"Dripstone Wall" by NPS Photo , public domain

Mammoth Cave

National Park - Kentucky

Mammoth Cave National Park is in the U.S. state of Kentucky. It's home to the Mammoth Cave, a long cave system of chambers and subterranean passageways. Sites include the Frozen Niagara section, known for waterfall-like flowstone formations, and Gothic Avenue, its ceiling covered in 19th-century visitors’ signatures. Trails take in other park features like the Green and Nolin rivers and the sinkholes of Cedar Sink.

maps

Official visitor map of Mammoth Cave National Park (NP) in Kentucky. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Mammoth Cave - Visitor Map

Official visitor map of Mammoth Cave National Park (NP) in Kentucky. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Detail of the official visitor map of Mammoth Cave National Park (NP) in Kentucky. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Mammoth Cave - Visitor Map Detail

Detail of the official visitor map of Mammoth Cave National Park (NP) in Kentucky. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units and Regions

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Heritage Areas

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

https://www.nps.gov/maca https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mammoth_Cave_National_Park Mammoth Cave National Park is in the U.S. state of Kentucky. It's home to the Mammoth Cave, a long cave system of chambers and subterranean passageways. Sites include the Frozen Niagara section, known for waterfall-like flowstone formations, and Gothic Avenue, its ceiling covered in 19th-century visitors’ signatures. Trails take in other park features like the Green and Nolin rivers and the sinkholes of Cedar Sink. Rolling hills, deep river valleys, and the worlds longest known cave system. Mammoth Cave National Park is home to thousands of years of human history and a rich diversity of plant and animal life, earning it the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve. DO NOT FOLLOW YOUR GPS! From the North: Take Interstate 65 to Exit 53 (Cave City Exit). Turn right onto KY-70. Follow 70/255 as it becomes the Mammoth Cave Parkway in the park. Follow the Mammoth Cave Parkway to the Visitor Center. From the South: Take Interstate 65 to Exit 48 (Park City Exit). Turn left onto KY-255 and follow 255 as it becomes the Park City Road into the park. Follow Park City Road until it joins the Mammoth Cave Parkway; turn left. Follow the Mammoth Cave Parkway to the Visitor Center. Mammoth Cave Visitor Center The park visitor center is the central point for visitors to orient themselves to what lies both above and below the surface at Mammoth Cave. Situated just up the hill from the cave's Historic Entrance, the visitor center is the departure point for all cave tours, and offers exhibits to prepare you for discovery. You can also meet a ranger for a talk or a hike. Gifts, restrooms, permits and information are available, and visitor amenities are offered by the nearby Mammoth Cave Hotel across the footbridge. From the North: Take Interstate 65 to Exit 53 (Cave City Exit). Turn right onto KY-70. Follow 70/255 as it becomes the Mammoth Cave Parkway in the park. Follow the Mammoth Cave Parkway to the Visitor Center. From the South: Take Interstate 65 to Exit 48 (Park City Exit). Turn left onto KY-255 and follow 255 as it becomes the Park City Road into the park. Follow Park City Road until it joins the Mammoth Cave Parkway; turn left. Follow the Mammoth Cave Parkway to the Visitor Center. Houchin Ferry Campground The Houchin Ferry Campground lies next to the Green River at the former location of the Houchin Ferry. This campground is operated year-round and is located 15 miles from the Visitor Center and two miles east of Brownsville, KY. For campers who like it simple, these 12 tent-only campsites afford a quiet visit with drive-up access. Houchin Ferry Campground - Primitive Site - Regular 20.00 Each site has a fire ring and picnic table. Each site is accessible by vehicle. Maximum number of campers is 8, maximum stay is 14 days in a calendar year. Houchin Ferry Campground - Primitive Site - Access Card 10.00 Each site has a fire ring and picnic table. Each site is accessible by vehicle. Maximum number of campers is 8, maximum stay is 14 days in a calendar year. Houchin Ferry Campground - Campsite Campsites with picnic tables nearby the river. At Houchin Ferry Campground, every site has a river view. Houchin Ferry Campground - Simple Camping A Houchin Ferry campsite with tent, fire ring, picnic table and lantern hook overlooks Green River. Houchin Ferry Campground sites may be primitive sites - but they're welcoming. Houchin Ferry Campground - Primitive Campsites An unoccupied campsite with concrete picnic table, fire ring and lantern hook. This campground's primitive sites feature a picnic table, fire ring, and lantern hook. Houchin Ferry Campground - Picnic Shelter An open-air picnic shelter with multiple picnic tables and a brick fireplace. Houchin Ferry Campground also offers an open-air picnic shelter with a fireplace. Houchin Ferry Campground - Toilet Facilities A wooden enclosure containing portable toilet facilities. Chemical toilets are provided at Houchin Ferry Campground. Mammoth Cave Campground The Mammoth Cave Campground is ideal for visitors seeking an authentic national park experience while still having easy access to amenities, cave tours, and other park activities. This developed campground is located within ¼ mile from the visitor center and contains 111 campsites with a mixture of tent only sites, group sites, tent or RV sites, and accessible sites. Rangers on duty in the campground kiosk are happy to provide information to make your stay a special adventure. Mammoth Cave Campground - Single Site 25.00 Per-night, per-site fee for a single campsite in the Mammoth Cave Campground at the regular rate. Limit 8 persons per site. Campers may stay a maximum of 14 days in a calendar year. Check-in time is 12:00 noon, and check-out time is 11:00 am. No refunds. Mammoth Cave Campground - Single Site - Access Passport 12.50 Per-night, per-site fee for a single campsite in the Mammoth Cave Campground at the reduced rate for visitors with Golden Age/Golden Access Passports and America The Beautiful Senior/Access Passports. Limit 8 persons per site. Campers may stay a maximum of 14 days in a calendar year. Check-in time is 12:00 noon, and check-out time is 11:00 am. No refunds. Mammoth Cave Campground - Group Site 40.00 Per-night, per-site fee for a single campsite in the Mammoth Cave Campground at the regular rate. No discount is offered on group camping. Limit 16 persons per site. Campers may stay a maximum of 14 days in a calendar year. Check-in time is 12:00 noon, and check-out time is 11:00 am. No refunds. Mammoth Cave Campground - VIP Site (RV only) 50.00 RV sites with full water, sewer and electric hookups. Limit eight persons per night per site. Mammoth Cave Campground - Campsite A white and blue tent and fire ring in a woodland setting Mammoth Cave Campground has dozens of sites nestled in a woodland setting. Mammoth Cave Campground - Campsite Amenities Typical amenities of a campsite at Mammoth Cave Campground: a picnic table, a fire ring, and parking A typical campsite with picnic table, fire ring, and parking. Mammoth Cave Campground - RV Site A campsite for RVs, showing paved turn-in, picnic table, and fire ring. RV sites have full paved turn-ins. Mammoth Cave Campground - Path A pathway bordered by wooden rails imparts a rustic setting. Easy paths wind between campground loops in a rustic setting. Mammoth Cave Campground - Restrooms A roofed wooden restroom facility shown from outside. All restrooms in Mammoth Cave Campground are fully accessible. Maple Springs Group Campground Maple Springs Group Campground lies on the park's north side, six miles from the visitor center and three miles north of Green River Ferry. This campground offers more secluded sites ideal for larger groups of campers and their horse companions. Of the 8 sites at this campground, two of them have electric and water hookups for RVs. This campground is a natural launching-point for forays along the more than 70 miles of backcountry trails in Mammoth Cave National Park. Maple Springs Group Campground - Regular Group Site - Water/Electric Hookups 50.00 Regular Group Site - No Horses - One fire ring, one picnic table, maximum number per group: 16, maximum stay 14 days in a calendar year. Maple Springs Group Campground - Equestrian Site - Water/Electric Hookups 50.00 Equestrian site with water and electric hookups - Horses permitted - One fire ring, one picnic table, maximum number per group: 16, maximum stay 14 days in a calendar year. Do not picket horses to live trees. Horse trailers must remain on pavement. Maple Springs Group Campground - Campsite A typical Maple Springs campsite with picnic tables, fire rings, water pump and tie-off for horses. A typical Maple Springs campsite with picnic tables, fire rings, water pump and tie-off for horses. Maple Springs Group Campground - Restrooms Exterior view of the roofed wooden restroom facility, with pit toilets. The restroom facilities at Maple Spring Group Camp feature pit toilets. Maple Springs Group Campground - Campfire Circle A large stone campfire circle is surrounded by a semicircle of benches in the woods. A campfire circle offers a place for woodland stories at Maple Springs. Waterfall at Historic Entrance A cascade of water pours over a rock ledge. Green foliage is in the background. The sound of falling water welcomes visitors into the natural entrance of Mammoth Cave. Historic Entrance A long staircase travels down a slope into the dark cave opening. The Historic Entrance to Mammoth Cave has welcomed explorers for centuries. Cleaveland Avenue A long cave passage with an oval shape. The network of cave passages in the Mammoth Cave system stretches over 400 miles. Good Spring Baptist Church A small white church building with yellow flowers in the foreground. Three historic church structures still stand, shedding light on the pre-park communities that once existed here. Heritage Trail A wooden boardwalk leads into the forest. The half-mile Heritage Trail leads to panoramic views of the Green River. Green River Valley A view of a river valley with hills covered in trees. A blue sky with white clouds stands above. Rolling hills and valleys can be seen from many of the overlooks in the park. Gothic Avenue A large stacked stone pillar reaches the flat ceiling containing signatures in a cave passage. Over two hundred years of guided tours leads to the history of Mammoth Cave. 2010 NPS Environmental Achievement Awards Recipients of the 2010 NPS Environmental Achievement Awards Geologic Maps in Action—Promote Education <strong>Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky</strong></br> Example of the application of geologic map data to support educational programs. cave formations Park Air Profiles - Mammoth Cave National Park Air quality profile for Mammoth Cave National Park. Gives park-specific information about air quality and air pollution impacts for Mammoth Cave NP as well as the studies and monitoring conducted for Mammoth Cave NP. Inside Mammoth Cave Morale, Welfare and Recreation in WWII National Parks Wartime NPS Director Newton Drury wrote 'In wartime, the best function of these areas is to prove a place to which members of the armed forces and civilians may retire to restore shattered nerves and to recuperate physically and mentally for the war tasks still ahead of them.' During World War II, parks across the United States supported the morale of troops and sought to become places of healing for those returning from war. B&W; soldiers post in front of large tree Southeast National Parks Train 165 New Wildland Firefighters Between December 2011 and March 2012, Southeast Region national parks trained 165 new wildland firefighters in S-130/190 courses at four separate units, including Mammoth Cave National Park, Kings Mountain National Military Park, Cumberland Island National Seashore, and Everglades National Park. Trainees came from federal and state agencies, local fire departments, universities, and other partners. Cultural Landscapes by Bicycle There are many ways to experience national parks by bicycle, with route options for all levels of experience and preference. Here are just three examples of ways to explore park cultural landscapes by bike in the southeastern part of the United States. Ride a loop road through an agricultural community in a fertile valley, follow the path of a former railroad that once brought tourists to Mammoth Cave, or travel mountain bike trails to a farmstead from the late 1800s. Two people with bikes gaze over a valley filled with fog, with blue mountains in the background. The 21st Century Fire Education Program In 2009, Mammoth Cave National Park signed an agreement with Barren County Middle School, partnering with the school to offer three week-long summer camps in conjunction with the school's 21st Century Learning Center. The park's environmental education program developed camps that focus on water/hydrology, nature/cave exploration, and fire. The fire camp, which was dubbed “Hot Shots,” contributes to children’s learning and connection with nature. 2011 Freeman Tilden Award Recipients Discover the innovative and exciting programs of the recipients of the national and regional 2011 Freeman Tilden Awards for excellence in interpretation. LIza Stearns 2003 NPS Environmental Achievement Awards Recipients of the 2003 Environmental Achievement Awards 2005 NPS Environmental Achievement Awards Recipients of the 2005 NPS Environmental Achievement Awards Bat Projects in Parks: Mammoth Cave National Park Conserving bats takes a variety of projects. Mammoth Cave National Park tried just that! A wooden railed walkway down into Mammoth Cave National Park Industry and Economy during the Civil War Both North and South mobilized industry to an unprecedented degree. But the North, which already had a head start in nearly every realm of industrial and agricultural development, far outpaced the South during the war. Unhampered by the southern opposition in such areas as providing free land to farmers and subsidizing a transcontinental railroad before the war, Congress passed sweeping legislation to expand the economy. As the war dragged on, in part because many of the ba Lithograph showing industrial and technological advancements of the Civil War Bats in Caves Bats and caves go together in people's minds. National Parks are home to many important bat caves. But, bats are particular. Many caves only contain a few bats. Some bats like certain caves for raising their young and other caves for winter hibernation. Other bats avoid caves entirely and sleep and raise their young in protected locations in trees and rocks outside. a group of bats hanging on a cave ceiling 2019 NPS Environmental Achievement Awards Since 2002, the National Park Service (NPS) has awarded Environmental Achievement (EA) Awards to recognize staff and partners in the area of environmental preservation, protection and stewardship. Tuberculosis in Mammoth Cave Dr. John Croghan of Louisville, Kentucky recognized certain qualities of the air at Mammoth Cave. He believed the uniform temperature and humidity would be therapeutic for patients with tuberculosis, and in 1842 he invited 16 patients to take up residence in the cave. He developed an experimental hospital treatment facility within the cave, around the same time that tourism was expanding. A group of people on and around a square, stone structure placed against the wall of a cave. Creating Beautiful Spaces Through Landscape Architecture Learn more about Landscape Architect Kate Randall and the type of work she does for NPS. Kate standing in outdoor area of a building in Christiansted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Shark Fossil—"Saivodus striatus" Interactive 3D Model Collected from Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky. 3d model of fossil on larger rock Shark Fossil—"Glikmanius" Interactive 3D Model Collected from Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky. painting of a prehistoric shark The Ghosts of Ancient Sharks at Mammoth Cave National Park 2019–2020 investigations at Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky, have revealed an unprecedented assemblage of Paleozoic (Late Mississippian) shark fossils preserved in the passages of the cave system. Not only teeth and spines are present, but there are examples of rare cartilaginous skeletal remains, and the fossils include previously unknown species. a paleo artist's painting of an ancient shark dead on the seafloor The International Year of Caves and Karst in 2021 The International Year of Caves and Karst is coming in 2021 and our National Parks will be participating with events and activities for all to enjoy. karst towers in china Series: Geologic Time Periods in the Paleozoic Era During the Paleozoic Era (541 to 252 million years ago), fish diversified and marine organisms were very abundant. In North America, the Paleozoic is characterized by multiple advances and retreats of shallow seas and repeated continental collisions that formed the Appalachian Mountains. Common Paleozoic fossils include trilobites and cephalopods such as squid, as well as insects and ferns. The greatest mass extinction in Earth's history ended this era. fossil corals in a rock matrix Series: Park Paleontology News - Vol. 12, No. 2, Fall 2020 All across the park system, scientists, rangers, and interpreters are engaged in the important work of studying, protecting, and sharing our rich fossil heritage. <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossils/newsletters.htm">Park Paleontology news</a> provides a close up look at the important work of caring for these irreplaceable resources. <ul><li>Contribute to Park Paleontology News by contacting the <a href="https://www.nps.gov/common/utilities/sendmail/sendemail.cfm?o=5D8CD5B898DDBB8387BA1DBBFD02A8AE4FBD489F4FF88B9049&r=/subjects/geoscientistsinparks/photo-galleries.htm">newsletter editor</a></li><li>Learn more about <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossils/">Fossils & Paleontology</a> </li><li>Celebrate <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossilday/">National Fossil Day</a> with events across the nation</li></ul> fossils on the ground with two people and a mountain in the distance Series: Mammoth Cave Collections—Paleontology More than 40 different species of fossil sharks and relatives have been identified from Mammoth Cave specimens. painting of a prehistoric shark Series: National Park Service Geodiversity Atlas The servicewide Geodiversity Atlas provides information on <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geoheritage-conservation.htm">geoheritage</a> and <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geodiversity.htm">geodiversity</a> resources and values all across the National Park System to support science-based management and education. The <a href="https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1088/index.htm">NPS Geologic Resources Division</a> and many parks work with National and International <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/park-geology.htm">geoconservation</a> communities to ensure that NPS abiotic resources are managed using the highest standards and best practices available. park scene mountains Series: NPS Environmental Achievement Awards Since 2002, the National Park Service (NPS) has awarded Environmental Achievement (EA) Awards to recognize staff and partners in the area of environmental preservation, protection and stewardship. A vehicle charges at an Electric Vehicle charging station at Thomas Edison National Historical Park Series: Park Uses of Geologic Information Geologic maps are critical to understanding a national park. Park staff use geologic maps for many purposes. These are just a few examples. colorful section of a geologic map of bryce canyon Series: Cave Week—Featured Articles More than 20 parks across the US are participating in Cave Week via social media posts, cave tours, exhibits, school events, web pages and much more. The theme for Cave Week 2020 is, “Why do we go into caves?” This articles shares a few stories about why people (and bats) enter caves. person standing by underground lake in a cave Series: Park Air Profiles Clean air matters for national parks around the country. Photo of clouds above the Grand Canyon, AZ From Dirt to Gunpowder Before Mammoth Cave was a popular travel destination, or even a national park, the owners of the cave operated a lucrative mining operation within the underground passageways. However, it was not precious metals or gems that were being mined from Mammoth Cave, but rather a mineral that exists in the dirt of the cave that aided the United States during the War of 1812. A diorama of what the saltpetre operation may have looked like. NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky Each park-specific page in the NPS Geodiversity Atlas provides basic information on the significant geologic features and processes occurring in the park. Links to products from Baseline Geologic and Soil Resources Inventories provide access to maps and reports. large cavern Mississippian Period—358.9 to 323.2 MYA The extensive caves of Mammoth Cave and Wind Cave national parks developed in limestone deposited during the Mississippian. Warm, shallow seas covered much of North America, which was close to the equator. fossil crinoid Paleozoic Era During the Paleozoic Era (541 to 252 million years ago), fish diversified and marine organisms were very abundant. In North America, the Paleozoic is characterized by multiple advances and retreats of shallow seas and repeated continental collisions that formed the Appalachian Mountains. Common Paleozoic fossils include trilobites and cephalopods such as squid, as well as insects and ferns. The greatest mass extinction in Earth's history ended this era. fossil corals in a rock matrix Prehistoric Cave Discoveries Throughout the modern history of Mammoth Cave, discoveries of some of the earliest prehistoric indigenous people have been found throughout the cave. a plant fiber woven slipper The Kentucky Cave Wars In the early twentieth century, an era of competition gripped the Mammoth Cave region. Rival cave owners battled in the courtroom, as well as along the roads, for the tourist dollars passing through Kentucky’s cave country en route to the future national park. A black and white photo of a road side booth with two people. Tragedy at Sand Cave A story that captivated the world and changed the trajectory for Mammoth Cave National Park. A black and white portrait of a man with a jacket and tie. Exploring the Worlds Longest Known Cave In 1972 a group of six cave explorers discovered the missing connection to make Mammoth Cave the worlds longest cave system. A black and white photo of a group of six people in caving gear. Blanket Cave National Youth Park—Activity Enjoy a fun activity and learn about caves even when you can't get out to a park. In this activity you will build your own cave and learn how to make it like a "real" natural cave. Find out about cave formations and wildlife, and how to be safe and care for caves. New "Blanket Cave National Youth Parks" are springing up all across America! Join the fun! cartoon drawing of a childs and a park ranger exploring a cave Top Ten Tips for Visiting Mammoth Cave National Park Discover the top ten insider tips for making your trip to Mammoth Cave National Park a great one! A long staircase leading down into a cave opening. The Great War Monuments Two of the nation's oldest World War I monuments stand as silent sentinels in the entryway of Mammoth Cave subtly sharing the message of remembrance. Two stone monuments dedicated to fallen soldiers of WWI. There are engravings on the front. 2021 IYCK Mammoth Cave Regional Art Contest Winners Winner of the Mammoth Cave National Park's 2021 International Years of Cave and Karst art contest.
Mammoth Cave National Park Backcountry Map 728 728 Tailwater Recreation Area 1827 1827 Roa 5 e Lincoln Ro ad Ollie Great Onyx Job Corps Center 0.8 Ri dg d Double ‘J’ Stables lie Ol (Private Business) 0.3 1.2 Tr a Trai l Bl 1.6 d We t 0.5 ge o ll ie 70 Stice Island Trail - Pedestrian/ Equestrian only Trail - Pedestrian/ Bicycling only NPS property Lincoln Map on Reverse Side Turnhole Bend Trailhead y) 0.1 1.1 r a il 0.5 ri Sp 0 1. Lo o p S p r i ng s Lo op Sand Cave Island Turnhole Spring Stables Ri d Ro ad Backcountry campsite ay Trail - Pedestrian only Bluffs -w Unimproved road (non-motorized) Green River Ferry Mammoth Cave Campground Violet City Entrance Carmichael Entance ne Trail - All Use Boardcut Island This Map Trail Road Historic Entrance Hotel 1.2 2 Miles ge 0 Trail R oad 2 Kilometers 0 Ben d North Visitor Center 2.8 190 Fe rr 0.6 ai l 195 259 Floating Mill Island South BROWNSVILLE Trail D 1.5 ry Pr Pr o ng We ek 8 0. Trail Ho Tr w llo 3.8 Maple Springs Group Campground il Tra North Loop Shortcut llow Ho 3 3. Sal Hollow Campsite Trail 1 Maple Springs Research Center y 0.1 Sa l il Tra .1 ple Ma 0.5 Turnhole Sal Hollow eek Cr Ho Hollow 1.1 Houchin Ferry Campground 0.3 H B ig 185 0.8 vis s-Da Trail Mile etery Cem 0.3 l Sa H oy cC No li B 1.3 200 2.1 No rth Trail il sT ng L oo p 1 Tr Maple Springs Big Hollow 0.2 re a B u f f a lo C Bluffs ry Buffalo Crump Island ps i t e a m .6 0 l lo w (Ferry not in service) B luffs C Good Spring Church Homestead Campsite Trail Trail McCoy Hollow Homestead ow oll .7 1 0. D g on 0.3 2.0 C re ek McCoy Hollow Campsite Trail 3.6 Houchin Ferry t 0.3 l Big Three Springs 1.0 nch Br a i 2.0 of a a Tr R Collie id geCamp 0.7 Ridge -w ne (o 1.9 il sit e Tra uffa lo Three Springs Campsite Trail W i M ap le M C o ll et o in uch C 0.9 l r Prong y Ferr er R iv Temple Hill Mill First Creek Campsite 2 Trail 1.1 4.8 1.4 o f i Tra 1.0 Ho llo w Buffalo d f Bu f Ri Fi r st Prong il 2.3 Tra o al e n en First Creek Lake 0.3 First Creek Campsite 1 Trail First Creek 2 ve Gre 2 Ri Raymer Hollow Campsite Trail 5 1. First Creek 1 Raymer Hollow er k ee Cr Warning: Do not cross when water covers the ford. To White Oak Trailhead  1. Second Creek Campsite Trail k Roa Cr ee 2 0. 3.0 il 0.1 ll C le ng Pr o 0.2 Hollow m Ray t Firs rin 5 0. Cre ek Second Creek 1.4 l Trai Sp a ir gs Ferguson Campsite Trail 1352 k Ferguson re e First Creek C R o ad Great Onyx Job Corps Center Trail Stables Trail (Private business) Turnhole Bend Nature Trail 2325 o Joppa Church Doyel Valley Overlook Jo p pa Lucky Island White Oak Dennison Ferry Day-Use Area (No ferry, no potable water) 2.4 Little Jordan Cemetery 7 Great Onyx Cave Three Sisters Island 205 og kL Lic White Oak Crystal Cave ad Ro n iso nn De x Cave Great Ony ad Ro e Crys ta l C a v Ridg e Flint er F Mammoth Cave Baptist Church Rd ry Ro ad Road te rR d un Elevator oa R. H Ridge ad Ro Ha m ilton Valley Rd y Cit R oa Little Hope Cemetery d m o th Cave Un io a M m n Rd New Entrance City Pa rk Ca ve Frozen Niagara Entrance Sand Cave Trail 255 Par • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • A Special Note About River Mussels Green River is home to more species of freshwater mussels than any other river in North America, and seven of these mussel species are endangered. Do not touch, pick up or collect live mussels or their shells at any time. Possession of live mussels or their shells in the park is strictly prohibited. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
