Kentucky's 'Cave Country' Offers Mammoth Underground Attractions
Byline: Madelyn Merwin
Q. My family and I are looking forward to a driving vacation this summer in an area of Kentucky that has a lot of caves. Where can I get some literature and information such as accommodations, etc.? We plan to spend a week and we definitely want to tour some caves, especially Mammoth Cave. Can you help us?
A. If it's caves you want, Kentucky's south central region, commonly called "Cave Country," is where you want to be. Traveling along a stretch of I-65 you will find the aptly named towns of Cave City and Horse Cave and that's where the action is.
Of course, Mammoth Cave is the granddaddy of them all, the largest cave on Earth with 350 miles of explored passageways. The National Park Service offers 11 different tours of the cave, where the temperature remains constant at about 54 degrees. Reservations are recommended.
Above ground, Mammoth Cave National Park offers 52,830 acres of forest lands for camping, hiking, bicycling, fishing, canoeing and horseback riding. Mammoth Cave is between Louisville, Ky., and Nashville, Tenn., off I-65 at exit 48 or 53.
No doubt you could spend your entire week of vacation at Mammoth, but you'd miss other exciting sites, for there are seven other caves in the area.
For example, Historic Diamond Caverns is right in Mammoth Cave National Park. Or, you can go east across I-65 to Cave City and find your way to Crystal Onyx Cave, which was used as an Indian burial site 2,700 years ago; Outlaw Cave, where Jesse James and other desperados are said to have hidden out between stagecoach robberies; and Onyx Cave at Cave City's Guntown Mountain (not to be confused with Crystal Onyx). …