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Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky

The world's longest caves. The cave system called Mammoth-Flint Ridge Cave System for the ridge under which the cave has formed is truly mammoth. 400 miles of explored and mapped caves with another 600 supposedly yet to be mapped and connected. The park was established as a national park on July 1, 1941. It became a World Heritage Site on October 27, 1981, and an international Biosphere Reserve on September 26, 1990.

The national park is around 6.5 hours from Chicago, with the closest cities being Nashville, TN and Louisville, KY both about 1.5 hours away. The best way to explore the park is by staying at the Mammoth Cave Hotel, the only lodge inside the park. The hotel is connected via a bridge to the visitor center and has a restaurant in-house.

The park rangers offer multiple tours of the cave, covering over 12 miles and with varying difficulty. Two of the best, moderate level tours, are the New Entrance Tour which includes the Frozen Niagara section and the Historic Tour which takes you on the original tour. Both are 2 hour treks.

If the raw power of water is showcased above ground at the Grand Canyon, the slow, grinding, yet forceful nature of water is showcased perfectly at the Mammoth Cave. Incredible!

Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Propane powered bus, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Propane powered bus, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Sunset Point, Heritage Trail, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Sunset Point, Heritage Trail, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Heritage Trail, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Heritage Trail, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Heritage Trail, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Heritage Trail, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Heritage Trail, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Heritage Trail, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Heritage Trail, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Heritage Trail, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Squirrel, Heritage Trail, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Squirrel, Heritage Trail, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Visitor Center, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Visitor Center, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Bridge to the Visitor Center, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Bridge to the Visitor Center, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Historic Entrance, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Historic Entrance, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Historic Entrance, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Historic Entrance, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Water curtain, Historic Entrance, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Water curtain, Historic Entrance, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Passageway, Historic Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Passageway, Historic Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Passageway, Historic Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Passageway, Historic Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Ghost who walks, Historic tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Ghost who walks, Historic tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Rotunda room, Historic tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Rotunda room, Historic tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Cavernous rooms, Historic tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Cavernous rooms, Historic tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Horizon cave, Historic tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Horizon cave, Historic tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Fat Man's Misery, Historic tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Fat Man's Misery, Historic tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
192 foot room, Historic tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
192 foot room, Historic tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Underground passageways, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Underground passageways, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Down to the water, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Down to the water, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Bottomless pit, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Bottomless pit, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Cavernous rooms, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Cavernous rooms, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Frozen Niagara, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Frozen Niagara, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Frozen Niagara, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Frozen Niagara, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Stalctites, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Stalctites, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Stalactites, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Stalactites, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Shadows, Stalactite and Stalagmite formations, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Shadows, Stalactite and Stalagmite formations, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Water source, the process continues, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Water source, the process continues, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Dramatic lights, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Dramatic lights, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Drapery room stalagmite, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Drapery room stalagmite, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Frozen Niagara calcite formation, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Frozen Niagara calcite formation, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Calcite Formations, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Calcite Formations, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Jabba the Hut, Calcite formation, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Jabba the Hut, Calcite formation, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
New stalagmites forming, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
New stalagmites forming, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Exploring, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Exploring, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Cave cricket, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Cave cricket, New Entrance Tour, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Butterfly breeding, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Butterfly breeding, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Turkey run, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Turkey run, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Twilight, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Twilight, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Twilight, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Twilight, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Twilight, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Twilight, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky