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Mammoth Cave National Park Adding Hiking, Biking Trail


Families are drawn to the "Mammoth Cave Railroad Bike and Hike Trail" that was recently completed in the park. NPS photo.

Some more miles of hiking and biking trails are coming to the national park system on December 8, when Mammoth Cave National Park dedicates the "Mammoth Cave Railroad Bike and Hike Trail."

Part of the 9-mile-long trail opened back in September, but the final miles will be dedicated and open to the public on December 8 at 10 a.m. during an informal ceremony outside the Mammoth Cave Hotel.

“We want to celebrate and publicly thank those who worked on the trail or provided funding for it,” says Superintendent Patrick Reed. “Our friends at National Park Concessions, Inc., donated $745,000. Volunteers put their sweat equity into it. Our park workers constructed the final, and very difficult, link across Doyel Valley. We are grateful to them all.”

Participants are encouraged to bring their bicycles or hiking boots to try out on the new trail following the ceremony.

The trail in total is nine miles within the park, connecting to the one-mile Park City bike trail, and terminating at historic Bell’s Tavern. It is designed with several entry points so that hikers and bikers may choose to cover the entire length, or opt for shorter segments.

NPCI contributed about 55 percent of the funding needed to build the trail, which runs along an old railroad bed, and the Park Service contributed the remaining 45 percent. Park City officials obtained a federal grant to pay for their mile-long spur trail.

“We in Park City would like to thank everyone who has helped with the trail, especially Park City resident Charles Hogan,” says Park City Mayor David Lyonsy. “Charles was instrumental in the funding and design of the Park City Hike and Bike Trail. We also want to acknowledge District Three of the Kentucky Department of Transportation and the National Park Service for making the trail connection with Mammoth Cave National Park possible.”

The trail follows the remaining portions of the old berm of the Mammoth Cave Railroad, from Park City to Sloan’s Crossing, across Doyel Valley to the park headquarters area near the Mammoth Cave Hotel. It is constructed of dense-grade gravel, averages eight feet wide, and is designed for family use.


This sounds wonderful. A great example of mountain biking as an appropriate activity in a National Park.
Good job Mammoth Cave. And I love the photo Kurt. ;)

We spent the wonderful fall color change during the first week in November biking the new Railroad Trail. The article with pics can be found at

We enjoyed the beautiful Mammoth Caves Railroad Trail as it ran under and through tunnels of arched rainbows made by the upper and middle terraces of the maples and other trees in the park. The high difficulty of this trail is only due to the extreme grades in a couple of places. It only took us about ten minutes total to walk our bikes up these portions. The rest was broken up between light grades which we had no problems biking up or coasting down.

Safety warnings; DO NOT COAST DOWN THE STEEP GRADES AT FULL SPEED. Reaching terminal velocity of thirty to sixty miles an hour on a trail strewn with whatever nature wishes to drop like cones and nuts is not wise and could actually result in a true terminal velocity. We have cross over grade stubby trail tires and still had to be careful in a few places. Piles of gathered leaf fall as well as the occasional acorn or unexpected loose gravel at high speed could pitch a rider down one of the long draws or ditches that accompany the trail in places.

But anyone using normal caution should feel right at home on the entire trail as long as inexperienced riders such as children are kept in short reign. We saw endless forests of various trees, ponds, rivers, deep ravines and high hills and mountains. And, the chicken sandwich at trail's end in the hotel's restaurant was pretty good, too.

Adventure-Crew recommends this trail for all hikers and bikers. Make sure that you have proper experience and equipment for a flat tire as the trail is rather lengthy and being several miles from your car with a bike flat is not fun. We had a misbehaved tire with a reoccurring air loss issue that chose a four mile stretch away form the car to lose all of its air. We know that we didn't pick up anything on this new trail because we take very good care of our bikes and our bike guy in Morris Illinois reported to us that there was nothing in the tire upon our return from the trip. Fortunately, we were carrying a can of emergency inflate pressured air. So we were able to quickly ride back to our car before the tire went flat again; which it did a few minutes later.

Stu Marks
Editor of

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