Diamond Caverns

Historic Diamond Caverns

Useful Information

Location: I-65 Exit 48, follow KY-255 (Mammoth Cave Parkway) north 2 km. In Mammoth Cave NP.
Open: 15-MAR to Labour Day daily 9-17.
Labour Day to OCT daily 9-16.
NOV to 14-MAR April-Nov daily 9-18, call for winter hours.
Fee: Adults USD 15, Children (4-12) USD 7.50.
Groups (10+): Adults USD 11, Children (4-12) USD 6.
Groups (25+): Adults USD 10, Children (4-12) USD 5.50.
Classification: Limestone cave. Dolomitic rocks. Mississippian Series, Joppa Member of the Ste. Genevieve Formation, 350 million years old. Speleologyriver cave.
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: D=22 m, T=14 °C.
Guided tours: D=60 min., L=800 m, St=350.
Bibliography: Arthur N. Palmer (1981): A Geological Guide to Mammoth Cave National Park, Zephyrus Press, Inc., Teaneck, New Jersey.
William B. White, Elizabeth E. White, ed. (1989): Karst Hydrology: Concepts from the Mammoth Cave Area, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York.
Address: Diamond Caverns, LLC, PO Box 250, 1900 Mammoth Cave Parkway, Park City, KY 42160-0250, Tel. +1-502-749-2233. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


14-JUL-1859 discovered by a slave of Jesse Courts.
15-JUL-1859 first exploration and immediate development.
19-AUG-1859 first newspaper article about the cave, calling the cave Richardson Cave.
19-AUG-1859 opened to the public
1886 Mammoth Cave Railroad opened, with a stop at Diamond Caverns.
1917 electric light installed.
1924 concrete steps and the bridge beyond the Rotunda were constructed.
1936 new discovery by guides, immediately added to the tour doubling its length.
1946 Mammoth Cave National Park formally dedicated.
09-OCT-1999 new discovery by Gordon Smith and Gary Berdeaux.


Diamond Caverns is a cave system with a water filled part. The cave stream flows, like most underground waters, to a spring at Green River, in this case to Turnhole Spring. On its way it crosses Proctor Cave, another cave in Mammoth Cave NP. During floods, the water needs only one hour to get to Proctor Cave, but normally it takes several days.

The limestone the cave has a large component of dolomite. This rock produces typical surfaces, which can be seen at Vermiculated Ceiling or Beehive Ceiling. The cave has many beautiful formations.

The first exploration of the cave took place only one day after its discovery. While the explorers lowered on a rope into the cave, thought the sparkling calcite crystals resembled diamonds. So the name of the cave was born. At first rope ladders were needed to descend into the pit, but soon steps and an entrance building were built.