Mammoth Cave: One of the Most Beautiful in Our National Park System
Directly south of Louisville, just off Interstate 65 and not far from Cave City, Mammoth Cave National Park sits nestled in the rolling, wooded hills of west-central Kentucky. Cedar trees dominate the landscape around the park, broken only by grazing cattle, small tobacco fields, and immense limestone outcroppings.
Limestone is what makes this area special-a 600-foot thick slab of the stuff. Looking at the many road-cuts along the highway, one can see the layers, each possessing its own characteristics and each named after the location where these characteristics were identified: St. Genevieve, St. Louis, Paoli, Aux Vases, Karnak. Each layer is incredibly older than its sibling just above. And limestone is where Kentucky caves are formed.
Once inside the park, the scenery changes from touristy to natural beauty. Well-groomed roads with wide, grassy shoulders wind through deep forest. Whitetail deer browse the edges of ancient cemeteries and wild turkey are everywhere. Mammoth Cave is one of the most beautiful in our national park system. Sprawling over more than 52,000 acres (most of it dense hardwood forest) the park features a diverse community of plants and wildlife; from the smallest insects, to birds, to aquatic life, to cave life. It is home to dozens of endangered or threatened species.
In spite of hosting two million visitors a year, the roads through Mammoth Cave National Park are surprisingly free of traffic. But near the visitor center, there is a constant bustle of activity, where campers, picnickers, and cave tourists crowd through the visitor center and ticket office. Every few minutes, loudspeakers announce the beginning of the next tour and groups of strangers form lines to become fellow travelers through a section of the cave.
During the summer, the park offers tours into several different entrances and family groups huddle around descriptive signs planning this portion of their summer vacation. The most popular is the Historic Tour. Starting every 40 minutes, over a hundred people herd through the historic section of the cave. The Lantern Tour, Frozen Niagara, and Half-Day tours are sold out every day throughout the tourist season. Occasionally the park gives tours into Great Onyx Cave, but those arriving too late in the day, or those that choose not to go on a guided tour can opt for the Discovery tour - a self guided walk through the historic section near the entrance.
Of the hundreds of caves that pock the hills and valleys of the park, many are worthy of the tourist dollar. Crystal Cave, Colossal, Bedquilt, Lee, White, and others-now, all gated. The park no longer shows these caves. And when hiking the 73 miles of surface trails in the park, one must be mindful to stay on the established trails. Poking around in one of the little caves along the way is strictly forbidden. There are plenty of tours to keep even the most adventurous of tourists busy.
Of all the parks protected by our national park system, Mammoth Cave is certainly one of the most beautiful and one of the most popular. A great vacation destination.
Norm Rogers is the author of Underground Legacy, a Fellow of the National Speleological Society, and member of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels. You can visit his website at http://www.normrogers.8m.com/
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news
Hikers will climb 600 feet to summit Mount Nittany for week 7 of Centred Outdoors - Centre Daily Times
Johnson Outdoors to Release Fiscal 2018 Third Quarter Results on August 7, 2018 - GlobeNewswire (press release)
Visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park
If anyplace on earth is a natural paradise, Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia is that place. Of all Croatia's eight National Parks, Plitvice is the oldest and most visited.
Improving Your Aim
If your aim is not good, or is not quite what you want it to be, there are several ways you can work to improve it. Most people can hit the target almost every time when they are not rushed in any way.
Join the American Hiking Society
Have you taken up hiking as a new form of family recreation? Are you a serious hiker that spends hours on challenging trails? Do you want to find a way to become more involved in hiking across the nation? Hikers of any background will want to check out the "American Hiking Society". This society is an alliance of local hiking clubs and provides a wealth of resources and activities for hikers of any background.
Kerala Backwaters - Gently Down the Stream
The quaint little balcony was large enough to accommodate two cane chairs, a table and little else. To reach it we had to climb over the ledge of our bedroom window and since the projection had no protective railing we had to be careful not to trip or fall over into the water below.
About Table Mountain Cape Town - Well Known in South Africa and Around the World
Table Mountain sheltered the original Cape explorers in the 16th century, the first European settlers and the many following generations of slaves, immigrants and Capetonians who helped to build and develop our special city.Your first impression of Table Mountain from the city bowl and beyond from Blouberg beach, is almost misleading.
Zambezi Sharks Under Threat at Protea Banks
Boondocking is fun! Boondockers go anywhere they want, at any time they want and at any speed they want! If you are a member of Loners on Wheels (LoW) or any other single RV'ing group you will want to boondock at least some of the time.Boondocking provides an almost perfect way to see America for little housing costs.
Adventure Travel on Horseback
When you think of "adventure travel," what crosses your mind? Hiking? White water rafting? Scuba diving? Something as sedentary as a cruise ship or land rover safari? Those ideas lose their "adventure" status when you compare them to galloping on a horse in Africa with a zebra and wildebeest racing along side you, or quietly observing the elephant and giraffe.How can a traveler visit the remote parts of the world's most beautiful and interesting places while.
Comal White Water or More Blue Green
White Water on the Comal river in Central Texas is more of of toobers paradise than a rafter or kayaker's dreamland, but for a fun and relaxing family adventure I highly recommend the trip. For the second time in the last two years my family and I spent a few days partaking of fun, water and sun in and around New Braunfels, Texas on the Comal and Guadalupe rivers.
New Technologies in Camping and Outdoor Clothing Enhance the Outdoor Experience
Camping is an excellent way to explore and experience the outdoors. The weather needn't be an obstacle to what sorts of climates and places you might trek to.
Student Travel - Backpacking In Europe
For the fortunate few, life isn't complete without a backpacking trip through Europe. This right of passage is believed to further the maturation process of college students, according to sociologists.
What You Need to Know About - Camping Vacations
Camping is a delightful and adventurous way to spend your vacations. Camping basically means living in tents that are pitched on specific grounds.
Top Five African Safari Destinations
Any vacations in Africa will not be complete without going on a safari to experience the wild animals and the peace and tranquillity of the bushveld.But there are literally hundreds of national parks and wildlife areas in Africa that you can travel to.
South Africa Safari Top Five National Parks and Game Reserves
A South Africa safari is the ideal wildlife trip to go on because the infrastructure and accommodation is superb in all the wildlife parks there and it is still highly affordable in comparison to other African countries.But given a choice some of the national parks and game reserves are better than others.
Topographic Maps 101
The intricate details on a topographic map can be befuddling, even frustrating, if you are learning while out in the backcountry. But once you get familiar with the markings and symbols, reading maps will become a friendly aid, rather than a dreaded assignment.
RV Vacations: Ten Tips
Perhaps you have wondered about taking an RV vacation. It seems like fun and you'd like to try it, but you aren't sure if it's for you.
The Cast of Culture in South Africa
Drive along one of South Africa's scenic strips and you will notice a landscape composed of a backdrop of wide open spaces, blue mountains and blood-red sunsets. These scenes abound, but given the nature of the culture in South Africa, your attention could swiftly switch to a small boy gallantly escorting herds of cattle, end to end, over a rainbow-like walkway crossing one of the largest and busiest highways in South Africa.
Kayak Travel and Trips
If you love the thrill and adventure of kayak travel, the waters and lakes are yours to explore! Mankind has always been drawn to the sea and a kayak trip is truly one of the ultimate highs as far as kayak travel is concerned. Human beings have always invented useful devices that enhance our lifestyles and kayak travel is a great and marvelous feat, which blends excitement, fun and freedom of movement in one great adventure.
Shark Attacks! How Common are They? Where do They Occur?
Last week in Australia, one man's day at beach could have turned into a disaster: He was attacked by a seven-foot bronze whaler shark while surfing about 100 yards out from Sydney's Bronte Beach.Fortunately, the man, Simon Letch, stayed calm and "shoved the board at [the shark] like a barge pole.
Edible Wild Plants For Backpackers
Knowing a few edible wild plants can make your next backpacking trip, or any trip into the wilderness, a lot more enjoyable.You can pack lighter if you eat wild berries every morning for breakfast, for example, and leave your oatmeal behind.
|home | site map | Ocean Photography|