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Mammoth Cave National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Mammoth Cave National Park Archeology at Mammoth Cave Burnt cane torches The First Ones Over 12,000 years ago, when huge sheets of thick glacial ice covered large portions of the North American continent, small nomadic groups of people wandered over the Kentucky landscape. Today, archeologists refer to these early American people as Paleoindians, which means “ancient Indians.” However, we know very little about them. We don’t know what they called themselves and we don’t know what language they spoke. We know that they were experts at working stone to make spear points for thrusting into their prey. We know that they lived by hunting animals and gathering plants, and we know that part of their time was spent hunting megafauna (large animals) such as bison, giant ground sloths, and mastodons. The PaleoIndians were a transient people, moving frequently and moving long distances in order to follow animal herds and collect nuts, berries, and other foods that ripened with the seasons. Because these people moved so often and traveled in small groups, there have been few opportunities to locate the places where they camped. So far, only a few spear points of the PaleoIndian people have been found in Mammoth Cave National Park. A Changing World Over time, temperatures warmed, glaciers retreated to the north, megafauna became extinct, and the local environment changed from a forest dominated by pine, spruce, and fir to a forest of mixed hardwoods containing oak and hickory. The population of the Indians also increased. With these environmental changes came changes in the ways native Americans lived. Instead of hunting megafauna, they hunted smaller animals such as deer, turkey, and raccoon. They continued to make fine stone tools, but they made them in different shapes and sizes, reflecting the new hunting methods developed to more efficiently capture smaller animals. Because these de- scendants of PaleoIndians practiced a different way of life from their ancestors, archeologists have given them a different name: the Archaic Indians. The Archaic period dates from 8000 B.C. to 1000 B.C. in Kentucky. The earliest Archaic peoples continued a foraging way of life similar to the that of their PaleoIndian ancestors. Small groups of related peoples, called “bands,” frequently moved within their hunting territories, collecting various plants and animals as they became seasonally available. Several Early Archaic (8000-6000 B.C.) sites exist in Mammoth Cave National Park. Getting Crowded As the numbers of Archaic people grew, the number of bands grew, and the hunting territory of each band shrank in size. The smaller territories and the differences in local environments between territories led to the development of more and more differences between groups. Members of each band adapted to the conditions, developing new tools and modifying seasonal movements and hunting and gathering strategies to take advantage of the resources within their own territory. In Mammoth Cave National Park, this slow adaption to local environments is reflected in an increase in the number and types of artifacts, especially spear points, found from the Middle Archaic period (6000-3000 B.C.). Bands did not live in isolation. They came in contact with other bands, and they exchanged chert, shells, copper, and marriage partners. The Miners During the Late Archaic period (3000-1000 B.C.) the numbers of people in this region continued to grow. During the later portion of the Archaic period, the Indians began making pottery, cultivating gardens, and growing domesticated plants. It was near the end of the Late Archaic period that Indians began exploring Mammoth Cave and other caves in the area, collecting minerals they found. Why Late Archaic people traveled miles within Mam- moth Cave to collect selenite, mirabilite, epsomite, and gypsum is a matter of speculation. The most likely reason is that these minerals were valued for their medicinal properties and/or ceremonial uses, and that they were traded to other groups for food, shells, chert, and other goods. Growers and Shapers Trade and Travel The adoption of gardening and pottery-making signaled the beginning of fundamental changes in the way Indians lived. No longer did they have to rely solely upon wild animals and plants for their subsistence. Now they could increase their food supply by growing some of their food in gardens. In recognition of these and other changes that occurred in the lives of the Indians, archeologists have called the period following the adoption of potterymaking and gardening the Woodland period. The Woodland period in Kentucky dates from 1000 B.C. to 900 A.D., and like the Archaic period, has been subdivided into Early Woodland, Middle Woodland, and Late Woodland periods. During the Woodland period, populations grew and aggregated in larger and larger groups. Groups moved less often and formed small sem
Mammoth Cave National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Mammoth Cave National Park Karst Geology Look Beneath Beneath the surface of South Central Kentucky lies a world characterized by miles of dark, seemingly endless passageways. The geological processes which formed this world referred to as Mammoth Cave began hundreds of millions of years ago and continue today. The Ancient World 350 million years ago the North American continent was located much closer to the equator. A shallow sea covered most of the southeastern United States, and its warm water supported a dense population of tiny organisms whose shells were made of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). As these creatures died, their shells accumulated by the billions on the sea floor. In addition, calcium carbonate can precipitate from the water itself. The build-up of material continued for 70 million years accumulating seven hundred feet of limestone and shale followed by sixty feet of sandstone that was deposited over much of the area by a large river system flowing into the sea from the north. About 280 million years ago the sea level started to fall exposing the layers of limestone and sandstone. Additional tectonic forces caused the earth’s crust to slowly rise causing cracks to form in and between the limestone and sandstone formations. As the uplift continued, rivers developed which over millions of years have created the sandstone-capped plateau above the Green River and the low, almost flat limestone plain which extends southeast of I-65. “Acid Rain” Rain water, acidified by carbon dioxide in the soil seeped downward through cracks in the limestone and began to dissolve and create the labyrinth of passages we know as Mammoth Cave. As the land continued to rise slowly, Green River eroded its channel deeper and deeper, passages created drained through the limestone toward the river which became the out-source for waters creating the cave. Because the major drains carried the most water, they enlarged faster. As Green River eroded its channel deeper into the bedrock, cave passages continued dropping to the same level as the Green River. Upper level passages drained and became dry. At the present water table, cave passages are still forming. Surface Clues As you approach the park, several clues suggest the existence of caves. Road cuts along the highway expose vast amounts of soluble limestone which display solutionally enlarged vertical cracks, an indicator that caves are forming. The undulating landscape along the interstate is created by crater like depressions called “sinkholes’, which funnel surface water into the passages below. It is referred to as the “Land of 10,000 sinks” or the Sinkhole Plain. At the southeast edge of the Sinkhole Plain, surface streams suddenly sink underground joining the drainage from