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basics of responsible caving. Although difficult, this tour visits passages off traditional routes. It requires some hands-and-knees crawling and squeez- ing through narrow openings on the belly.”


The park provides helmets and


lights, but you must furnish required footwear, kneepads, gloves, and clothes that you don’t mind getting slimed. Tour ticket price: $23 for adults,


$18 for youths. Participants must be at least 10 years old. For reservations (strongly recommended), call 877-444- 6777. Or visit recreation.gov.


TRAVEL PLANNER:


LOCAL WISDOM: At the Good Spring Loop trailhead, visit the Good Springs Church cemetery. The weathered tombstones suggest the hard lives of frontier folk—many died young.


PRIME TIME: The best times to visit are in spring, when the hills burst with blooms and all the streams are flowing, and autumn, when the foliage glows red and yellow and there are no bugs. Speaking of bugs, you’ll find ticks and chiggers during the warmer months.


ACCESS: Mammoth Cave lies in south- central Kentucky’s scenic hill country,


about 90 miles south of Louisville or 90 miles north of Nashville, Tenn. I-65 passes within a few miles of the entrance. Exit at Park City or Cave City. Obtain a free backcountry use permit at the visitors’ center, cross the Green River by car ferry, and go about three miles to the trailhead at Good Springs Church (a half-mile west of Maple Springs Group Camp).


MORE INFORMATION: Mammoth Cave National Park, 270-758-2180 or nps. gov/maca/index.htm. For free bro- chures, including a “Backcountry Map & Guide,” go to nps.gov/maca/planyour visit/brochures.htm. ¿


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