Mammoth Cave National Park is home to the world’s largest known cave system. The park also has miles of hiking trails aboveground, however. Hiking in Mammoth Cave National Park is a great way to get acquainted with the park for those who don’t want to go underground.
I’ll be honest. I’m not the biggest fan of caves. I don’t actively actively dislike them or anything, I just don’t find caves especially compelling.
Since we were in a hurry to get south before winter set in, our visit was brief. I decided to skip the cave tour (which seems like a bad idea anyway during a pandemic) and go on a hike instead.
Hiking the White’s Cave-Sinkhole-Heritage Trail Loop
My husband Daniel and I arrived at the park in the evening just before a storm hit. The next morning, I decided to try hiking in Mammoth Cave National Park. We planned to hit the road around noon so it was a short one. There were plenty of trails to explore near the visitor center so all I had to do was walk out the front door.
I started on a trail towards the campground until I found the White’s Cave Trail. White’s Cave is currently closed, but I got to see the entrance. From there I joined the Sinkhole Trail. This led to the Mammoth Dome Sink, a dip in the ground which was formed by water making its way into the cavern below.
At the end of the path, I briefly explored the Heritage Trail before heading back. This short wheelchair-accessible trail leads the Sunset Point Overlook. It’s the best viewpoint I encountered on my hike today (although there wasn’t much of a view today).
Mammoth Cave Hiking Trails and Maps
Maps related to my hiking adventures are available below. If I had more time to explore, I would have visited Echo River Springs or the Cedar Sink Trail. Official maps from the National Park Service are available here: Mammoth Cave Maps.
White’s Cave-Sinkhole-Heritage Trail Loop Trail
- Distance: 3 miles
- Elevation Gain: 300 feet
Here is the route I took on my hike. This is supposed to be a loop but I forgot to start the tracking program at the hike’s beginning.
- Distance: 2.4 miles
- Elevation Gain: 357 feet
I only hiked a portion of this trail on my visit. The highlight is the Mammoth Dome Sinkhole which is above Mammoth Cave.
Heritage Trail Loop
- Distance: .8 mile loop
- Elevation gain: 42 feet
This short family-friendly trail follows a boardwalk through the woods.
Mammoth Cave National Park Accommodations
Mammoth Cave National Park has three developed campgrounds as well as several backcountry web sites. Since we arrived on a weekend with no reservation, the campgrounds were all full. Fortunately, we were able to secure a cute little cottage next to the visitor center in the middle of the park. The Lodge at Mammoth Park offers offers hotel rooms in addition to the cottages for those who are so inclined.
More Resources about Mammoth Cave National Park
- Mammoth Cave National Park – official web site
- Exploring Mammoth Cave National Park by Johnny Molloy
- Mammoth Cave and the Kentucky Cave Region by Bob Thompson
Where are we now?
Dates: October 23 & 24, 2020
Great American Road Trip Status: Days 110 & 111
Total Trip Mileage: 7947.9
Day 110 Starting Location: Beech Fork State Park – Barboursville, WV
Day 110 Ending Location: Mammoth Cave National Park – Kentucky
Day 110 Miles Traveled: 263.6
Day 111 Starting Location: Mammoth Cave National Park – Kentucky
Day 111 Ending Location: Graceland RV Park & Campground – Memphis, TN
Day 111 Miles Traveled: 291.8
For more details on our Great America (Socially Distanced) Road Trip, see my previous posts:
- Days 106-109: A Quick Visit to Huntington, West Virginia
- Days 104 & 105: Urban Camping in Jersey City
- Days 102 & 103: That’s What She Said: A Visit to Scranton, Pennsylvania
- Days 96-101: Sidelined by Illness in Buffalo
- Day 95: Niagra Falls on a Rainy Day