"At 4.3 m. is FLOYD COLLINS CRYSTAL CAVE (adm. $2), within the Mammoth Cave National Park. This cave, one of the largest in the area and only partly explored, was discovered in December 1917 by Floyd Collins while making a round of the traps on his father's farm; it has two well-defined routes. In them is a dazzling display of delicate formations of gypsum, crystal, and onyx, resembling lilies, chrysanthemums, peonies, and asters white, gold, pale yellow, and pink. Many of the rare bush-like helectite formations, as yet of undetermined origin, ornament small alcoves on each side of a passage more than a mile long. GRAND CANYON AVENUE, an imposing chamber 200 feet high, 110 feet wide, and 700 feet long, con-tains the tomb of Floyd Collins, who lost his life in 1925 in an effort to discover a new entrance to Crystal Cave from the highway at Sand Cave. During the period when searchers were frantically trying to find the lost man, the whole Na-tion waited for daily reports."
--Kentucky A Guide to the Bluegrass State, 1939
Once Floyd Collins himself would take you on a tour. Now you are lucky to see the entryway. His house is located just up the hill. No matter how you get here, walking is the best option--there is a dirt road with a gate to the southeast.
Mammoth Cave National Park
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"The Longest Cave" (1954–1972)
By 1954, Mammoth Cave National Park's land holdings encompassed all lands within its outer boundary with the exception of two privately held tracts. One of these, the old Lee Collins farm, had been sold to Harry Thomas of Horse Cave, Kentucky, whose grandson, William "Bill" Austin, operated Collins Crystal Cave as a show cave in direct competition with the National Park, which was forced to maintain roads leading to the property. Condemnation and purchase of the Crystal Cave property seemed only a matter of time.
In February 1954, a two-week expedition under the auspices of the National Speleological Society was organized at the invitation of Austin: this expedition became known as C-3, or the "Collins Crystal Cave" expedition.
The C-3 expedition drew public interest, first from a photo essay published by Robert Halmi (in either Sports Illustrated or Look magazine) and later from the publication of a double first-person account of the expedition, The Caves Beyond: The Story of the Collins Crystal Cave Expedition by Joe Lawrence, Jr. (then president of the National Speleological Society) and Roger W. Brucker. The expedition proved conclusively that passages in Crystal Cave extended toward Mammoth Cave proper, at least exceeding the Crystal Cave property boundaries. However, this information was closely held by the explorers: it was feared that the National Park Service might forbid exploration were this known.
In 1955 Crystal cave was connected with Unknown cave, the first connection in the Flint Ridge system.
Some of the participants in the C3 expedition wished to continue their explorations past the conclusion of the C-3 Expedition, and organized as the Flint Ridge Reconnaissance under the guidance of Austin, Jim Dyer, John J. Lehrberger and E. Robert Pohl. This organization was incorporated in 1957 as the Cave Research Foundation, Inc. The organization sought to legitimize the cave explorers' activity through the support of original academic and scientific research. Notable scientists who studied Mammoth Cave during this period include Patty Jo Watson (see section on prehistory.)
Colossal Cave was connected to Salts Cave in 1960 and in 1961 Colossal-Salts cave was connected to Crystal-Unknown cave, creating a single cave system under much of Flint Ridge.
In March 1961, the Crystal Cave property was sold to the National Park Service for a sum of $285,000. At the same time, the Great Onyx Cave property, the only other remaining private inholding, was purchased for $365,000. The Cave Research Foundation was permitted to continue their exploration through a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Park Service.