How to Backcountry Camp at Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park is home to 52,830 acres. It is most famous for being home to the longest cave system in the world, but what happens above ground is pretty magnificent as well. With nearly 84 miles of trail throughout the park, there is plenty of space to roam.

To find a spot just right for you start by consulting the backcountry trail mileage chart listed under the “Backcountry Trails List.”

And be sure you combine it with a check of the Mammoth Cave backcountry and riverside camping information page on the National Park Service website.

As you can see from these two sources, most backcountry campsites require adding a few trail lengths together to get an accurate calculation of just how many miles you’ll be hiking in and out.

After you have a campsite or two picked out,  it’s on to getting a free backcountry use permit, which is required for all camping at backcountry campsites and along the river floodplain.

Go in person to the backcountry permit office, located in the Visitor Center ticket sales area, to obtain your permit and a free trail map showing backcountry campsites. When acquiring your permit please have the following information with you:

  • Driver’s License Photo ID
  • Make/model of your vehicle
  • License Plate Number

Be aware that backcountry permits are not issued during the last fifteen minutes before the Visitor Center closes each day. Check the visitor’s center operating hours.

Here’s a review of just one of the ten backcountry campsites at Mammoth Cave.