Chattanooga Caving

Caving in Chattanooga

Chatt Choices™

Chattanooga Grotto

Chattanooga Grotto 

Cumberland Caverns

Cumberland Caverns

TheLostSea

The Lost Sea Adventure

The Wonders of the Underground

The Southeast is a rich part of the country when it comes to caves and caverns, and the greater Chattanooga area is no exception; in fact, the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, a nonprofit that exists to protect and preserve caves throughout the region, is headquartered right here on Signal Mountain. Anyone curious about what lies underground will enjoy the 7,000-plus caves that can be found within an hour of the Scenic City. From guided walking tours to more adventurous spelunking and overnight excursions, there’s something in the area for everyone. Thanks to their relatively stable cool temperatures and expansive shelter, caves are an excellent outdoor activity no matter the weather.

Ruby Falls

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Chattanooga, Ruby Falls is an underground waterfall over a thousand feet below the surface of Lookout Mountain. Ever since its discovery in 1928, visitors have come from far and wide to take the elevator down into the mountain and see the beautiful waterfalls, rock formations, and to hear the story of how it was accidentally discovered all those decades ago. You can take guided tours of Ruby Falls both in the daytime and after-hours during a special handheld Lantern Tour.

Raccoon Mountain Caverns

Lookout Mountain isn’t the only mountain in Chattanooga with underground activities to offer! Raccoon Mountain Caverns, just to the southwest of the city, has over five and a half miles of underground passageways for visitors to explore. For those looking for a more relaxed, educational journey through the caverns, the Crystal Palace Walking Tour is a great option that provides guests with a 45-minute guided tour through more accessible, will-lit portions of the passageways. For more experienced cave explorers, the Wild Cave Expeditions option allows participants to explore tighter, undeveloped portions of the caverns. For these expeditions, visitors are required to wear protective equipment and headlamps, all of which are provided on location. 

Cumberland Caverns

Just an hour outside of downtown Chattanooga is Cumberland Caverns, an expansive underground cave system with over 30 miles of passageways that include rock formations, waterfalls, and glittering pools. Cumberland Caverns has something for everyone, no matter your experience level. The caverns are open year round, and Discovery Walking Tours, a guided walking tour that hits the highlights of the passageways below, leave every hour on the hour. Slightly more involved daytime options, such as Rocky Topper Saturday or Higgenbotham’s Revenge Saturday, offer excursions that you’ll need caving equipment for. For the most adventurous of spelunkers, there are overnight excursion options, which range from kid-friendly tours to extreme rappelling and climbing experiences, all of which culminate in spending the night inside the caverns. Whether you’re an experienced caver looking for a new adventure, or a group of family or friends looking to spend an hour or two exploring a cave, Cumberland Caverns has an option to suit you.

Pettyjohn’s Cave, Sitton’s Cave, & More

Possibilities for your next underground adventure don’t stop there! An hour south of the city is Pettyjohn’s Cave, located on the eastern side of Pigeon Mountain in Georgia. The cave is always free and open to the public outside of deer hunting season, and it’s a great opportunity for amateur cave explorers to gain some experience, as it’s relatively safe and easy to climb through. Some popular features include the Worm Tube, a narrow 200-foot-long passage that you have to crawl though, which leads to the Echo Room, a large open space that’s one of the cave’s best features. Grab your gear, and expect to get muddy for this one!

Not far from Pettyjohn’s is Sitton’s Cave, a fully horizontal cave found at the base of the canyon in Cloudland Canyon State Park. Though it’s a public cave, it’s for experienced cavers only – permits and reservations are required. Byer’s Cave at the Fox Mountain Preserve in Dade County and Ellison’s Cave in Walker County are both vertical caves, and are also recommended only for the most advanced cavers, as no public group tours are offered. 

Whether you’re an inexperienced explorer just looking to visit, or a more advanced climber looking for a thrilling underground adventure, Chattanooga and the surrounding area have plenty of options to satisfy whatever you’re craving. 

