Mammoth Cave National Park In Kentucky
Mammoth Cave National Park is home to the largest cave system in the world. Here are locations and descriptions of 7 cave tours available near Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky.
Mammoth Cave National Park is home to the largest cave system in the world but there are many other unique and interesting caves to visit in the area as well. Some of these caves are less frequently visited than Mammoth Cave but they offer equally as interesting formations and experiences. Here is a listing of some lesser known but highly enjoyable cave tours that are available in the Mammoth Cave area of Kentucky.
Cave Springs Caverns can be found in Smiths Grove, Kentucky by taking Interstate-65 to exit 38. Cave Spring Farm and Cave Springs Caverns are listed on the National Register of Historic Places with daily tours at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm. A five-acre bird sanctuary and nature trail are located here and guided 45 minute tours are available. The cave and its surroundings are considered a Native American sacred site and it has been used for thousands of years to conduct rare ceremonies. The longest cave gate in the United States has protected some rare artifacts and drawings from these ceremonies. It has cathedral size rooms and passages that have flowing cascades of water that were used by early pioneers.
Crystal Onyx Cave is located in Cave City, Kentucky and can be reached by taking Interstate-65 to exit 53, then taking KY 90 east for 2 miles. It is the site of one of the oldest and largest Indian burial sites. The cave is also known for its onyx formations. Stalactites, stalagmites, draperies, and delicate crystalline rimstone pools adorn this underground spectacle. One hour guided cave tours are available daily. This cave is a working archeological site where ancient human remains that date back to about 680 B.C. have been found and are being studied by researchers from Washington University. Camping sites and a gift shop are located on the grounds.
Diamond Caverns is located in Park City, Kentucky and can be reached by taking Interstate-65 to exit 48 at Park City. It is the fourth oldest show and formation cave in Kentucky and has been showing off its features for the past 140 years or so. It features thousands of stalactites, draperies, and flowstone formations. It is the only show cave adjacent to Mammoth Cave national Park and offers spectacular and breathtaking views. One hour guided tours lead you across about a half mile of beautiful scenery.
Hidden River Cave is located in Cave City and can be reached by taking exit 58 from Interstate 65, then taking East Main Street to the downtown area. This cave was described by naturalist John Muir as a "noble gateway to the birthplace of springs and fountains and the dark treasuries of the mineral kingdom." It features a large entrance, a historic hydroelectric generating system, and a subterranean river. In 1993, the American Cave Museum was opened on the site with science and history displays as well as exhibits about mammoth Cave, Horse Cave, cave exploring, saltpeter mining, groundwater, and Floyd Collins. The 45-minute guided tour gives visitors a chance to explore the history, groundwater and geology exhibits. The cave is within walking distance of shops, restaurants & Horse Cave Theatre.
Kentucky Caverns is located in Horse Cave, Kentucky and can be reached by taking exit 58 from Interstate-65. It is at the northern gateway of Cave Country and was formerly known as Mammoth Onyx Cave. It offers an up-close look at intricate and massive onyx formations that were created by water and time. The cave guides offer knowledge of the geology and history of the cave as they lead you on a 45-minute journey through the beautiful surroundings. Your ticket price includes the guided tour as well as your admission to Kentucky Down Under, a family oriented, hands-on learning adventure. It features an Australian animal exhibit with kangaroos and emus, an simulated Australian sheep farm, exhibits on bison and whitetail deer, an introduction to Aboriginal culture and storytelling, observation of various small creatures in the discovery area and hand-feeding of birds in the flight cage.
Lost River Cave and Valley can be found in Bowling Green, Kentucky. You can get there by taking Interstate 65 to exit 22 to US 31 west & Cave Mill Road. This cave has one of the largest cave openings east of the Mississippi River and contains the shortest and deepest river in the world. This valley and cave have existed for more than 10,000 years. Its inhabitants have included Native Americans, Civil War soldiers from the North and the South, and the notorious outlaw Jesse James. It has served as a brandy and whiskey distillery from the 1930's to the 1950's and as a mill. Lost River's nature trail contains at least fifty species of plants and trees. This facility is open to the public during scheduled hours and for public events from April to October.
Onyx Cave is located in Cave City, Kentucky and can be reached by taking exit 53 off of Interstae-65. This is the only cave located on an interstate highway with easy on and off ramps. It is known for its needle onyx and other onyx formations. Thirty-minute guided tours are available with few steps to climb. Visitors will enjoy looking at the breathtaking 78-foot tall column of onyx that resembles a waterfall, giant domes that have colorful striations that reach up like cathedral ceilings, and formations that resemble coral. Onyx Cave is adjacent to Guntown Mountain and is open daily.