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The World’s Largest Cave (and Coolest National Park) Just Got 8 Miles Longer

There could also be an additional 600 miles undiscovered still.

The world is full of fun things to discover, and some people don’t even have to travel all that fair to see some of the world’s biggest wonders. For anyone who lives in or near Kentucky – or is planning a visit or a road trip soon – visiting the world’s longest cave just got cooler, and bigger.

According to Backpacker, Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave, the longest cave in the world, just got even larger. The Cave Research Foundation, a non-profit responsible for mapping out the full subterranean passageways of the Mammoth, announced they discovered more miles of cave. Eight additional miles to be exact, taking the massive underground space from 412 miles to 420.

The extra miles are discovered by volunteer cavers who have crawled, rappelled, and dove into the Mammoth Cave, documenting everything they come across.

So far, they’ve discovered 130 species of wildlife and a whole lot of tunnels. Mammoth Cave National Park was officially declared a national park in 1941 and became a World Heritage Site in 1981, and on top of that, it became an International Biosphere Reserve in 1990. And its wide range of caverns, species, and biospheres are thanks to the volunteers who have continued to explore it.

“Without CRF exploration and mapping, Mammoth Cave would potentially still be a 44-mile-long cave system,” Dr. Rick Toomey, the park’s Cave Resource Management Specialist said.

The experts say that they’re likely going to continue to discover more hidden caverns in Kentucky. The park estimates there could be up to 600 additional miles of hidden caves.

The new passages found aren’t open for people to go visit quite yet, which makes sense. However, there are tours being offered and several routes for visitors to walk through from a quarter-mile to four miles in length.