Kentucky Mammoth Cave National Park map and highlights

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Kentucky Mammoth Cave National Park map and highlights

Map of Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth  Cave National Park in south-central Kentucky, northeast of Bowling  Green. Short description of Mammoth Cave National Park.     
Mammoth Cave National Park in south-central Kentucky, northeast of Bowling Green     
The Mammoth Cave network is the world's longest, extending for  more than 360 mi beneath the mountains of southern Kentucky. This  incredible maze of underground passages, endless vertical shafts, and  cold, black rivers also hides many unusual nocturnal creatures: eyeless  fish, cave spiders, white crayfish, and rare beetles, among many others.  Above ground the park has 70 mi of backcountry hiking and horseback  riding trails, plus 31 mi of scenic shorelines along the Green and Nolin  rivers. The site was established in 1941, designated a World Heritage  Site in 1981, and declared an International Biosphere Reserve in 1990.     
WHAT TO SEE & DO     
Bird-watching, canoeing (rentals Brownsville), cave touring,  fishing, hiking, horseback riding (rentals nearby), kayaking,  picnicking. Facilities: Visitor center, hiking trails. Book-and-gift  shop, covered picnic tables, picnic tables with fire grills. Programs  & Events: Daily ranger-led cave tours, talks, and slide  presentations. Ranger-led nature walks, evening programs (May-Oct.).  Wildflower Day (Apr.), Roots in the Cave (Oct.). Tips & Hints: Wear  comfortable walking shoes and bring a jacket for inside the cave. Go in  spring for dogwood blooms, Aug. for wildflower peak. Busiest July and  Aug., least crowded Dec. and Jan. Winter visits yield gorgeous icicle  formations along the rivers.     
FOOD, LODGING & SUPPLIES     
Camping: 3 campgrounds in the park: Headquarters (109 sites;  $16; flush toilets; closed Dec.-Feb.), Houchins Ferry (12 sites; $12;  pit toilets), Maple Springs (7 group sites; $25; pit toilets).  Backcountry camping available (permit required, see below). H Hotels: In  the park: Mammoth Cave Hotel (Rte. 70, tel. 270/758-2225; 62 rooms, 20  cottages, 10 cabins; $35-$75; cottages closed Oct.-mid-May, cabins  closed Nov.-mid-Mar.). In Horse Cave: Budget Host Inn (Rte. 218 at 1-65,  tel. 270/786-2165; 80 rooms; $30-$47), Hampton Inn Horse Cave (750  Flint Ridge Rd., tel. 270/786-5000 or 800/426-7866; 101 rooms; $74-$79).  X Restaurants: In the park: Mammoth Cave Hotel (Rte. 70, tel.  270/758-2225; $2-$8). In Cave City: Sahara Steak House (413 E. Happy  Valley Rd., tel. 270/773-3450; $9-$30). 6 Groceries & Gear: In the  park: Service Center-Caver's Camp Store (near Headquarters Campground,  tel. 270/758-2232).     
FEES, HOURS & REGULATIONS     
Free. Scenic cave tours $5-$ 12, Introduction to Caving tour  $22, Wild Cave Tour $45; children ages 6 or under or less than 42 inches  tall not allowed on some tours. Other restrictions apply. Backcountry  camping permits (free) required. No pets on cave tours or off leash.  Mountain bikes and in-line skates in designated areas only No fireworks.  No Jet Skis on river. No off-road motorized equipment. Park open  year-round, with daily cave tours. Visitor center open Jan-Feb., daily  9--5; Mar.-mid-June and Labor Day-Dec, daily 8-5; mid-June-Labor Day,  daily 7:30-7.     
HOW TO GET THERE     
Via 1-65 to Cave City or Park City exits, then head west on  Rte. 70 or Mammoth Cave Parkway. Closest airports: Louisville, KY (90  mi), Nashville, TN (100 mi).     
CONTACTS     
Mammoth Cave National Park (Box 7, Mammoth Cave, KY 42259, tel.  270/758-2178; 800/967-2283 for activities requiring reservations or  online at  fax 270/758-2349, ). Cave City Chamber of Commerce and  Welcome Center (Box 460, 502 Mammoth Cave St., Cave City, KY 42127,  tel./fax 270/773-5159). Edmonson County Tourist Commission (Box 628,  Brownsville, KY 42210, tel. 800/624-8687,).   
Mammoth Cave National Park In south-central Kentucky, northeast  of Bowling Green. Short description of Mammoth Cave National Park.   
Above right: Mammoth Cave National Park offers the opportunity to explore a fascinating subterranean world.   
Right: The forces of water—and time—carved the stalactites, stalagmites and columns of limestone.   
Facing page: The sheer size of Mammoth Cave is  overwhelming—passages stretch on for miles, domes reach vast heights and  pits seem to go to the very center of the earth.   
Mammoth Cave, Kentucky   
Established: 1941   Acreage: 52,370   
From the beginning, underground explorers doubted that they would  ever find the end of Mammoth Cave. The cave system goes on and on for  more than 300 miles of known passages, and there is yet more cave to be  explored. It is the longest cave in the world, with none others even  coming close. In this huge subterranean world, there are giant vertical  shafts, from the towering 192-foot-high Mammoth Dome to the  105-foot-deep Bottomless Pit. Some passages and rooms are decorated with  sparkling white gypsum crystals, while others are filled with the  colorful shapes of stalactites, stalagmites and other formations. The  area is known as a karst landscape, a region of limestone caves,  underground rivers, springs and sinkholes.   
Water has been the guiding force in the creation of this landscape. Underground water working in cracks and  
between rock layers has carved out Mammoth Cave's long,  horizontal passageways over the past few million years. Mammoth's huge  vertical shafts, called pits and domes, have been created by groundwater  seeping downward through sinkholes or cracks behind the edge of the  protective hard layer of sandstone that overlies much of the cave.   
Although the cave was explored by prehistoric Indians as many as  4000 years ago, modern-day encounters with the cave supposedly began in  the late 1790s, when a hunter chasing a bear fell into its gaping  entrance. The cave became commercially valuable during the War of 1812  between the United States and Britain. Cave sediments with abundant  quantities of nitrate, an essential ingredient of gunpowder, were mined  by slaves during the war. By the war's end, Mammoth was famous and soon  became one of the nation's popular attractions. During the 1800s and  early 1900s the cave was host to all kinds of events - weddings, stage  performances. Even a tuberculosis hospital was established.   
Today, Mammoth Cave National Park provides the extraordinary  world of the underground and the more familiar surface world of oak and  hickory forests, meandering rivers and woodland wildlife.
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