Directions & Transportation

 
A visitor points out her route using a large kiosk map.
Finding your way around is simple with trip planning and park maps.

NPS Photo / Nathaniel Leies

At nearly 53,000 acres the park is a large place to explore. Luckily, finding your way around is easy with a little trip planning.

Mammoth Cave National Park is divided by the Green River that flows from east to west through the center of the park. The cave tours and most visitor services are found on the south side of the river, but the north side of the park offers backcountry camping, hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking opportunities.

Make sure to look at a map of the park before you start your journey to get familiar with the park’s layout.

 
The exterior of the Mammoth Cave Visitor Center North entrance on a Sunny Day

NPS Photo / Jackie Wheat

Directions to the Mammoth Cave Visitor Center

The Mammoth Cave Visitor Center and most visitor services are located in the South Side of the park. These services include:

  • Cave tour tickets
  • Cave tour departure sites
  • General goods
  • Food and dining
  • Lodging
  • Camping
  • Backcountry camping permits
  • Park Administrative Offices

The Visitor Center offers the best starting point for planning your day at the park.

 

Directions to the Mammoth Cave Visitor Center

 
 
A family gathers at a picnic table near their tent in Mammoth Cave Campground.
Eating and Sleeping

Eat and sleep comfortably at the Lodge at Mammoth Cave or opt outdoors at one of our campgrounds. There are plenty of choices to suit you!

Group of hikers reads a trail information board near the Cedar Sink trailhead.
Things to Do

There are countless ways to enjoy your trip to Mammoth Cave National Park. Learn about activities you can do during your stay.

Exterior of the Mammoth Cave Visitor Center North entrance on a sunny day.
Mammoth Cave Visitor Center

Tour tickets, museum exhibits, trip planning information, restrooms, gifts -- the Visitor Center serves many of your needs and more!

 
A wooden trail sign along  on a forested path. Hikers in background.

NPS Photo / Chelsea Ballard

Directions to North Side Trails and Camping

The north side of the park is home to over 65 miles of scenic Backcountry Trails that are perfect for hiking, biking and horseback riding.

Directions to Maple Springs Group Camping and Trailhead

Maple Springs Group Campground is located just past the Green River Ferry on Green River Ferry Road (SR 1352), and is a convenient central location for trail users interested in camping, hiking, biking, or horseback riding. Follow these directions to get to Maple Springs:

 

 

Directions to Other North Side Trailheads

Visitors can access other trailheads on the north side of the park such as Lincoln, First Creek, Temple Hill, and White Oak. Access to these trailheads can be reached from Ollie Ridge Road, Houchin Ferry North Road, and Dennison Ferry Road.

Check out our park Maps to help determine your route to these destinations.

 
Two hikers hike of a trail covered in leaves.
Backcountry Trails

Explore over 60 miles of trails on the north side of the park.

A tent surrounded by autumn foliage.
Maple Springs Campground

Group campsites, horseback group campsites, and RV campsites just a 10 minute drive from the visitor center.

Close shot of horse standing in a brightly wooded area.
Horseback Riding

Those who love to see the world from horseback are in luck! Explore 60 miles of backcountry trails suitable for many skills and ages.

 

Transportation to the Park

By Car

Most visitors arrive at Mammoth Cave National Park by car. The park is located very close to Interstate-65, a major north–south Interstate Highway that connects the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes.

By Rideshare

Ride sharing may be available to get to Mammoth Cave National Park from some populous urban areas (e.g. Louisville, KY or Nashville, TN) but is not commonly available in the communities surrounding the park.

If you decide to use a ride share service, be sure to make prior arrangements to be picked up at a pre-determined time and location before you are dropped off at the park. Otherwise, you may not be able to find a driver who is willing to come to the park to pick you up at the end of your visit. Taxis and rideshares do not often come to Mammoth Cave.

By Bike

Bicycling is a popular and green alternative to driving. Several park roads are included within the U.S. Bicycle Route System, and the 9-mile Mammoth Cave Railroad Hike and Bike Trail offers a scenic thoroughfare between Mammoth Cave National Park and Park City, Kentucky.

By Air

The closest major airports are in Louisville, Ky (89 miles from Park Headquarters) and Nashville, TN (99 miles). Car rentals are available at both airports.

By Public Transportation

There is no public transportation in the vicinity of the park. Private taxi services may be available in some areas.

By RV, Trailers, or Buses

There are no restrictions on the size of RVs, trailers, or buses allowed on the main park roads, but trailers and RVs may have difficulty crossing the Green River Ferry or traveling on park secondary roads. Please drive carefully and watch for wildlife, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

NOTE: Commercial vehicles are prohibited on park roads.

Alternative Fuel Vehicle

If you are traveling to the park in an alternative fuel vehicle, your actions will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce petroleum use. Plan your trip with the Alternative Fueling Station Locator from the Department of Energy. There are no charging stations within the park.

By Ferry

There are no bridges connecting the north and south sides of the park, but visitors can take the Green River Ferry as an alternative to highways outside the park. Ferry operations are subject to closures due to fluctuating water levels. Check the Mammoth Cave Roads and Ferry (@MCNPRoadsFerry) on Twitter or call ahead to make sure the ferry is operating when you visit, (270) 758-2166.

 
Landscape view of the Green River Ferry floating near a concrete vehicle ramp along the Green River.
The Green River Ferry

NPS Photo / Chelsea Ballard

Green River Ferry

To travel between the North and South Sides of the park, visitors may use the Green River Ferry, or utilize highways outside park boundaries.

Green River Ferry operates year-round with the exception of Christmas Day (December 25). Starting May 8, 2022 the ferry will operate under temporary hours until further notice:

  • 6:00 am - 6:00 pm: Monday to Friday
  • 8:00 am - 6:00 pm: Saturday and Sunday

Ferry Advisories

  • Ferry operations are subject to water levels on the Green River and may be affected by high or low water.
  • In the event of ferry closure, the nearest crossing is via Hwy 70 through Brownsville.
  • Vehicles and trailers boarding the ferry must not exceed 12 tons and have a length no more than 16 feet. If you have a large vehicle or trailer, please call ahead to check if your vehicle can board.
  • Follow Mammoth Cave Roads and Ferry (@MCNPRoadsFerry) on Twitter for current information on ferry operations or call the Ferry Hotline at (270) 758-2166.

Current and Forecated River Levels at the Green River

The National Weather Service in Louisville in coordination with the Ohio River Forecast Center maintains a Daily Forecast for the Green River at Mammoth Cave National Park.

Flood Warnings will be issued on the National Weather Service site when water levels are expected to reach or exceed the Minor Flood Stage level of 32 feet.

The following flood stages have been established at Mammoth Cave, KY:
Action: 20 ft.
Minor: 32 ft.
Moderate: 57 ft.
Major: 62 ft.

 

Learn more about ways people have used to travel to Mammoth Cave for more than 200 years.

 
Black and white photograph of a large four horse drawn stagecoach in front of a long white building.
Journey to Mammoth Cave

By the time Mammoth Cave became a world-famous tourist attraction, the stagecoach was the main way for visitors to reach the cave.

Last updated: April 9, 2024

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 7
Mammoth Cave, KY 42259-0007

Phone:

270 758-2180

Contact Us