Cave City is a natural stopping point along Interstate 65. Cave City is located halfway between Louisville, KY. and Nashville, TN. Many people consider Cave City the main "Gateway into Mammoth Cave National Park." Mammoth Cave is America's 2nd oldest tourist attraction in the United States, 2nd only to Niagara Falls. For almost two hundred years visitors have been taking tours of Mammoth Cave, intrigued by its magnificence.
There are many attractions located on the highway that leads from Cave City to Mammoth Cave National Park. Visitors come from all over to see Cave City attractions such as the magnificent and life-size dinosaurs at Dinosaur World, to step back in time at the Mammoth Cave Wax Museum, and to ride the only Alpine Slide in Kentucky at Kentucky Action Park. Take a walk on the wild side at the Mammoth Cave Wildlife Museum with over 1,600 specimens in their natural habitat.
Onyx Cave and Outlaw Cave are a few of the private caverns that travelers can stop by and explore on the way to Mammoth Cave. Mammoth Cave is the world's longest cave system and people travel from all over the world to experience the hidden beauty and mystique that lies below ground in this mysterious subterranean frontier that cavers and adventurers continue to explore. The beauty of caves is that they are warm in the winter and cool in the summer with an average temperature of 54 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you are into adventure tourism, there are plenty of Cave City attractions to choose from. Horseback riding at Jesse James Riding Stables that offer remarkable trail rides. For those that love the water, stop by and see the outfitters at Green River Canoe & Kayak or Mammoth Cave Canoe & Kayak and let them set you up for a leisurely excursion down the Green River that passes through Mammoth Cave National Park. Visitors will see many different types of wildlife as well as beautiful waterfalls.
Mammoth Cave National Park offers as much to do above ground with many great hiking trails and surface activities for kids and adults alike. However, it is the many different cave tours, from novice to the Wild Cave Tours, that captivate visitors. Designated as a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere, the Mammoth Cave experience will definitely stay with our guests, creating vacation memories that last a lifetime.
In addition to the local hotels and motels, there are several campgrounds, cabins, and RV parks in the Cave City area where families can kick back and watch the stars at night and enjoy plenty of family-friendly Cave City attractions and entertainment.
Downtown Cave City offers several great antique shops where visitors can find souvenirs, hidden treasures and reminders of a simpler time. While shopping in the area, be sure to stop in one of our many restaurants or cafes and have lunch or dinner.
MAMMOTH CAVE - At a Glance
From the beginning, underground explorers doubted that they would ever find the end of Kentucky's Mammoth Cave. Currently measuring 350 miles long and 379 feet deep, Mammoth Cave is known as the longest cave in the world. Geologists estimate that there could be as many as 600 miles of yet undiscovered passageways.
In Mammoth's vast subterranean world, there are giant vertical shafts, from the towering 192-foot-high Mammoth Dome to the 105-foot-deep Bottomless Pit. Some passages and rooms are decorated with sparkling white gypsum crystals, while others are filled with the colorful, sculpted shapes of stalactites, stalagmites and other cave formations. Underground rivers, including Echo River and the River Styx, flow through Mammoth's deepest chambers. And in the cave's absolute blackness dwell many rare and unusual animals, including eyeless fish, ghostly white spiders and blind beetles.
While most visitors to Mammoth Cave National Park come to view its subterranean wonders, its surface beauty should not be overlooked. Aboveground, Mammoth offers 53,000 acres of scenic parkland perfect for hiking, fishing, paddling and wildlife viewing. Buried within a thriving second-growth woodland forest, you'll find extraordinary and unusual ecosystems in the bowl-shaped sinkholes, hemlock groves, and wetlands scattered throughout the park.
You'll also encounter Big Woods - a 300-acre old-growth forest - with massive trees that are over 100 feet tall. Keep your eyes out for common woodland creatures like deer, raccoon, opossum, gray squirrel, rabbit, woodchuck, muskrat, beaver, red fox, coyote, owls and wild turkey, but be careful not to disturb some of Mammoth Cave's most precious endangered animals, that include the Kentucky Cave Shrimp, the Indiana Brown Bat, and seven species of freshwater mussels.
Along with its stunning natural splendor, the Mammoth Cave area boasts a rich and colorful human tale that began 2,000 to 4,000 years ago. It's a fascinating story that features ancient miners, pre-historic mummies, saltpeter mines, the first underground tuberculosis hospital in history, trapped cavers, clever guides, the birth of modern tourism and the creation of America's 26th national park.
The park's 53,000 acres offer many opportunities for recreation. Cave tours are available throughout the year for everyone - young and old - regardless of physical ability. They range from 1.5-hour strolls to six-hour adventures. On the surface, park rangers lead walks to remarkable features like River Bluffs and the River Styx Spring. More than 70 miles of hiking trails cross the park, ranging from easy jaunts around the visitor center to intense treks along the Green River. Other recreational Cave City attractions and activities include: horseback riding, hiking, canoeing, biking, bird watching and fishing.
In 1941, Mammoth Cave National Park was established to preserve its maze of passages, cavernous domes and pits, underground rivers and lakes, unusual animals and plants, beautiful navigable rivers and rugged topography. On October 27, 1981, it became a World Heritage Site; on September 26, 1990, it became an International Biosphere Reserve. Visitors still come by the thousands, drawn by the dark frontier that is Mammoth Cave.