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THE BEST CAMPING NEAR
Mammoth Cave National Park, KENTUCKY
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Most Recent Mammoth Cave National Park Camping Reviews
Great Stay

Enjoyed my time staying at Tailwater in Kentucky. It was about an 8hr drive from where I live, so we decided to stay here for a long weekend with friends. We ended up renting out 2 campsite spots to fit 8 of us and luckily we were able to get a spot right next to each other. We had 2 huge 6 person tents, so 4 stayed in one and 4 in the either. We fit comfortably! Thankfully the campsite were fairly large to fit our cars and 2 big tents. The attendants working in the front were super nice and helpful. They helped us find our spots, and then gave us recommendations on where to hike in the mornings. Because we came in the summer, it was pretty busy. The Barren River is right next to the campground and makes for a beautiful day to head down to the river and cool off. The campground is fairly large- I believe it has close to 50 spots. Campground was easy to find, and the signage for the campground was great. Cost was $20 a night per site, so for us it was $40 sense we had 2 sites but we split it 8 ways so it was super cheap. We brought tons of food, and snacks, so at night we just hung around each other- some in hammocks or in chairs and just talked. The hiking was really great- super awesome views. The trails were in such great condition!! Would definitely come back.

Quiet campground across the river from the caves

Like most, we were here to visit Mammoth Cave National Park. We stayed on the Maple Springs side of the Green River to be closer to the mountain bike trails and are glad we did. The trails were great for both of us and we could ride straight from the campground. If you are in a RV note that you can't go across the ferry with your rig!!! You have to go around the park to access this campground. We are so glad we realized that ahead of time and didn't have to back track. The campground was quiet and we had it completely to ourselves one night. The campground had pit toilets but no shower. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we almost stayed an additional night! If you plan to visit the cave, be sure to book your tour ahead of time. The tours were all sold out when we got there!

Backcountry camping

Green River is located in Mammoth Cave National Forest near Brownsville, Ky off I65.

This NF is within 30 minutes of my residence and I visit often. You can backcountry camp but first you have to check in at the main area. Then you are pretty free to camp where you want within the guidelines. There are some sites already out there , if you choose to make your own follow “bug protocols”! I messed up and got to suffer through chiggers for a week after our adventure, not fun.

Mammoth offers the cave and Green River of course but many people don’t realize how extensive and unique the hiking areas are. Get a good map and pack your bag you can hike, bike or horseback to several secluded areas that offer a backcountry feel, good for practicing for longer duration hikes. Once you cross the Green River by ferry you are in a whole other world that is not crowded with tourists (usually;)

We set up in chigger central and explored the area which had several small rivulets and a nice little pond that reminded me of some horror movie or other (lol) I saw a family of four and a couple hiking through but otherwise the area was mine.

BEST Tent Campground

Let me just say, it is nice to find a campground that not only welcomes tent campers but seems to be designed for them exclusively. This campground is primarily a tent site. There are a handful of RV sites, but over 3/4 of the camp is set up for tents only which makes for a better overall outdoor feel without the humming of generators, the height of large RVs blocking your tree views and the overall feeling the you are squished in next to someone.

The closest campground to the Visitor Center, this campground has narrow roads through camp, flushing toilets and hot showers. Preparing for tent campers, the amenities are vast enough to not feel like you are stuck waiting for a shower because they have not properly accommodated you. It is a great feeling to have.

Seasonally there is a small camp store which offers ice and firewood along with some basic items. I even picked up an ice cream here on a hot evening.

My site was $20 and was well shaded, almost nestled into the trees.I was in site 46 which was on the bend and seemed a bit closer to other campers, yet I still had plenty of space for my activities as a solo camper. Had I have been in a larger group or even not camping as a single I might have opted for a site a bit further around the loop.

TIPS:

  • If you are a senior and have an access pass you can present this when booking and get 1/2 off your site.

  • Look at the campground map in advance, you wlll be happy to have done so when looking for larger sites or sites which offer pull through options.

Backcountry Camping - Free Permit

Mammoth Cave has several camping options depending on what type of camping you enjoy. I decided to check out several of those to get a full understanding of just what all was out there. Amongst these options are permitted backcountry camps which are hike in camps accessed by free permits.

To get one of the permits you must register with a valid ID and the make and model of your vehicle. This keep unattended vehicles from being towed from parking areas. Camps are as close as half a mile from public use camping areas but scatter over a vast area. They are large enough for groups but also accessed by individuals.

I hiked out to the first of the group camps positioned on my map, which was given to me at the Visitor Center when I registered, no one appeared to be there so I checked it out fully and determined it was perfect for what I needed. There were plenty of trees for coverage or for those wanting to set up a hammock. Fire rings are located at each of the sites and they have been very minimally cleared making for a great area to set up a tent or several small tents.

The first camp is not very deep into the backcountry, yet is still very quiet and perfect for someone who wants a little adventure without a full day of hiking just to get to camp. There was a nearby flow of water and you could use a lifestraw or purification tabs for converting this water, however they do recommend you bring your own water to drink.

All in all, of the backcountry camps I have visited this one was one of the better ones. I didn't check out others on the map on this trip because I didn't want to be as deep into the woods where there was even more chance of encountering bears.

