Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park

Walking & Hiking

The surface of Mammoth Cave National Park is best divided into three sections: the north side, the south side and the visitor center area. The north side is the largest region and home to the park's backcountry trails. The south side and visitor center area feature shorter trails that make good day hikes that also introduce visitors to the park's natural beauties.

South Side Trails

The Sand Cave Trail, just off Kentucky 255 near the park's entrance, is a short walk to the Sand Cave entrance where unsuccessful efforts to rescue trapped caver Floyd Collins in 1925 captured worldwide attention. Off of the South Entrance Road (Kentucky 70), Sloan's Crossing Nature Trail circles Sloan's Crossing Pond atop a sandstone ridge. The Turnhole Bend Nature Trail takes you to the Turnhole Bend Blue Hole, the park's largest spring at over 50-feet deep. Cedar Sink Trail rambles among various sink holes, giving you a close look at the early stages of the same geological processes that ultimately resulted in Mammoth Cave as we know it today.

Visitor Center Area Trails

From the visitor center picnic area, the Green River Bluffs Trail is an easy walk to some great views of the Green River and its environment. Designed especially for wheelchair access, the Heritage Trail will take you to a beautiful overlook and the Old Guides' Cemetery. The trails near the visitor center are some of the best places to view the unusual karst topographical features indigenous to cave country. 

North Side Trails

If you travel north from the visitor center on Green River Ferry Road and turn left on Maple Spring Road, you will quickly wind your way to Good Spring Church and the Maple Spring Trailhead—the jumping-off point for the majority of trails on the North Side. Here you'll find the Sal Hollow Trail, a nine-mile jaunt past a wild cave, sinkholes and springs.

Further up Green River Ferry Road, on the north edge of the park, you'll come to the Lincoln Trailhead. From here you can access the Collie Ridge Trail, which cuts through the heart of the park's backcountry. The trail is nearly level over the entire course of its four-mile length and features a large sandstone rock shelter at trail's end. In the remote western region of the park, Houchins Ferry Road rambles through the forest to the Houchin Ferry Trailhead. First Creek Trail starts here and is the only trail in the park to the Nolin River. Three campsites along the river are an ideal base camp for fishing the Nolin and its tributaries. Trails on the north side range in difficulty from relatively easy flats to challenging ascents with steep grades.