Mammoth Cave National Park
If you've ever wondered what it would be like to be a cave explorer, these trips may be for you. You must be in good physical condition and able to do some crawling and squeezing through narrow passageways. These cave tours take you off the beaten track through this fascinating underground world of darkness.
This 2-1/2-hour, moderately strenuous trip is offered for kids from 8 to 12 years old (be prepared to show proof of age). It is designed to promote awareness of the important relationship between surface and cave environments. The trip takes troggers to cave passages not normally shown to the public. Trog begins at the Visitor Center and parents must accompany their children for the first 15 minutes of the program to hear the rules and assist the ranger in getting troggers prepared for the trip. Parents must also pick up troggers promptly at the end of the program. Troggers must wear long pants (jeans are best) and sturdy shoes. Helmets and lights will be provided. Kneepads are recommended, rollerblade-type or hard plastic kneepads not allowed. Restrooms not available. Trog is offered every day in the summer and some weekend days in the spring and fall. Limit: 12
The park ranger has the option to select one of two Trog routes:
1. Historic section of Mammoth Cave: This adventure includes a 0.2-mile surface walk and offers troggers the opportunity to see a variety of cave passages and learn about the human and natural history of the cave. A trip to this cave includes crawling, and troggers may get dirty.
2. White's Cave: This adventure includes a one-mile walk on the surface to reach the cave entrance. In the cave, troggers discover that the darkness can be full of beautiful cave formations and living creatures. A trip to this small but varied cave may include crawling through some areas that are wet and muddy.
Introduction to Caving
This strenuous 3- to 3-1/2-hour tour will introduce youths, adults, and families to the fun and excitement of cave exploring, the basics of responsible caving, and safe caving techniques. The trip will start with a brief orientation in the Visitor Center Auditorium. The cave trip will visit small passages off traditional tour routes. Stooping, bending, and easy crawling will be part of the trip. Helmets and lights are provided. Gloves and kneepads are strongly recommended; participants should wear sturdy pants and boots. Restrooms are not available. Visitors with tickets being held at "Will Call" must check in 30 minutes prior to departure or your tickets will be released. Limit: 20.
Wild Cave Tour
This 6- to 6-1/2-hour, 5-1/2-mile, extremely strenuous trip is offered to adults 16 years old and older. (Be prepared to show proof of age.) Crawl, climb, and squeeze through small passages and openings and tight holes off traditional tour routes. The trip begins at the Carmichael Entrance and winds its way to Snowball Room through a variety of passages that the participant will find interesting and challenging. Participants will need to bring lunch and a small bottle of water. Lunch may also be purchased at the Snowball Room (seasonally). The only restroom along the route is located at the Snowball Room. After lunch, the group will investigate a series of canyons that include the Cathedral Domes, a dramatic series of vertical shafts. These canyons lead to an area in which the group will navigate by climbing and crossing chasms. The trip will eventually exit through the Frozen Niagara section. The exact route will vary on each trip depending on the interest of the group, but all wild cave trips introduce visitors to safe caving techniques, cave geology, cave mapping, and the history of Mammoth Cave exploration.
Participants must have a chest size of no larger than 42 inches. Anyone larger will not fit through the tight spaces. Wild cavers should wear clothes that can be torn or soiled. Required for the trip are sturdy shoes or boots, long-sleeved shirt, and long, sturdy pants (jeans are best). Kneepads are provided, but participants may bring their own. Rollerblade-type or hard plastic kneepads not allowed. Gloves recommended. Helmets and lights are provided.
The Wild Cave Tour is offered on weekends year-round with weekdays added during the summer. Tickets will be held at "Will Call" and must be picked up at least 30 minutes prior to trip departure or the tickets will be refunded. Limit: 14
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication