MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky. – Mammoth Cave National Park will offer free Discovery cave tours on Saturday, September 26, in recognition of National Public Lands Day. The Friends of Mammoth Cave have organized their Walk in the Park on the same day, offering an above-below hike in the park.
“Find Your Park is the catchphrase of the 2016 National Park Service centennial,” said Superintendent Sarah Craighead. “It can easily be applied to other public lands, too, in drawing attention to fun and fascinating landscapes set aside for all to enjoy. In Kentucky there are many parks, forests, reservoirs and wildlife areas managed by county, state and federal governments. Get out and find your special place on your public lands.”
Mammoth Cave Discovery tour
Free Mammoth Cave Discovery tours will be offered on September 26, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Participants need to pick up a free ticket in the visitor center before going on the tour. Allow at least 30 minutes; this is a self-guided tour.
The Mammoth Cave Discovery tour requires a walk down and up the steep hill below the visitor center, as well as 160 steps. In the cave, visit the Rotunda, one of the largest rooms, explore a vast canyon passageway, and learn about 19th-century saltpeter mining operations and the geologic origins of Mammoth Cave.
Walk in the Park
Come for a free family-friendly activity and take a hike below and above ground, sponsored by the Friends of Mammoth Cave. Pick up your free cave ticket in the visitor center, then meet on the back porch at 10 a.m. The Friends will start with a half-mile cave hike along the Discovery cave tour route, then hike past prominent karst features on the surface, and finish up by checking out the expanded services at the Caver’s Camp Store. Walk in the Park participants will receive a complimentary bottle of water with a purchase, courtesy of Forever Resorts. Total distance: about 3 miles.
Note: tour requirements regarding white-nose syndrome (WNS) in bats:
While there are no known harmful effects to humans, WNS is responsible for the deaths of millions of hibernating bats across the eastern United States since its discovery in 2006. WNS was found in Mammoth Cave in winter 2012-13. To minimize the spread of WNS fungus, all participants on cave tours must walk across bio-security mats to clean footwear immediately following the conclusion of their cave tour.