A truly historic way to experience Mammoth Cave, this tour travels exclusively by lantern light. At three hours long, this tour winds through the history and prehistory of Mammoth Cave as you wander through huge, broad tunnels. This tour climbs and descends many incredibly steep hills on historic dirt trails as you experience the cave in the light of the earliest explorers. This tour is ideal for visitors who like to hike and are wanting a unique way to experience the cave. Please note that this tour, at 3 hours long, has no restroom facilities available. **must be at least 6 years of age to participate on this tour**
Select a date to see a list of times
All tours begin at the Visitor Center. Tickets must be picked up 30 minutes prior to tour time. No refunds for no shows or late arrivals.
Lanterns may cause some discomfort for visitors with respiratory conditions. Only adults may carry lanterns. Includes a steep outdoor hillside trail to and from the cave’s Historic Entrance. This tour is dimly lit, the trail is rugged, and the route includes steep hills without handrails and numerous staircases. Visitors with known heart or respiratory conditions, poor circulation or difficulty walking long distances and negotiating stairs, should carefully consider their limitations. Evacuation from the cave to a hospital for medical attention could take several hours.
Mammoth Cave National Park is located in the central time zone and observes daylight savings time.
Note: Do not rely exclusively on your mobile GPS, Google Maps or similar automated navigation systems to get to the park Visitor Center in time for your cave tour. Routes can be misleading and incorrect.
Directions from the North: Take Interstate 65 to Exit 53 (Cave City Exit). Turn right onto KY-70. Follow 70/255 as it becomes the Mammoth Cave Parkway in the park. Follow the Mammoth Cave Parkway to the Visitor Center.
Directions from the South: Take Interstate 65 to Exit 48 (Park City Exit). Turn left onto KY-255 and follow 255 as it becomes the Park City Road into the park. Follow Park City Road until it joins the Mammoth Cave Parkway; turn left. Follow the Mammoth Cave Parkway to the Visitor Center.
MUST BE AT LEAST 6 YRS. OF AGE TO PARTICIPATE ON THIS TOUR.
Youth under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older on all tours.
Interagency Senior and Interagency Access ticket pricing applies to Interagency Senior and Interagency Access Pass holders only.
The Interagency Annual Pass is NOT accepted for tours or camping.
Mammoth Cave may not offer the Violet City Lantern Tour year-round. Please check the current program schedule.