This year is the centennial of the National Park Service this year and I have wanted to make it to at least one park. (The only National Park I’ve been to previously is Acadia, in Maine, and I’m itching to go back.) So, this past Saturday Nick and I made the 90 minute drive down to Mammoth Cave National Park to see the cave system and do some hiking.
Mammoth Cave National Park is home to the world’s largest known cave system, ranging 400+ miles. There is no fee to get into the park, but the cave tours do vary in price. The tickets aren’t expensive and it’s worth the cost, because it’s the only way to explore the caves. We chose the Historic Tour, because it looked like a good introduction to the cave, and I thought learning the history from a park ranger would be interesting. Fun fact: tours began at Mammoth Cave 200 years ago.
Pro tip: do not carry a backpack on the tour, as you’ll have to crouch even lower to get through the tight Fat Man’s Misery passage. We learned this the hard way.
After the tour, Nick and I hiked on some of the trails near the visitor’s center. Many of the trails are interconnected, and I would classify them as easy. They were wide, relatively flat, and clear of overgrowth. We enjoyed seeing the Echo River Springs and the River Styx Spring. Another highlight was Sunset Point, which is along a paved path but allows for a great view over the Green River.
We had planned to explore some of the backcountry trails, but it after seven miles of hiking on a hot and humid day, we were wiped out. We’ll definitely be back for another cave tour and more trails.