Visiting Mammoth Cave National Park

We had a great time visiting Mammoth Cave National Park. Here is some information that may be helpful if you ever visit there.

There is no cell service in the park, and WiFi is only available at the lodge welcome desk and in the visitor center.

This is something to keep in mind. Plan ahead for downloading any needed information. Also note that the lodge and visitor center are only open during business hours, so plan your WiFi needs accordingly.

Mammoth Cave National Park is beautiful and well maintained, but there aren’t many trail markers.

They have paper maps available at the visitor center, and we were able to find our way using that. We typically use the AllTrails app when hiking, but it was no help here because we didn’t have cell service. If you spring for the premium version of AllTrails, you can download maps and use them offline.

The image is a collage of four photos taken at Mammoth Cave National Park along a hiking trail. Three of the photos are of scenery along the path with rocks, moss, and trees. One image is of a deer next to the path.

We enjoyed a lovely hike and saw deer extremely close to the trail. They watched us calmly. We were there in early March, so the trees hadn’t really leafed out yet. It will be spectacular in the fall, but it was also nice like this.

Some of the trails are fully accessible, with careful attention to details.

Ample parking is located near the accessible trails, which are either paved or boardwalk-style. Descriptive presentation boards with tactile displays and accompanying recordings are well done and easy to hear and understand.

A collage of three images: the boardwalk through the park, a tactile display with accompanying recording, and the stream feeding into the river.

From the boardwalk, you can see the difference in color of the water in the spring as it feeds into the river.

Mammoth Cave National Park staff members are friendly and competent. The tour guide for our cave tour was very knowledgeable.

The image is a collage of two photos from inside Mammoth Cave. The space is large and rocky.

We took the Mammoth Passage Tour, which was 1.25 hours long. We were concerned about claustrophobia in tight spaces, and this tour worked well for us. The guide pointed out key features of the cave system and told us all about the history of the cave and the area. It was interesting and enjoyable. Flash photography is not allowed in the cave.

We booked tickets ahead of time through recreation.gov.

There are several nice gift shops and a small Starbucks in the lodge and visitor center.

The Lantern Cafe and Ice Cream Parlor has a counter service with limited hours in the lodge. There is also a small camp store just outside the park entrance where you can buy snacks, drinks, sandwiches, and salads. The closest restaurants are in Cave City, which is a ten- or fifteen-minute drive from the park.

We opted to stay in one of the historic cottages. It was rustic but clean, and the bed was very comfortable.

Pictured below: the cluster of historic cottages near the lodge and our cottage.

The image is a collage of two photos: one of the cluster of nine historic cottages near the lodge, and one of cottage number 9 where we stayed.

Things to note about the historic cottages:

  • It’s a *big* step up into the cottage from the “porch,” and there are no railings.
  • There are a mini fridge and a coffee maker, but no phone, television, bathtub, or hair dryer. Remember, there’s no cell service.
  • The heating and air conditioning unit on the wall is extremely noisy. It does work well though.
  • There is no counter space in the bathroom, and the shower head is positioned very low. I’m 5′ 8″ and had to stoop considerably to rinse my hair.
  • Overall, it was totally fine. We were expecting it to be rustic. The most important factors were that it was clean and the bed was comfortable.

We’d like to visit again and hike more of the trails, but we would book different accommodations next time.

Mammoth Cave National Park was a great place for a short getaway. I encourage you to visit and let me know what you think!

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Fondly,

Crysti

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