With over 285 miles of cave passage way Mammoth Cave National Park, is the longest cave system in the world. Vast cages with horizontal passages shifts which have existed for millions of years are the significant attraction of this park. Every type of cave formation that one can think of, is present here. It is said to be the product of Karst topography. The park was established in the year 1941 to protect this labyrinth of caves, the green river valley, and the mountainous region associated with it. Diverse species inhabits this area. It is a challenge to the scientists and researchers to balance the fragile ecosystem of the place. Some of these caves are a spectacle with their stalactite and stalagmite growth. Beautiful gypsum flowers, mirabilite flower can be viewed in some other caves. Scientists have found out that the cave formation goes back to 100 million years and it is still forming. Just outside the caves, is the karst topography and the karst drainage system. It is a whole gamut of sinks, fissures, and underground river.
The Mammoth Cave National Park is listed as a World Heritage site and an International Biosphere Reserve. The core of the park is located in the Edmonson County while it also stretches to the Hart County and the Barren County. The Nolin River passes close by , providing valuable source of water for the flora and fauna of the region. The caves have a limestone strata over them thus making them remarkably stable. At some places the limestone and the sandstone are interspersed giving rise to a epikarstic zone. Some of these formations are the Girkin formation, St Geneviere Limestone, and St Louis Limestone. Some of the remains of native Americans have been unearthed from the caves. The mummies shows intentional burying and funerary practices like the ones in Pre Columbian and Mayan civilization.
Tours to the Mammoth Cave National Park
Some of the features of the caves are the Grand Avenue, Frozen Niagra, and Fat Man’s Misery. Some trails can only be followed by paraffin lit lights. Electricity is a strict no no in some of the caves as it might harm the interior. The Echo River tour takes you through an underground river. However due to logistics and environmental reasons the tour was not continued. Some of the famous cave tours here are:
The Historic Diamond Caverns tour
The walls have intricate eroding patterns of limestone. Stalactites, and stalagmites abounds in this cave. The guides explain the geological formation over million of years. There is electricity in the caves and for the safeguard of visitors concrete trails have been constructed.
Mammoth Cave National Park
The Rivers valleys of Green and Nolin , which runs near the Mammoth caves are the source of spectacular geological formation. Some of the formation goes back to 4000 years and creates a sense of mystery as you travel the area.
Lost River Cave
This cave has a huge opening. The native Americans used this feautire to their advantage and started dwelling here as early as 8,000 BC. You can walk through the cave opening to the River. It is followed by a Boat ride in the river.
This cave has beautiful onyx formation, stalactite and stalagmites. The underworld scenery formed by centuries of eroding, water, and time, leaves a lasting impression on ones mind. A flight of steps leads you to the cave.
American Cave Museum and Hidden River Cave
This is a cave museum with floors of exhibits that have been found on the caves. The tour takes you though hidden chambers and visitors have to climb atleast 230 stairs to descend the cave.