The Wonders of the Underground

The Southeast is a rich part of the country when it comes to caves and caverns, and the greater Chattanooga area is no exception; in fact, the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, a nonprofit that exists to protect and preserve caves throughout the region, is headquartered right here on Signal Mountain. Anyone curious about what lies underground will enjoy the 7,000-plus caves that can be found within an hour of the Scenic City. From guided walking tours to more adventurous spelunking and overnight excursions, there’s something in the area for everyone. Thanks to their relatively stable cool temperatures and expansive shelter, caves are an excellent outdoor activity no matter the weather.

Ruby Falls

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Chattanooga, Ruby Falls is an underground waterfall over a thousand feet below the surface of Lookout Mountain. Ever since its discovery in 1928, visitors have come from far and wide to take the elevator down into the mountain and see the beautiful waterfalls, rock formations, and to hear the story of how it was accidentally discovered all those decades ago. You can take guided tours of Ruby Falls both in the daytime and after-hours during a special handheld Lantern Tour.

Raccoon Mountain Caverns

Lookout Mountain isn’t the only mountain in Chattanooga with underground activities to offer! Raccoon Mountain Caverns, just to the southwest of the city, has over five and a half miles of underground passageways for visitors to explore. For those looking for a more relaxed, educational journey through the caverns, the Crystal Palace Walking Tour is a great option that provides guests with a 45-minute guided tour through more accessible, will-lit portions of the passageways. For more experienced cave explorers, the Wild Cave Expeditions option allows participants to explore tighter, undeveloped portions of the caverns. For these expeditions, visitors are required to wear protective equipment and headlamps, all of which are provided on location. 

Cumberland Caverns

Just an hour outside of downtown Chattanooga is Cumberland Caverns, an expansive underground cave system with over 30 miles of passageways that include rock formations, waterfalls, and glittering pools. Cumberland Caverns has something for everyone, no matter your experience level. The caverns are open year round, and Discovery Walking Tours, a guided walking tour that hits the highlights of the passageways below, leave every hour on the hour. Slightly more involved daytime options, such as Rocky Topper Saturday or Higgenbotham’s Revenge Saturday, offer excursions that you’ll need caving equipment for. For the most adventurous of spelunkers, there are overnight excursion options, which range from kid-friendly tours to extreme rappelling and climbing experiences, all of which culminate in spending the night inside the caverns. Whether you’re an experienced caver looking for a new adventure, or a group of family or friends looking to spend an hour or two exploring a cave, Cumberland Caverns has an option to suit you.

Pettyjohn’s Cave, Sitton’s Cave, & More

Possibilities for your next underground adventure don’t stop there! An hour south of the city is Pettyjohn’s Cave, located on the eastern side of Pigeon Mountain in Georgia. The cave is always free and open to the public outside of deer hunting season, and it’s a great opportunity for amateur cave explorers to gain some experience, as it’s relatively safe and easy to climb through. Some popular features include the Worm Tube, a narrow 200-foot-long passage that you have to crawl though, which leads to the Echo Room, a large open space that’s one of the cave’s best features. Grab your gear, and expect to get muddy for this one!

Not far from Pettyjohn’s is Sitton’s Cave, a fully horizontal cave found at the base of the canyon in Cloudland Canyon State Park. Though it’s a public cave, it’s for experienced cavers only – permits and reservations are required. Byer’s Cave at the Fox Mountain Preserve in Dade County and Ellison’s Cave in Walker County are both vertical caves, and are also recommended only for the most advanced cavers, as no public group tours are offered. 

Whether you’re an inexperienced explorer just looking to visit, or a more advanced climber looking for a thrilling underground adventure, Chattanooga and the surrounding area have plenty of options to satisfy whatever you’re craving. 

stalactites-and-stalagmites.RightColumn1
young-man-walking-through-a-cave.RightColumn2

Chattanooga Caving

0