thousands of sinkholes and continuing to the Northwest where they become the underground rivers in Mammoth Cave. Soluble limestone, sinkholes, sinking streams and caves create a landform called Karst Topography. The Uplands Driving Northwest from Cave City or Park City, you climb the Chester Escarpment which rises some 300 feet above the sinkhole plain. Beyond the top of the escarpment the plateau is divided into flat sandstone capped ridges separated by steep, limestone-floored valleys with many sinkholes. It is the sandstone capped ridges that protect the cave. Putting It All Together The unique features of karst topography have made Mammoth Cave the longest cave in the world, with more than 360 miles of mapped passages. Water from sinking streams and sinkholes under the sinkhole plain which created the cave system flows beneath the protective sandstone caprock to spring outlets along the Green River. Echo and River Styx springs are historic examples of such outlets. Over time the Green River has paused many times as it deepened its valley resulting in the formation of multiple cave levels. In addition, textural and structural differences between limestone beds created different flow paths in and between different cave levels. Water flowing horizontally off the sandstone caprock seeps into the limestone below creating vertical shafts in the limestone. These are younger than the horizontal passages that they by chance interconnect. The shaft drains, eventually joining actively forming passages at the water table, thus adding to the cave’s complexity. Finally, the caprock on the plateau protects older upper level passages from collapse. This is in contrast with the Sinkhole Plain where the land surface continues to erode, causing upper level cave passages to collapse and are eroded away faster then newer passages can be formed at the water table. Creation and Destruction Cave passages also collapse in Mammoth Cave. As the valleys below the ridges widen and deepen they intersect the older upper level passages which eventually collapse resulting in a “terminal breakdown”. The Historic Entrance to Mammoth Cave is an example
Mammoth Cave National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Mammoth Cave National Park Biology and Cave Life A Diversity of Life Mammoth Cave National Park’s 52,700 acres constitute one of the greatest protectors of biological diversity in Kentucky. The surface contains animals typical of an eastern hardwood forest. Larger animals include white-tailed deer, fox, raccoon, opossum, woodchuck, beaver, rabbit and squirrel. Smaller animals, such as bats, mice and chipmunks, also abound. Many reptiles and amphibians find protection in the park too. Birds such as mourning doves, whippoorwills, owls, hawks, woodpeckers, and warblers fly through Mammoth Cave’s forests. Wild turkeys reintroduced in 1983 are now regularly seen by visitors. Varied Forests While most of the park consists of second-growth woodland, a number of unique communities of plants – hemlocks and other northern plants growing in cool moist ravines, wetlands, and open barrens with prairie vegetation – contribute much to the variety in plant life and harbor many of the park’s rare species. Currently, botanists are updat- ing the park plant list. So far, 872 species of flowering plants have been confirmed, and the list is still growing. Of these species, 21 are currently listed as endangered, threatened or of special concern. Active management, including prescribed burning, may be needed in order to protect some habitats in the park. Teeming Rivers The Green River, which meanders through the park, supports an unusual diversity of fish, including five species that have not been found anywhere else in the world, and three species of cavefish. Another group of aquatic animals, freshwater mussels, survive in the sand and gravel of the Green River. Over 50 species of mussels, including three on the endangered species list, live in the park. Aquatic animals in the river play an important role in providing nourishment for other animals – in the cave, in the river, and on the land. Things That Go Bump In the Dark On first glance, in walking into Mammoth Cave, the dark and quiet passageways may appear nearly devoid of life. But first impressions can be deceiving, and surprisingly, biologists have discovered over 200 species of animals in Mammoth Cave! Animals in the cave include everything from surface animals that have accidentally stumbled or tumbled into the cave – like raccoons and bullfrogs – to 42 species of troglobites, animals adapted exclusively to life in the darkness. One of Mammoth Cave’s claims to fame, besides its length and wealth of human history, is its biological variety. The diversity of cave animals in the Mammoth Cave area rivals the richness of any caveland region in the world. To a biologist, a cave is a wildlife sanctuary – a retreat for animals so specialized in structure and habit that they cannot endure conditions on the surface. To understand the survival techniques of cave animals, we need to first take a closer look at three environmental factors governing Mammoth Cave. life. The temperature of the cave varies due to air movement near the entrances, the location (on ridges or in valleys), and the temperature of water entering the cave. In a sense, the cave has its own weather system. Wind is created by temperature differences between the entrance and interior passageways. This causes a "chimney effect," resulting in a wind chill factor underground. The chimney effect can also produce "rain" inside the cave by altering the dewpoint. The final contributor to cave weather is the barometric pressure. Barometric changes affect air movement, humidity levels and dew points. Subtle weather changes in the cave make it possible for a perceptive caver to discern outside weather conditions, even though he or she may be hundreds of feet below the surface. First of all, the cave world does not change as rapidly as our sunlit world; however, change does occur. The cave has its own cycles and rhythms of Secondly, Mammoth Cave is intricately tied to the outside world. The cave is different from our world, but the survival of cave life depends on the surface. Plants, through photosynthesis and through their own decay, release carbon dioxide that combines with water in the air and in the soil, to form weak carbonic acid that carves the cave. In Thirdly, the lack of light produces stress in caves by limiting the availability of food. Therefore, cave animals must make behavioral, physiological, and morphological adaptations to survive. Some animals, called trogloxenes (or cave visitors), regularly visit or hibernate in caves but customarily leave caves. By collecting food on the surface and then returning to caves, trogloxenes play an important role in providing food for cave animals that never venture outside. Bats, cave crickets, and pack rats are well-known trogloxenes. No Vampires Need Apply Although Mammoth Cave is not currently used by large numbers of bats, twelve species, including two endangered species, live here.
