Mammoth Cave Testing New Route to "Snowball Room"

Graffiti from long ago still graces the ceiling of the Snowball Room. USGS photo

In a bid to make the "Snowball Room" more accessible to park visitors, Mammoth Cave officials are testing a new route to the room located 267 feet underground. Instead of having to endure a 4-mile walk via the Grand Avenue Tour, this route involves a mile-long walk along mostly level ground.

“We’re trying the Snowball tour a few days this summer to see how people like it and to ground-proof the logistics of the tour,” says Deputy Superintendent Bruce Powell. “People often remember the Snowball Room from previous visits, but they don’t always want to walk the four-mile Grand Avenue tour just to see it. This gives folks another option.”

The new route takes visitors through the Carmichael Entrance and down 200 steps to a mostly level one-mile walk. Inside the Snowball Room, which is named for the snowball-shaped calcium carbonate formations on the ceiling, is a lunch counter where you can buy a box lunch, coffee, soft drinks and candy bars.

After the visit groups retrace their steps back to the surface.

“The tour is beautiful, fun, and strenuous,” adds Powell. “The trip passes through Rocky Mountain, a large room full of craggy breakdown, and the elliptical Cleaveland Avenue, encrusted with white gypsum. ... The steps are the hard part – after walking two miles, you have to climb 200 steps back up to sunlight.”

The Snowball Tour, a two-mile, three-hour tour, will be offered ONLY Thursday, July 19; Wednesday, July 25; Tuesday, July 31; and Thursday, August 9. All departure times are at 10:15 a.m. The tour is limited to 38 visitors. Tickets ($14/adult; $8/youth) may be purchased at the park visitor center.

Comments

Last week (3/30/11) I took my 2 grandkids on the Snowball tour. This was perfect for us because our four-year-old could easily walk it and he was free! We were pleasantly surprised how good and inexpensive the food was and appreciated the restroom break. I was even able to purchase camera batteries in the dining room. Our park ranger guides made the tour very interesting. This section of Cleveland Avenue is a dry part of the cave with few formations except gypsum. Except for the steps at beginning and end it is an easy walk.