Mammoth Cave is a true wonder of the world, as recognized by the National Park Service and the United Nations. What makes it so special? It is the largest cave system in the world; this thing is over 300 miles long!!
We had a wonderful weekend; but in hindsight there are a few things that we will change when we go back. The beauty and magnitude of the cave was worth all the troubles.
Our first mistake happened long before we arrived at the park.
Mistake #1 – We went at the wrong time
Since the cave system is so ginormous, there are lots and lots of bats who call the cave their home. During certain times of the year, parts of the cave are closed to the public. We went one week into the winter season and only had three tours to choose from. There are much longer tours we would have rather taken, but we picked what seemed to be the best tour being offered at the time.
Mistake #2 – We didn’t get our tickets ahead of time
The national park website must have reassured us three or four times that the tours rarely sell out and they always have plenty of tour times. The reassurance would turn out to be misleading. We got there around 9:30 AM expecting to get on the 10 am tour. We found that the next three tour times were sold out, so we had to pick the only time offered before our reservation to kayak the Lost River Cave just outside of the park.
Outside of those minor setbacks, we did do a few things right!
Good Move #1 – We picked an awesome tour
The Domes and Dripstones tour was incredible, and we recommend it for anyone looking for an easy, guided tour. Click here to learn about the specifics of our tour and our trip
Good Move #2 – We hiked to Green River
Our mistakes allowed us extra time on park property, so we hiked some of the 80+ miles of trails. We chose a trail from the visitor's center that wasn’t too long. That trail happened to lead us to the beautiful Green River. It was cool to see the river that would be credited with creating the very cave we toured.
Good Move #3 – We didn't take the doggie
After our problems at other national parks, including Carlsbad Caverns National Park, we knew it was a good idea to leave Maria at home. As much as she would’ve loved the weather and the wild hiking trails, the bats and other animals of the caves would have rescinded her welcome.