top of page
  • Writer's pictureDan Wagner

Frozen Niagara Tour in Mammoth Cave National Park

Among the most stunning and popular excursions at Mammoth Cave National Park, the Frozen Niagara Tour showcases the park's densest collection of stalactites (hanging from the ceiling) and stalagmites (rising from the floor).


Frozen Niagara Tour

Bathrooms No

Water No

Stairs 160 (80 descending, 80 ascending)

Duration 80-90 minutes


The excursion kicks off with a 10-minute park shuttle ride from the visitor center to the Frozen Niagara Entrance. Once at the entrance, visitors descend a brief staircase that leads to a well-lit paved pathway.


Frozen Niagara Tour

After a brief initial stroll along the paved pathway, the trail gently descends though the Onyx Chamber adorned with large stalactites and stalagmites tinted in a variety of reds, purples, and yellows, including one section of thin, fragile stalactites known as the Macaroni Factory.


Frozen Niagara Tour

On the other side of the Onyx Chamber, visitors will encounter Rainbow Dome. This 45-foot dome showcases one side adorned by flowstone, Stage Curtain, resembling the graceful folds of a delicate theater curtain.


Frozen Niagara Tour

Immediately following the Onyx Chamber, the pathway arrives at a grated walkway that offers a vantage point 80 feet above Crystal Lake.


Frozen Niagara Tour

Be sure to look up and not just down. The view of Moonlight Dome above is outstanding.


Frozen Niagara Tour

After viewing Crystal Lake and Moonlight Dome, the route leads through a 40-foot long, 5-foot high passage known as the Onyx Colonnade. The left side of the passageway is enclosed with a fence to safeguard numerous delicate formations, such as Wedding Cake and Lion's Cage. Each column within the Onyx Colonnade was formed by a stalactite from above and a stalagmite from below joining.


Frozen Niagara Tour

Immediately following the passageway, the trail skirts alongside an area teeming with stalactites and stalagmites, beautifully illuminated by carefully positioned lighting.


Frozen Niagara Tour

After another brief descent, the trail arrives at the top of the tour's most extensive staircase - a 48-step structure that runs beside the tour's namesake formation, Frozen Niagara.


Frozen Niagara Tour

Midway down the staircase, it makes a 90-degree turn, providing arguably the most spectacular view of the colossal formation. The stats on Frozen Niagara are impressive, with dimensions of 43 feet in width, 70 feet in height, and a thickness of 32 inches. Considering that these formations are thought to grow at a rate of 1 inch per 1,000 years, Frozen Niagara has undergone a process spanning at least 800,000 years to reach its current size.


Frozen Niagara Tour

Following the staircase's 90-degree turn, the Drapery Room awaits visitors roughly 20 steps later. The aptly named room provides breathtaking views in all directions, with the upward perspective being particularly extraordinary.


Frozen Niagara Tour

Located midway down the staircase on the right, a formation known as the Golden Fleece stands out as one of the more eye-catching formations in the Drapery Room. Bathed in a beautiful golden hue, its color emanates from the oxidation of iron minerals interacting with the air.


Frozen Niagara Tour

An endless sea of arthritic fingers hang from above.


Frozen Niagara Tour

After viewing the Drapery Room, the tour returns the same way you came in. During the return, as with many of the tours at Mammoth Cave National Park, rangers will kill the lights and allow visitors to experience the cave in its natural state - total darkness. It's both spooky and amazing at the same time.


It's worth noting that numerous ranger-led tours incorporate the entire Frozen Niagara Tour, such as the Domes & Dripstones Tour, so make sure to consider that when planning your tours.

Newsletter

New adventures, travel tips, and more delivered quarterly

 

Welcome!

bottom of page