Mammoth Cave Waterfalls

Mammoth Cave National Park / Edmonson County, Kentucky, USA

Rating: 0.5     Difficulty: 1.5
A weeping waterfall at the mouth of the historic entrance to Mammoth Cave
It might be a stretch to include a page on Mammoth Cave Waterfalls, but they do have a little historical significance even though they may be hard to photograph.

The main reason why I'm including a page on the waterfalls of Mammoth Cave is primarily due to the historical use of the weeping waterfall at the mouth of its historic entrance. According to our tour guide, water that was collected from the weeping waterfall at the entrance was brought into the cave to mine for saltpeter. Saltpeter was used for gunpowder, which was in high demand during the Civil War. The usefulness of saltpeter diminished when its value dropped after the Civil War was over.

Further into the cave, we heard some more trickling where there was a tall drop that in hindsight beared a strong resemblance to the drop of Ruby Falls. However in this instance, the water was hardly visible and could really only be heard.

Julie and I did the historical tour to get a good overview of the cave and the parts that made it famous. There were other tours that visited other parts of the cave, but I can only speculate if there might be waterfall sights on those tours (or not). Yet with that said, it wouldn't surprise us if there were more waterfalls to see on those other tours (especially the sporty spelunking ones) because all underground rivers in this cave drain towards the nearby Green River.

One thing that impressed us was the size of the cave. In addition to large rooms and subway-like corridors, our tour of the cave took two hours! Neither of us could recall doing a public cave tour that took this long, and if we couple that with the fact that there were also alternate cave tours of similar duration visiting other parts of the cave, it's no wonder how this cave got its name.

We felt it was definitely worth the $12 per person tour fee.

Directions: Since we drove from Mammoth Cave to Nashville, we'll describe the driving directions from there. Again, I'm sure there are many ways of getting to the main visitor center area for Mammoth Cave National Park, but we can only talk about what we've done.

From Nashville, find your way north onto the I-65 north. Take this freeway for about 84 miles to the Park City exit (exit 48, which is well-signposted). We then turned left onto KY255 and followed it (becoming Hwy 70 after 2.3 miles) for about 4.6 miles. Then, we turned right to leave Hwy 70 but continue on the Mammoth Cave Parkway for another 8 miles. The large car park and visitor center are at the end of the public section of road.

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Closer look at the weeping waterfall
A trickling subterranean waterfall staining the wall
Descending into the historical entrance of Mammoth CaveDescending into the historical entrance of Mammoth Cave

Looking back at the entrance as we entered the darknessLooking back at the entrance as we entered the darkness

Walking in one of the long corridorsWalking in one of the long corridors

Saltpeter mining relicsSaltpeter mining relics

In a particularly large roomIn a particularly large room

Graffiti from the 1800s?Graffiti from the 1800s?

A corridor reminiscent of a subwayA corridor reminiscent of a subway

Another look at a stained wall containing a trickling waterfallAnother look at a stained wall containing a trickling waterfall

Ascending the so-called bottomless pitAscending the so-called bottomless pit

Looking back down the way we came upLooking back down the way we came up

A room with some formationsA room with some formations

Leaving the cave the same way we came inLeaving the cave the same way we came in

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Top down sweep of a trickling, hard-to-see waterfall deep in the mammoth cave

Top down L-shaped sweep from the outside of the historic entrance of the cave

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For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.

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