Dogs love adventures, too! Mammoth Cave National Park is one of the few National Parks that are dog Friendly. Take advantage of this opportunity to adventure with your dogs and visit Mammoth Cave. Know where to go and what you can do at Mammoth Cave with your pup.
**This post does not pertain to service animals.
Being a southern state, Kentucky has some higher temperatures during the summer months. Check the forecast before your excursion to ensure that you are prepared for both yourself and your adventure dog. Even in late September, when temperatures are dropping in my home state of Minnesota, the temperatures in Kentucky were in the upper 70’s and 80’s.
Water: Keep water available for your adventure dog while at camp. Offer it frequently while out hiking to keep that pup hydrated. Be sure that your pup is drinking clean water. Reduce the risk of parasites by keeping your dog from drinking river water.
If the heat is excessive, try these short trails with your pup. See Short Hikes at Mammoth Cave.
All of Mammoth Cave’s above ground hiking trails are open to dogs. That’s pretty amazing considering most National Parks do not allow dogs. Keep Mammoth Cave NP dog friendly by following basic Trail Etiquette for Adventure Dogs.
Horse Trails: Mammoth Cave has many trails that are horse friendly. When encountering a horse on trail, step aside and keep you dogs calm as the riders pass.
Bag It: Clean up after your pet immediately and dispose of waste in a trash can asap. There are many throughout the park. Don’t leave the bagged waste on the side of the trail to pick up on your return. The presence of a bagged poo will tamper someone else’s trail experience.
Dogs are not allowed in the cave systems. They may cause damage to the cave and there are areas that dogs simply wouldn’t appreciate in the caves, such as grates, slick areas, and tight dark spaces.
For other caving options one might give Hidden River Cave a try.
Kentucky has a large number of ticks. It’s a good idea to visit your veterinarian before your excursion to Mammoth Cave to evaluation which tick prevention is right for your dog. See Tips for Ticks: Adventure Dog Safety for more info on tick prevention. Remember to visibly check yourself and you dog frequently during and after a hike in the woods.
- Lone Star Tick
- American Dog Tick
- Black Legged Tick (deer tick)
Wildlife is abundant in Mammoth Cave National Park. A scurrying squirrel or bounding deer is pretty enticing for our canine companions. Keep you pup on leash and do you best to keep them from barking at and disturbing wildlife.
Wildlife in Mammoth Cave:
- Black Bear
- Frogs & Salamanders
- Venomous Snakes
Tip: Keep treats handy in a treat pouch to distract dogs from wildlife. Offering a treat for a successful “Leave It” cue or simply diverting their attention away with a lure is effective in keeping that prey drive in check.
Venomous Snakes: Mammoth Cave is home to the Timber Rattlesnake and the Eastern Copperhead. Keeping dogs on leash will help keep them from stumbling upon or disturbing animals that may cause them harm. Teaching a strong “Leave It” command is important for adventure dogs in any environment.
The snake above is a non-venomous water snake slinking around Sloan’s Pond.
While dogs are allowed on park trails and in campgrounds, dogs are not allowed in any park buildings. The visitor’s center is a really neat spot in the park to visit, but you may have to take turns venturing inside while one person waits outside with the pup. Alternatively, there is short-term boarding available.
Adventure dogs are welcome in all of the campgrounds, backcountry camping, and at the Woodland Cottages. The Woodland Cottages are the only lodging accommodations in the park that allow dogs. They are not allowed in the Sunset Terrace rooms or the Historic Cottages.
The Lodge at Mammoth Cave offers a small boarding kennel for hourly use. The kennel spaces are outdoors with some shade. The fencing is chain link. These kennels are a nice option for those wishing to attend a cave tour, where dogs are not allowed.
Be Aware: This is NOT an overnight boarding area. This is a day use kennel rented by the hour, only during daylight hours.
Rates: $3.50 First hour, +$1 per hour after
What to bring:
- Water Dish (spigot nearby)
- Lock (limited locks available for rent)
- Collar with Tags (Dogs should always have identification on them)
- Vaccination Records Required (Rabies, Bordetella, DAP Shots)
Do not leave your dog unattended inside or out at the park. Do not leave dogs in you vehicle.