Kentucky Nature January 20, 2017
The Incredible Road Trip That Takes You To The Most Magnificent Caves In Kentucky
Parts of Kentucky are littered with hundreds of caves. Cavernous tunnels wind beneath the state, particularly in western Kentucky. The longest cave system known in the world is here, but it’s not the only one. We’ve designed a road trip for you to see some of the most popular caves to visit, so you can explore several in one trip.
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The total drive time is about 2.5 hours, but you're going to want to factor in the amount of time you want to spend and each spot. There are plenty of great lodging options in the area, so we recommend stretching this trip out over multiple days so that you can take your time at each cave.
1. Louisville Mega Cavern, Louisville
We start at the Louisville Mega Cavern, which is a 100-acre limestone quarry. It was turned into a mine for its limestone in the mid-1900s, but now you can go zip lining and dirt biking in the cavern. Each holiday season, the Mega Cavern hosts
Lights Under Louisville,
which is a huge driving tour of magnificent arrangements of Christmas lights inside of the Mega Cavern. The Louisville Mega Cavern is located at 1841 Taylor Avenue, Louisville, KY 40213.
2. Mammoth Onyx Cave, Horse Cave
Now we head down to true Kentucky "Cave Country." Mammoth Onyx Cave, not to be confused with Mammoth Cave or Onyx Cave, is located within the Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo. Buying a ticket for Kentucky Down Under also includes admittance into Mammoth Onyx Cave, so you can pet some kangaroos before or after your cave exploration. Kentucky Down Under and Mammoth Onyx Cave are located at 3700 L & N Turnpike Road, Horse Cave, KY 42749.
3. Hidden River Cave, Horse Cave
Hidden River Cave is located right underneath the town of Horse Cave, and it used to be the source of drinking water for the town. Now you can go on a one-mile guided journey through the cave, where you can expect to get down on the ground and muddy. Hidden River Cave is located at 119 Main Street, Horse Cave, KY 42749.
4. Onyx Cave, Cave City
Go on a 30-minute guided tour of this unique wet cave to see its jaw-dropping geological formations. The cave opened for tours in 1973, after it was discovered when the parking lot for the nearby amusement park Guntown Mountain was under construction. Onyx Cave is located at 93 Huckleberry Knob Road, Horse Cave, KY 42127.
5. Outlaw Cave, Cave City
Outlaw Cave is said to have gotten its name from legends that bandits such as Jesse James used to hide out in the cave. It is said that they preferred this cave because it was big enough to lead horses into. Outlaw Cave is located at 3057 Mammoth Cave Road, Cave City, KY 42127.
6. Mammoth Cave
This stop will be the most impressive, and the one you will want to spend the most time exploring. Mammoth Cave, located within Mammoth Cave National Park, is the longest cave system known in the world. Besides touring the cave, there are also great hiking and camping opportunities in the area.
7. Diamond Caverns, Park City
The Diamond Caverns were named because of the shiny rocks that resembled diamonds that people found in the cave. They now offer a guided tour that is a half mile long. The Diamond Caverns are located at 1900 Mammoth Cave Parkway, Park City, KY 42160.
8. Lost River Cave, Bowling Green
We end our journey at the Lost River Cave in Bowling Green, which offers the only underground boat tour in the state. If you'd rather tour the cave by foot, they offer guided walking tours as well. Lost River Cave is located at 2818 Nashville Road, Bowling Green, KY 42104.
If you want even more cave exploration, head across the state to northeastern Kentucky where you can check out Carter Caves State Resort Park in Olive Hill.