tour -Focus on Frozen Niagra -Trog Tour -Introduction to Caving Tour -Wild Cave Tour -Discovery Tour

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Water Sports Canoeing and kayaking are very popular at the park. There are 25 miles of the Green River and six miles of the Nolin River within the Mammoth Cave National Park boundaires. The Green River averages at about 200 ft wide and 10 ft deep, though it could be much deeper in certain areas. The Nolin also averages at about 10 ft deep but is narrower than the Green River. The current can be very swift, but even when the rivers flood no whitewater exists along the Green or Nolin Rivers. While you should always be cautious of hazards such as fallen trees, rocks or floating debris, both rivers offer pleasnt canoeing and kayaking for even novices.

Camping Overnight stays are offered at the park in a few different ways. You could stay at the Mamoth Cave Hotel, stay in one of the park cabins or you could bring a tent and enjoy camping around the fire. The hotel offers transportation to and from the entrance of the cave. Cabins are available to rent around the park and there are 16 different sites to camp at. There are three develoed campgrounds and 13 primitive sites in the backcountry and near the Green and Nolin Rivers. A free backcountry use permit is required for all camping around the backcountry campsites and along the floodplains. Each primitive campsite holds a maximum of eight people.

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History The first human entrance into the cave was about 4,000 years ago. Curiousity led them to discovories of minerals which were mined from the walls for nearly 2,000 years and then the cave fell quiet again. The cave wasn’t entered again until the end of the 18th century. European settlers rediscovered the cave and started the exploration that has made the park what it is today.

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