Forbidden Caverns in the Great Smoky Mountains

Spelunkers can have a field day in Tennessee, a state that is home to more than 8,350 caves, the most of any of the states. Heading the list of must-see caves in the Volunteer State is the Forbidden Caverns at Servierville, which is just a short drive from Knoxville or Gatlinburg.

See stalagmites and stalactites as well as formations that resemble corn cobs and eggs fried sunny-side up and formations that are still growing. Colored lights enhance these formations, making some appear eerily beautiful while appropriate music plays in the background. A guided tour on trails that include handrails takes about an hour in temperatures that are at a constant 58 degrees year-round.

The first visitors to the caverns were believed to be local Indians who sheltered there while searching for good hunting grounds in the Great Smoky Mountains. Later visitors included moonshiners who set up stills in the caverns because the water was so plentiful and the location isolated for the time.

Today, tourists can stay in a Gatlinburg cabin while visiting this attraction, which opened to public viewing in 1967. The caverns are open daily, except for Sundays, from April through November. If you are in the Gatlinburg area on a hot July day, picture yourself keeping cool in the Forbidden Canverns, supposedly named after an Indian princess lost her way in an area that was forbidden to her.