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Mammoth Cave National Park Operating Hours & Seasons

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Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park (Photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik)

Mammoth Cave National Park is open all year round, every day except 25 December. It’s a great place for hiking and backpacking adventures, but let’s face it, most people who visit Mammoth Cave National Park do so because they want to visit the caves. Well, there are plenty of cave tours on offer, depending on what time of year your time your visit. Some tours are available year round, some are only available during the summer months.

MAMMOTH CAVE NATIONAL PARK IS IN THE CENTRAL TIME ZONE

Mammoth Cave National Park Visitor Center

Fall Opening Times – 3 September through to 4 November

8.30 am until 5.15 pm central

Winter Opening Times – 5 November through to 15 March

8,30 am until 4.30 pm central

The opening times for the spring and summer will be available shortly, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the visitor center will be open at least between those times plus a little bit longer!

Mammoth Cave National Park Tours

As I’ve already mentioned, there are lots of different ranger lead tours available at Mammoth Cave National Park, some are available year round, some only during the summer months.

  • Mammoth Passage Tour – this very popular tour lasts around an hour and a quarter and offers a short and easy insight into just what all the fuss is about these darned caves! The tour costs $5 for adults, $3.50 for children between 6 and 12 years, and $2.50 for anyone eligible for special access rates. This tour is often available during the winter.
  • Frozen Niagara Tour – is very easy and recommended for anyone with walking difficulties or who has small children in their party. This tour costs $10 for adults, $8 for youths and $5 for anyone with a special access pass. This tour is available during the winter season.

  • Mammoth Cave Discovery Tour – another easy tour which gives you an insight into the 19th century saltpeter mining activities within the park. This is a self guided tour and costs $4 for adults, $2.50 per youth and $2 for anyone who has a special access pass. This tour is available during the fall but not the winter season.
  • Historic Tour – this is a great and very popular moderately difficult family tour with a duration of a couple of hours. The tour costs $12 per adult, $8 per youth and $6 for special access pass holders. The historic tour is available throughout the winter.

  • New Entrance Tour – this moderately difficult tour might be a little too challenging for small children, there’s a total of 500 stairs on the 2 hour tour. This includes the Frozen Niagara Tour (see above), and costs $12 er adult, $8 per youth and $6 per access pass holder. This tour is available throughout the winter season.
  • Grand Avenue Tour – this one is recommended only for avid walkers who are ready to face a physical challenge, and definitely not recommended for anyone with walking difficulties, respiratory problems, heart problems etc. It’s very strenuous but well worth the effort if you’re up to it. You’re going to need your packed lunch for this one, but if you forget you can buy one in the Snowball Room for $8.50. The tour prices are $24 per adult, $18 per youth and $12 for pass holders. This tour is available throughout the winter season.
  • Snowball Tour – this beautiful tour has lots of sparkling shapes, from shimmering needles to flashy flowers. This whole route is actually incorporated within the Grand Avenue Tour (see above) and once again, if you forget your packed lunch you can buy one in the Snowball Room for $8.50. The tour prices are $14 per adult, $9 per youth and $7 including concessions. The Snowball Tour in Mammoth Cave National Park operates throughout the winter.
  • Violet City Lantern Tour – a traditional Mammoth Cave tour by lantern light, what could be more exciting? You should be warned that this is a strenuous tour, taking around 3 hours to cover the 3 miles. Lanterns may only be carried by adults, and people with respiratory illnesses may find this tour a little uncomfortable. The price of this tour is $15 for adults, $11 for youths and $7.50 for those with a special access pass. This tour is open throughout the winter season.

Pretty special huh! That’s a real one off . . .

  • River Styx Cave Tour – this tour includes the complete Historic Tour and takes in a glimpse of the rivers which are found only at the cave’s very deepest depths. This moderately difficult tour takes around two and a half hours to cover the 2 and a half miles, at a cost of $13 per adult, $9 per youth and $6.50 for special access pass holders. The River Styx Cave Tour is not available during the fall or winter season.
  • Star Chamber Tour – this tour is like a step back in time to the original tours of Mammoth Cave National Park. This is a lantern light trip and you’ll be amazed at the many messages, names and initials inscribed along the walls of Gothic Avenue. This moderately difficult tour takes around two and a half hours to complete the mile and a half trip. Adults only are permitted to carry the lanterns. Prices are $12 per adult, $8 per youth and $6 for those with a special access pass. This tour is not available during the winter season.
  • Focus on Frozen Niagara – this is a short evening tour specifically aimed at amateur photographers. It’s easy, enjoyable and takes around an hour and a half. The price of this tour is $10 per adult, $8 per youth and $5 with a special access pass. The Focus on Frozen Niagara tour is not available during the fall or winter season.
  • Great Onyx Lantern Tour – this tour is particularly popular with returning visitors and includes a bus ride along a forested valley to another cave with Mammoth Cave National Park. This 1 mile tour takes around two and a quarter hours, and is only suitable for children aged 6 years or older. Another lantern lit tour (and remember, only adults may carry the lanterns), this tour costs $15 per adult, $11 per youth and $7.50 for those with a special access pass. This tour is not available during the winter season.
  • Gothic Avenue Tour – this Mammoth Cave National Park tour takes you to one of the most magical places in the park, Gothic Avenue. It’s moderately difficult and takes a couple of hours to complete the 1 mile tour. Lanterns are a large part of this tour, again these may only be carried by adults and may cause discomfort to anyone who suffers from respiratory problems. This tour costs $11 per adult, $8 per youth and $5.50 with a special access pass, and is available throughout the winter.

  • Trog – this one’s strictly for the kids, suitable for children aged between 8 and 12 years. This great adventure sees the kids heading off kitted with hard hats and headlamps which will be provided as well as any other specialist equipment needed. The price of this tour is $14 per youth, but it is not available throughout the winter season.
  • Introduction to Caving – is exactly what it says it is. It’s strenuous and you won’t be permitted to join this tour if you’re not wearing the correct type of footwear. This is restricted to children aged 10 years or more, and people with chest and hip measurements of 42 inches or less (otherwise you’ll get stuck in the crawl spaces). This adventure costs $23 per adult, $18 per youth and $11.50 for anyone holding a special access pass. This activity is available throughout the winter season.
  • Wild Cave Tour – is very strenuous and not for the faint hearted. This is caving like it used to be, or still is actually. It’s only available for adults of 16 years or more, and for people who measure less than 42 inches around the hips and chest. The cost of this wild cave tour is $48 per adult or $24 per special access holder.

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