A Falcon Guide to
Mammoth Cave National Park, 2nd edition
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Book Excerpt Below
About the Book
Belowground, Mammoth Cave National Park in southwestern Kentucky is part of the largest known cave system in the world. Aboveground, the park offers two winding rivers, numerous creeks, and a lush forest full of trails to be explored. Discover all the activities available in the 50,000-acre wonderland with A Falcon Guide to Mammoth Cave National Park
Inside you will find:
– a foldout map of the park, complete with trails and activities
– cave tours, boat tours, scenic drives, and picnic areas
– where to walk, hike, bike, paddle, fish and ride a horse
– facts about the area’s weather, history, flora and fauna
– lists of park accommodations, campsites, and area B&Bs
Paddling the Green River Backcountry Hiking
Mammoth Cave National Park offers recreation opportunities above and below ground. This alone makes the park a rarity, where one day you can see what lies below and then enjoy where the sun does shine. In establishing the national park, the Department of Interior unwittingly created a contiguous swath of land unlike other national parks. Most other parks preserve superlative swaths of land, where mountains reach for the sky, arches bend over colorful rock, or ecosystems, such as coral reefs, simply so unique they demand protection. But the land above Mammoth Cave, while integral to the underworld below, is unusual in its own right. It is unique because there are no other protected parcels of Middle American upland hardwood forest of this size. Then add the fact that this is “karst country,” a land cut by a complex of fissures, caves, and bluffs centered by the Green River, which flows through the heart of the park.
Green River bottomland Broadway Boardwalk
So what does this means for the Mammoth Cave National Park visitor? It means a park where trails lead through this unusual landscape, a place where the Green River forms a water trail, a moving venue where you can get a bottom up view of the park, as opposed to the “inside out” view from the cave. You can do this in your own boat or take a scenic guided boat tour. The hiking trails of Mammoth Cave offer top down views, such as the one at one the Green River Bluffs Trail. Or you can combine park history with pedaling on the Mammoth Cave Rail Trail, which traces the old railroad grade that once led passengers to the park. Maybe road biking along the quiet park roads is your bag, or maybe it is taking a scenic drive, or horseback riding or fishing on the Green River. Perhaps you want to combine camping with your trip, or want to enjoy the more luxurious accommodations within the park boundaries. All the above and more are detailed in this book.
Wet Prong Buffalo Creek At Headquarters Campground
But most park visits begins with Mammoth Cave itself. Varieties of cave tours offer different perspectives of the underworld. You can learn about the past on the Historic Tour, or get a real taste of days gone by on the Violet City Lantern Tour, which is lit only by primitive light carried by tourists. The Grand Avenue Tour travels four miles, and makes for an underground “hike.” And there is the Wild Cave Tour, where you get down and dirty, crawling through narrow passageways, and are hunched over for surprising distances in addition to long walks along longer avenues. Tours last from just over an hour to six hours in length. Group sizes vary as well, from large group short-in-length tours, such as the Frozen Niagara Tour, to the small groups on the Introduction to Caving Tour. Other tours, such as the Trog Tour, are for kids only. After reading through the tour descriptions in this book you will find a tour to suit your desires.