TIPS:

  • Get your permit earlier in the day - They issue permits up to 15 minutes before close but only issue certain amount per day, best to get your permit early.
  • Tie up your food and trash - This area is known for wildlife so you will want to secure your items up high at your camp to not attract animals into your campsite.
Just "okay" backcountry camping

We hiked the First Creek Loop Trail at Mammoth Cave National Park and backcountry camped. The campiste itself was okay. There was a fire pit and log to sit on. There were plenty of trees to hang a hammock. There was a water source, but the park ranger didn't really recommend getting and filtering water from it, and once we arrived, we could see why. You would have a difficult time actually getting down to the water as there was no real clearing or way to it. The also was a very thick, green sludge film on top of the water. So we carried in what we would need for our overnight. The campsite was decent size and away from any others, so it was nice an quiet. We did have to take a very short ferry ride in our car to get across the water.

Better than expected

This place was great! Very interesting place to visit. Way unexpected divercity. Subterranean beauty on a grand scale! Very knowledgeable guides with interesting facts and stories. Excellent way to spend a day!

Rally with Blue Ridge Discovery Club

Great campground.. close to everything you want to see in Boiling Green. Helpful staff

The marina us very welcoming. The staff are very helpful.

This campground is very clean and the rangers are very effective at keeping the noise down.

Great spot

Great place to camp. Clean friendky reasonably quiet. Great shore fishing. Not a lot else to do around.

Very rustic

This campground was reasonably priced, but lacked electric & water at each campsite. There was a good fire pit with cooking grill, efficient, clean bathrooms, but showers were at camp store, cost money to use, and generally not very nice. There was a laundromat & a post office connected to camp store. It was pretty there, & closest camping to the caves. But we missed the conveniences of electric, water, & nice, free showers!

Mighty fine place to be!

Booked this campground online and was very happy with our night stay! Be sure to reserve a spot right alongside water! Online booking shows a very easy to view map of different tent sites.

Enjoyed watching sunset here. Wish we had arrived earlier so we could swim!

Almost near Mammoth Cave

My family of 6 (me, my wife, and four boys 9yrs and under) camped here for a week. We had a great time. We were a little further from Mammoth cave than we wanted to be, but the campground was fun. It is pretty spread out, so biking with the family was a little challenging. And their bike loop was really pretty, but SUPER bumpy and hilly. Pretty hard for the younger ones. The lake was awesome. We swam at the beach, and in eary september, we had the place to ourselves. Campsites were a but small / crammed (we have a pop-up camper). But overall, we really enjoyed it.

Quiet, Clean Campground

This camp ground is very quiet with super nice people running it. The bathrooms are extremely clean.This campground has a multitude of rules down to men cannot be seen not wearing a shirt, no cursing, no drinking but is a smoke free site. Also, it is housed next to a motorcycle clubhouse which can get loud at night. The tent sites for some reason, are on low ground while the RV sites have the high ground, potentially causing extremely wet tents.

Best place to stay in the park!

Close to the store, visitor center, and tours. Great location, clean sites, everything we needed. Bathrooms were exceptional!! Best ones we've stayed in!! Would have been nice to have a utility sink to wash dishes, I hated dumping my wash water down those sparkling toilets!! lol

Hidden jewel

My family and I loved this little campground. It was well maintained and had great activities for the kids.

Great place. Love this area of ky

Books fast during summer weekend. Close to major cities. Great sites and friendly staff.

so much fun.

my first camping trip. so glad it was too. my child got to meet yogi!!. i think ibwas more excited than she was lol

Best campground around!

You can park your boat right by your camp spot. There are parking lots for your trailers. I love walking a few feet to the beach, and my boat. Beautiful shady spots.

Large sites close to Coooool Caves

We were nervous about our tent fitting on the pad…..but we could have fit 4 tents on the pad. There was a picnic table, tree coverage, and close to the bathrooms. It was muggy outside, but the bathrooms were air conditioned! There were 2 stalls and 2 sinks, but it was clean. Showers, laundry, and post office are located by the store. You have to pay $1.00 for 4 minutes. There was a storm that blew in the night we stayed, but there were plenty of drains under the pad. It was quiet, clean, and spacious. I wanna go back….like today.

nice place.

staff was nice, campground was clean. The only thing I would change … I wish it was a bit further from the highway. Close to Mammoth Caves.

Waterfront oasis

This is an extremely beautiful campground. Peaceful to watch the flocks of wild Turkey graze, or watch the deer frolicking by the playground.

You can relax here, because you are home.

Wonderful family camp ground

Had a fantastic with the whole family in our vacation. Have a teenager and a 9 year old. Both had plenty to do to keep them happy.

Friendly owners, clean campground.

Little campground tucked away in the hills near Cave City. Water and electric hookups. Super friendly couple running the place.

Good hammock camping

Plenty of trees for hammock camping. No swimming options close by. Close to attractions. Clean campground over all.

Ferguson Backcountry Campsite

Ferguson is two miles into the back country at Mammoth Cave. The last half mile, trail to campsite only, is a bit thick with a stream crossing. At 1.5 miles you’ll hit a nice spot where two streams come together. That’s your water source so load up before the last half mile. Ferguson is extremely secluded, nice tent landing, fire ring and trees for hammocking. Permits are required for all Mammoth Cave Backcountry sites, they can be obtained at the Visitor’s Center.

Quaint campground in good location

Nice, clean campground with nice restrooms and general store. The location allows you to see the caves or go on trails near by.

A blast for the whole family!

We’ve been here for the week & it’s been nothing but delightful! The entire staff has been great & kind, as have all our camping neighbors!! We’ve felt welcome the entire time! All the actives are so fun & it’s even better that it’s included with your stay!!

A must visit if youre in kentucky

We love caves as well so we decided to come here after a climbing trip to the Red. We were stunned by the amazing and captivating karst formations! Its like delving down into a deep inside out alien world!

Very nice campground, especially by the water.

Book sites by the water in advance.