The first National Park stop on our east coast trip was Mammoth Cave National Park. Having been to Carlsbad national park and Wind cave national park, I knew we would not be disappointed here! You enter the cave by going down this long tunnel down 280 steps.
We decided to take the longest cave tour that the park service offers, because I wanted to see the most amount of the cave possible! The tour we took was the Grand Avenue tour.
This tour actually goes through 4 full miles of the cave. Which for anyone that has done cave tours before, knows that that is actually a really long distance in a cave.
For the majority of the tour you are walking down this really long tunnel like area, that is pretty large and open. There were a few formations along the way, but the majority of the “Grand Avenue” tour is just big and open.
We kept seeing lots of these huge cave cricket things! I could not believe how large they were, and how deep into the cave they were still showing up.
What makes Mammoth Cave so unique is that it is the longest cave system in the entire world. There are over 405 miles of surveyed cave passageways in Mammoth!
Always a struggle to get a good cave picture with people in it!
For some reason the lighting in this cave was especially bad, and even more difficult than usual to get a good picture.
I definitely wasn’t disappointed with the size of the cave or sheer magnitude of the entire cave system, but if your goal is to find the “prettiest” cave in the world, Mammoth is not your cave. There were definitely a lot less cave formations than most of the caves we have been in before.
The upper sandstone layer in Mammoth is very hard, so this doesn’t let in much water causing the cave to be much drier. Drier caves tend to have a lot less formations. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any pretty formations to see, but just less of them than a cave like Carlsbad.
It wasn’t until the last 15-20 minutes of our tour that we finally saw some neat formations and got better pictures.
Mandatory cave selfie!
Some nice flowstone/dripstone here.
Small lakes (puddles) in caves are always so hard to photograph because the water is so perfectly clear!
A few stalactites.
We also did the natural entrance self guided tour, after our guided tour.
This was the main entrance/walkway through the self guided tour.
A little blurry, but on our way into the natural entrance we saw this tiny little turtle! So cute!
Well now that we have been to Mammoth we have been to the big three national parks caves! There are plenty of other parks that have caves in them (Pinnacles, Great Basin, etc) that we have been to as well that were also fun! Pretty cool to say we’ve been in the largest cave system in the world now!