Welcome to Mammoth Cave! Located in Kane County, near Cedar City. Once again, I find myself saying, in college, we crawled through this cave. Funnily enough, this is one of the first unofficial dates (we weren't dating) with my now husband.
It has been over 11 years since I've crawled through Mammoth Cave and the area has had quite the updates. Now, there are bathrooms, signs, fencing and a good path to the caves.
When we went in college, it was in the dead of the night and I recall it being kind of hard to find.
We have a head lamp that we keep in our Osprey Carrier, but of course, the batteries were dead. (We didn't actually bring the carrier to the caves, it wouldn't have fit.) Luckily, I had some glow sticks in the carrier. Weird I know, but I had bought them for our hike into Patsy's Mine and never used them. We also brought our iPhones along too, since it has a pretty good flashlight. (Or so I thought.)
There are a few different entrances to the cave, we just took the large one just off the trail. I've read that there are 4-5 different entrances.
We just took the main entrance, I think it's the West Tunnel. It actually is fenced off, but there is a section that's been cut out, so one can explore. Yes, it is legal. The fence is more for animals I would think.
The glow sticks were a hit with the kids. The ground is muddy (but firm) and covered with large boulders. You definitely need some kind of light, it's pitch dark the further you go back. I've read that the tunnel is about 1/4 of a mile long, but I'm not sure. We also heard a bat, but never saw or felt it. You can crawl all the way through the different tunnels in the caves, but you'll end up on your bellies and getting completely filthy. (Again, I did this in college, so it's been a while.) I didn't plan on crawling through the caves though, especially with our toddlers.
I was kind of surprised, my little Aiko (3.5) did not like the cave much and was scared. Since Aiko was voicing her worries, her little brother instantly copied her and started worrying as well. I guess when I think about it, it could be quite alarming. Our glow sticks weren't quite as bright as I hoped and our phones weren't quite as bright as I thought. I haven't been in pitch black in a while, one forgets how DARK it really is.
There were these weird bottles in the cave that held lights that just flickered with LED lights. We went as far back as the second bottle of light. Maybe 15 minute walk. It does get quite cool (degrees) in the cave, so if you plan on hanging out longer, be sure to wear long sleeves.
This was just long enough for the kids. They were more than ready to get out of the dark.
If we had more time and happier kids we would have explored some of the other tunnels.
Next time, we'll come when they are older and ready to be little cave explorers. We'll also bring more head lamps with extra batters and clothes that can get muddy so we can crawl through all the caves.
- Flashlights/Head lamps are a must
- Bring water just in case
- If you want to go all the way through the tunnels, expect to get very muddy and wet.
- Bathrooms (fairly new)
- You can climb through the fence that blocks the caves.
- Follow the trail behind the wooden fence.
- Take everything out that you bring in
- Road to cave is dirt and graded
- The caves are closed certain times of the year (not exactly sure when)