Tennessee Caves Near The Smoky Mountains & Beyond

Tennessee is home to almost 10,000 caves. Many of these caves are home to rare and protected wildlife. While you can't enter all of them, there are some that offer a beautiful glimpse into the earth beneath the surface. Here are a list of Tennessee caves near Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and the Smoky Mountains that are open to the public and accessible via guided tour.

Tennessee Caves You Can Visit:

Forbidden Caverns

Forbidden Caverns, located in Sevierville, TN, offers a unique underground adventure. The caverns boast intricate formations, towering natural chimneys, numerous grottos, and crystal clear streams. The average guided tour is around one hour and provides guests with insights into the cavern's geological wonders and the fascinating stories of its past including a rich history dating back to the Eastern Woodland Indians.

Tuckaleechee Caverns

Estimated to be between 20-30 million years old, Tuckaleechee Caverns beckons visitors with its captivating subterranean world. These caverns feature stunning formations, including impressive stalactites and stalagmites, a room as large as a football field and the tallest subterranean waterfall in the Eastern US. Guided tours lead guests through the underground labyrinth, revealing the caverns' intricate beauty and sharing the history of their discovery.

Alum Cave Bluff

While Alum Cave Bluff might not exactly fit in with these other Tennessee caves, it is a wild natural sight to behold, and it sure does feel like a cave when standing beneath it. The bluff is home to some of the rarest minerals in the world, and it only takes a short hike to reach it.

Alum Cave Bluff

Other Noteworthy Tennessee Caves in the Smokies:

  • Bull Cave: The deepest cave in our state (nearly 1,000 feet deep) is located on the outskirts of the national park near the trailhead for Ace Gap Trail. It is not accessible to the public and extremely unsafe for any meandering spelunkers.
  • Gregory's Cave: Located in Cades Cove, Gregory's Cave has an interesting history of being developed as a fallout shelter during the Cold War, and it was also likely a great hiding spot for moonshiners.
  • Whiteoak Sink & Blowhole Cave: Another location you can reach via a short hike is the popular Whiteoak Sink. There are several caves in the area home to protected bat populations, so it is illegal to enter the caves; obey the signage and check them out from a distance.

Other Caves in Tennessee:

Tennessee Caves

Ruby Falls

Discovered in 1928, Ruby Falls in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is a breathtaking underground waterfall nestled within Lookout Mountain. It is the tallest and deepest underground cave waterfall open to the public in the United States. Guided tours lead visitors through a labyrinth of stunning rock formations, culminating in the awe-inspiring sight of Ruby Falls cascading from the ceiling into a sparkling pool below.

This natural wonder is illuminated with colorful lights, enhancing its magical ambiance. A visit to Ruby Falls offers a unique opportunity to explore the wonders of the underground world and marvel at the beauty of nature's artistry.

The Lost Sea

The Lost Sea, situated in Sweetwater, TN, is the largest underground lake in the United States and is part of an extensive cave system. Visitors can take guided tours that lead them through the awe-inspiring chambers adorned with stunning formations, eventually reaching the mesmerizing Lost Sea itself. The boat tour on the Lost Sea provides an unforgettable experience, showcasing the crystal-clear waters and offering a glimpse into the mysteries of the subterranean world.

Cumberland Caverns

Cumberland Caverns, located in McMinnville, Tennessee, offers an enthralling underground experience. With over 32 miles of caves and passageways, the caverns showcase a mesmerizing array of rock formations and underground water features, including enchanting waterfalls and gleaming pools. Daily walking tours, daytime caving tours, and overnight caving tours provide visitors with various ways to explore this subterranean realm.

Whether marveling at the natural wonders or embarking on adventurous tours, Cumberland Caverns promises a memorable journey into the depths of the Earth. For more fun outdoor adventures, be sure to check out the extensive Great Smoky Mountains National Park section of our website before your next trip to East Tennessee.

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