Mammoth Cave National Park National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior The Bransfords of Mammoth Cave C urious visitors have come to Mammoth Cave since 1816 to see the subterranean realm. Travelers of those early years often wrote accounts of the cave and their experiences, accounts which were published on both sides of the Atlantic and brought more visitors to discover the cave first-hand with the only people who truly knew this underworld – the guides. And among the greatest of the guides were the Bransfords. Bransford family members guided visitors in Mammoth Cave from 1838 until 1939. Prior to the Bransfords, two generations of earlier guides had conducted travelers through the cave. MAT and NICK A new era began in 1838 when Franklin Gorin, an attorney of Glasgow, Kentucky, purchased the property from Hyman and Simon Gratz. Gorin brought his 17-year-old slave, Stephen, for a guide. He also hired from his Glasgow friend, Thomas Bransford, two slaves, Mat and Nick, brothers about the same age as Stephen. Guides Joe Shackleford and Archibald Miller, Jr. taught the three younger guides the tourist routes in the cave, as they themselves had been taught by earlier guides. The three were willing learners and became the principle guides during the next two decades. Not content with the known cave, each of tuberculosis hospital in the cave, and in 1841 the three were set to work building cabins in the cave to house future patients. Two were built in Audubon Avenue, some in the Main Cave, and one in Pensico Avenue. Dr. Croghan died in 1849, and Stephen in 1857. Now Mat and Nick were the most experienced guides. Dr. Charles W. Wright, in his 1858 guidebook, wrote that “although a great deal has been said and written about Stephen, from the fact that he was the favorite of a former proprietor, he was in no respect superior to either Mat or Nicholas, nor was his acquaintance with the cave more thorough or extensive.” Wright also mentioned that “Mat, as well as Nicholas, saved a party from drowning on the Echo River, by his courage and selfpossession.” Some visitors wanted to explore the new parts of the cave. In 1863 F.J. Stevenson of London, England, spent ten days doing just that. He and Nick descended into the bottom of Gorin’s Dome, and found a pool of water issuing from under a low arch of rock, and passing out by a similar arch on the other side. The following day a small boat was constructed and lowered by guides to the bottom of the dome. Stevenson and Nick spent the next two days exploring the upstream part of the river. Mat assisted Charles Waldack, a Cincinnati photographer, in taking the first photographs in the cave. The equipment, large and awkward, included a stereographic camera, magnesium flare holders, and bulky reflectors, all of which Mat helped transport from place to place within the cave. Forty-two wet-plate stereoscopic views were taken in 1866 and published by Anthony& Co. of New York in 1867. These are now at the Library of Congress. The one showing Mat at the cave entrance is a favorite of collectors. During his 50 years as a guide, Nick saw many famous people come to the cave. Ralph Waldo Emerson came in 1850. His impressions of the Star Chamber inspired one of his essays. The following year Jenny Lind sat in the Devil’s Armchair in Gothic Avenue. It has since been known as Jenny Lind’s Armchair. In 1872 Grand Duke Alexis of Russia toured the cave, as did Dom Pedro, Emperor of Brazil, in 1876. That same year Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth is said to have recited from Hamlet from a high natural stage in the room since known as Booth’s Amphitheatre. One of the 1867 visitors cave a colorful description of Nick: “We call him Old Nick, considerably past middle age; wrinkled, a short, broad strongman ... every one of the innumerable wrinkles in his black face made more distinct, with his white beard and mustache, and the whites of his eyes seeming to glow in the blue elfish light ....” Inscription on the cave wall, Snowball Room them entered the dark unknown and made new discoveries. Mat was a member of the exploring team that first entered Mammoth Dome and found there a miner’s lantern that had been dropped down Crevice Pit when the cave was worked for saltpetre. He also discovered at the end of Franklin Avenue a beautiful grotto later named Serena’s Arbor. The cave property changed hands again in 1839 when Dr. John Croghan of Louisville purchased the cave. Stephen was sold with the cave, and Mat and Nick were leased as before. In the truest sense, the three belonged to the cave, and only secondarily to their legal owners. Croghan planned a HENRY A second generation of Bransfords followed the first as guides at Mammoth Cave. Henry, son of Mat, was born in 1849; trained by his father, he began guiding around 1872. He delighted in showing the saltpetre hoppers used during the war of 1812, and the road through the Main Cave along which oxcarts brought petre dirt to the hoppers.
