Mammoth Cave Backcountry Camping

Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park encompasses 52,830 acres in south central Kentucky and protects the diverse geological, biological and historical features associated with the longest known cave in the world. Backcountry camping is one of the many outdoor pleasures that visitors enjoy. There are 13 designated peaceful and scenic backcountry campsites.   There is also the option of riverbank/island camping. Permits for Backcountry Camping and Riverbank Camping may be purchased online in advance on or obtained at Park (Please see * below for details.) Riverbank camping permits are not released to purchase till 7 days out. Also, Riverbank camping permits are not issued or released if river level is 20 feet or above. For any questions, please call the Visitor Center at 270-758-2180.  

*Please Note: Camping Permits should be emailed to you if you made a reservation through website. If you cannot print your permit or save to your phone, you may visit Mammoth Cave Campground Kiosk during March 1st through November 30th. During the closed season December 1 through February 28 please go to the Visitor Center for all camping permits. 

Please Note: There is a $10.00 Non-Refundable Reservation Fee Regardless of number of nights booked, specific to backcountry and/or floodplain/riverside camping. No discounts are applied towards the $10.00 Non-Refundable Fee.   

Mammoth Cave Backcountry Camping is NOT a physical campground located at one location. There are 13 designated sites that are located within the north side of Mammoth Cave National Park, where you hike to the reserved site. This is primitive, backcountry camping in tents. Visitors must park at a designated trailhead and backpack to all locations and carry all their gear, food, and water. Campsites are equipped with a campfire ring and tent pad.

Riverbank Camping is another option which requires a permit. You may purchase this permit online or at Mammoth Cave Campground or Visitor Center. Permits are not issued if river level is 20 feet or above. You must kayak or canoe to camp along the riverbank of Green River.   

Need to Know

Natural Features

Backcountry camping offers opportunities to find solitude and appreciate the beauty and diversity of Mammoth Cave National Park's rugged hills, majestic woodlands, and scenic rivers. Soluble limestone, sinkholes, sinking streams and cave create a landform called Karst Topography.

Nearby Attractions

Nearly 30 miles of the Green and Nolin rivers offer canoeing and boating through the park. Commercial outfitters outside the park rent canoes, kayaks and safety equipment.

Most trails north of the Green River are open for horseback riding. Commercial liveries outside the park rent horses and some may provide organized excursions.

Mammoth Cave offers tours, check the park website for schedules and reservations.


The parks backcountry, 37 square miles of this rugged, inviting landscape await you along more than 66 miles of trails, and the winding turns of the Green and Nolin Rivers. Popular activities include hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, canoeing and kayaking, birding, and photography.

Changes & Cancellations

For rules and reservation policies please follow the link below:

Contact Information

Mailing Address

Mammoth Cave National Park PO Box 7 Mammoth Cave KY 42259

Physical Address

Mammoth Cave National Park PO Box 7 Mammoth Cave KY 42259

Phone Number

For campground inquiries, please call: 270-758-2180

Rental Options

Learn more about gear rental options for your trip

Driving Directions

Available Campsites

Photo Gallery