17 May 2023

This National Park Has the Longest-known Cave System in the World

With Over 400 Miles of Underground Passages, Sparkling Domes, and a Frozen Waterfall

By Evie Carrick
Travel + Leisure

The idea of another world existing beneath our feet is both thrilling and terrifying — and it’s the reality at Mammoth Cave National Park, which has the longest known cave system in the world. The park’s namesake cave runs more than 400 miles under the earth’s surface — and that’s just the part that has been explored and mapped. Inside the aptly named Mammoth Cave, you’ll find tube-like passageways, great rooms with sparkling walls, slot canyons, huge domes, and even a dripstone that resembles a frozen waterfall.

It’s no wonder Mammoth Cave has long drawn visitors to south-central Kentucky. And while it’s easily the park’s biggest draw, it isn’t its only attraction. Mammoth Cave National Park is home to thousands of years of human history and stretches nearly 53,000 acres above the earth’s surface. The landscape — rolling hills, thick forests, and lush river valleys — lends itself to hiking and biking, and the park is also traversed by the Green and Nolin rivers, which offer plenty of opportunities for boating and fishing.

If you’re interested in visiting a lesser-known park with lots to offer — it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve — let us guide you through the wonders of Mammoth Cave National Park, including what to do, where to stay, and when to go.

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