Mammoth Cave National Park National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Stephen Bishop, Cave Guide of his courage, intelligence, and untiring zeal. He is extremely attentive and polite, particularly so to the ladies, and he runs over what he has to say with such ease and readiness, and mingles his statement of facts with such lofty language, that all classes, male and female, listen with respect, and involuntarily smile at his remark. His business as a guide brought him so often in contact with the intellectual and scientific, that he has become acquainted with every geological specimen in the cave, and hen Franklin Gorin and having a prodigious memory, has at A.A. Harvey purchased his tongue’s every incident of interest Mammoth Cave in 1838, that has transpired during his adminGorin brought his young slave, the istration.” 17-year old Stephen Bishop, to be a new cave guide. “Stephen and Alfred belonged to Dr. Croghan, the late owner of the In October of 1839, Stephen met his cave, and are to be manumitted in new master. Gorin had sold Mamanother year, with a number of other moth Cave to Dr. John Croghan. slaves. They are now receiving wages, in order to enable them to begin freedom with a little capital, in Liberia, their destined home.” Stephen became a free man the following year, but he chose to remain at the cave. Stephen died during the summer of 1857. He is buried in the “Old Guide’s Cemetery” on the ridgetop south of the cave entrance. Quoted material taken from Stephen Bishop, the Man and the Legend W “Stephen, handsome, good humored, intelligent, the most complete of guides, the presiding genius of this territory. He is a middle-sized mulatto, owned, as they say here, of handsome, bright features. He has occupied himself so frequently in exploring the various passages of the cavern, that there is now no living being who knows it so well. The discoveries made have been the result Using a tallow candle, Stephen would smoke his name on the ceiling of the cave. To avoid wax dripping in his eyes, he would use a mirror – and sometimes get the letters backward.
Mammoth Cave National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Mammoth Cave National Park Extracted from the writings of Harold Meloy Francis Benjamin Johnson A Short Legal History of Mammoth Cave Beginnings It does not clearly appear when this cave was first discovered by white settlers, probably in the latter part of the 18th Century. The Cave was located on a 200-acre tract of land conveyed in 1811 by Flatt to McLean. It first came into public notice during the War of 1812, when saltpetre was extracted for powder-making purposes from its nitrous deposits. It was then known as Mammoth Cave, but its extent and boundaries were then and still are unknown. The Mammoth Cave was certainly known during the last decade of the 18th Century, when the entire Green River area was overrun by hunters, adventurers, and settlers. The first pioneers to enter the cave discovered many prehistoric remains, indicating that the Mammoth Cave’s history was older than initially thought. The First Record In surveyor’s Book A, Page 268, in the Warren County Clerk’s office, appears the entry of a survey of 200 acres of land on Green River in the name of Valentine Simons, who was the first owner of this celebrated cavern. This survey was made on September 3, 1799, by Elijah M. Covington, then county surveyor of Warren County and one of the wealthy men of the Green River section. This survey gives the metes and bounds of the 200 acres tract and concludes with the words “to the beginning including two saltpetre caves.” The Unpleasantness in 1812 These two caves were called Dixon’s Cave and the War with Great Britian was declared in June, 1812, but the two countries had been having serious misunderstandings for many months. On July 9, 1812, the deed to the Mammoth Cave was “sold” three times, probably to reflect earlier transactions and to produce a clear title. First, Valentine Simons and his wife are listed as selling their land (including the two caves) to John Flatt of Barren County, Kentucky, for $116.67. On the same day, Flatt handed over title to the lands to George and John McLean for $400 cash. Finally, on the same day, the McLeans sold 156 acres of this tract to Fleming Gatewood and Charles Wilkins for $3,000 cash. The war was on and men Nitre From the Soil We know nothing of Simmons or of Flatt. Fleming Gatewood was a brother-in-law of the founder of Bell’s Tavern, a celebrated hostelry of bygone days located in what was then called Glasgow Junction. Glasgow Junction is today known as Park City, Kentucky. Gratz was a wealthy man from Philadelphia and Wilkins was a wealthy bachelor from Lexington, Kentucky. Gratz and Wilkins exploited the saltpetre deposits of the caves during the entire period of the War of 1812 and are said to have realized large prof- Mammoth Cave on the patent issued January 31, 1812 by Charles Scott, esquire, Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. This patent gives the same metes and bounds as the 200 acre tract issued to Valentine Simmons in 1799. Both of these caves were known to contain large deposits of nitrous earth. Interestingly, January 31, 1812 was also the first time the name “Mammoth Cave” appears on record. were eagerly seeking possession of the valuable deposits of saltpetre in the caves. On August 25, 1812, Gatewood sold his half interest in the 156 acres mentioned which embraced Mammoth Cave to Hyman Gratz for $10,000 cash. This deed recites “including the saltpetre cave known by name of Flatt’s, now the Mammoth Cave”. On April 20, 1813, in consideration of $400 cash, Hyman Gratz purchased the remaining 40 acres of the 200 acre survey, which embraced Dixon’s Cave. its. The earth of the floor of the caves was rich in nitrates of calcium and potash. By leaching processes this “saltpetre” was made available for commerce. The vats and wooden pipes can still be seen just inside the mouth of the Mammoth Cave. Kentucky salt, as it was called, or Peter’s dirt, as it was known to the pioneer, helped win the War of 1812, if that war can be said to have been won at all. The Lawyer and the Doctor Following the War of 1812, Mammoth Cave and Dixon Cave fell greatly in value and on June 28, 1828, the executors of Charles Wilkins, deceased, sold his entire one-half interest to the other joint owner, Hyman Gratz, for $200 cash. In the spring of the year 1838 the cave was purchased by Mr. Franklin Gorin of Glasgow, Kentucky, a prominent lawyer of Barren County. He held it only a short time and, in December of 1839, conveyed it to Dr. John Croghan. Croghan was a son of Major William Croghan, a Scotsman who had distinguished himself in the United States Army. Major Croghan married a sister of General George Rogers Clark. His oldest son, John, was graduated from the University of Penn- sylvania in 1813, studied medicine with Dr. Rush of Philadelphia, and afterwards took a supplementary course in Edinburgh, Scotland. Dr. Croghan, a bachelor, died in 1849, leaving a remarkable will probated in Je

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