There are hiking trails and campsites in the forests and near the rivers that course through Mammoth Cave National Park. But it’s the world’s longest known cave system beneath the forest land that draws visitors to this landmark in Kentucky. Park rangers are able to give tours such as this one, in the portion known as Booth’s Amphitheater, thanks in large part to a man named Stephen Bishop. It was Bishop, a slave, who dared to climb across the opening of Mammoth’s Bottomless Pit and explore many miles of the cave system beyond that. In 1844, Bishop’s extensive map of Mammoth Cave was published, documenting passages and spaces previously uncharted.
Mammoth Cave National Park would be a terrific place to celebrate National Park Week, which begins today and lasts through April 23. On the weekends of National Park Week (April 15–16 and 22–23), admission to any US national park is free.
David S. Boyer and Arlan R. Wiker/Getty Images1.0.j17
Mammoth Cave National Park is a U.S. national park in central Kentucky, encompassing portions of Mammoth Cave, the longest cave system known in the world. Since the 1972 unification of Mammoth Cave with the even-longer system under Flint Ridge to the north, the official name of the system has been the Mammoth-Flint Ridge Cave System. 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.
Website:www.nps.gov/maca Address: 1 Mammoth Cave Pkwy, Mammoth Cave, KY 42259 Phone: (270) 758-2180 Established: Jul 01, 1941 Area: 82.63 sq miles (214 km²) Annual visitors: 586,514 (2016) Travel tip: At 336 miles, this is the longest system of cave’s in the world. @tripadvisor