Top 8 Kentucky Caves

Explore and experience history in Kentucky's famous caves

We all know Kentucky's horse farms and hills are stunning to see, but have you explored what is underground? Kentucky is home to an extensive system of caves, an ideal family outing for science buffs and history aficionados alike.

Before you go:

Are there underground tours in Louisville? Yes!

  • 01 of 08

    Mammoth Cave

    ••• People entered Mammoth Cave through this gaping natural opening for 5,000 years. National Park Service tours use it on a daily basis today. Image courtesy of National Park Service (NPS)

    The longest surveyed cave system, Mammoth Cave contains 400 miles of explored passageways, and there are more discovered every year. Mammoth Cave National Park provides tours covering over ten miles of the system. Most tours cover a distance of one to two miles. Along with it's immense length, Mammoth Cave houses clues to how the cave has been used by humans for thousands of years.

    1 Mammoth Cave Pkwy
    Mammoth Cave, KY 42259
    (270) 758-2180

  • 02 of 08

    Lost River Cave

    ••• Underground boat tour in Lost River Cave. Image courtesy of Lost River Cave

    Feel like going on an underground boat tour? Well, this is the one spot you can do it. In addition to exploring the cave—including having to lower your head to enter an enormous cave—there are daily nature activities, easy walking trails, a discovery cave crawl for kids, and more.

    Lost River Cave
    2818 Nashville Rd.
    Bowling Green, KY 42104

  • 03 of 08

    Diamond Caverns

    When Diamond Cave was discovered, in 1859, the first visitors said the glimmering stones looked like diamonds, and Diamond Cave received a name. The fourth oldest cave attraction in the country, Diamond Caverns has a lighting system and handrails. The guided tour is a half mile long.

    Diamond Caverns
    1900 Mammoth Cave Parkway
    Park City, KY 42160 

  • 04 of 08

    Crystal Onyx Cave

    Smaller than some of the other cave attractions, Crystal Onyx was discovered in 1960 and is now considered an important archeological site as Native Americans remains, over 3,000 years old, were found in the cave. The cave is located on Prewitts Knob Road in Cave City. The attraction is under new ownership and is closed for repairs.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Hidden River Cave

    Located beneath the City of Horse Cave, Hidden River Cave was once the source of drinking water and hydroelectricity for the community. Groundwater pollution led to the closing of the cave in 1943. Decades later, in the late 80s, The American Cave Conservation Association relocated their national headquarters to Horse Cave in order to restore Hidden River Cave and found a museum and educational center (and there is currenlty a Bat Rehabilitation Center in process) at the site. Hidden River Cave is now open to visitors year-round.

    Hidden River Cave & American Cave Museum
    119 E Main St.
    Horse Cave, KY 42749

  • 06 of 08

    Kentucky Caverns

    Formerly called Mammoth Onyx Cave, Kentucky Caverns is part of a larger attraction called Kentucky Down Under. With kangaroos, a bird garden, gem mining, and an Outback Cafe, Kentucky Down Under is a popular family attraction. A tour of Kentucky Caverns is included in admission to Kentucky Down Under.he start of the school season in which it opens at 8:00 am instead.

    Kentucky Down Under (including Kentucky Caverns)
    3700 L and N Turnpike Road
    Horse Cave, KY 42749
  • 07 of 08

    Onyx Cave

    Onyx Cave is a wet cave that was discovered in 1971. It was found when a parking lot was under construction. With beautiful cave coral, a wall of cave bacon, and a 40 foot column, it was decided the cave could be attractive to visitors and was opened in May of 1973. The attraction is about 60 degrees and tours are 30 minutes in length.

    101 Huckleberry Knob Road
    Cave City, Kentucky 42127
    (270) 773-2323

    (Psstt... if you are in Cave City with kids, drive by The Wigwam Motels, part of a motel chain that was inspiration for the Cozy Cone Motels featured in the Pixar film Cars.)

  • 08 of 08

    Outlaw Cave

    Outlaw Cave offers a guided tour with many classic cave formations. The cave is called outlaw after legends of bandits, such as Jesse James, hiding out in Outlaw Cave and other area caves. The natural formations many have been ideal, as they are not only hidden, but large enough to ride a horse into.

    Outlaw Cave
    3057 Mammoth Cave Road
    Cave City, Kentucky 42127