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All You Need to Know About the Caves Near Gatlinburg

tuckaleechee caverns waterfall
September 24, 2020

Most people know that Tennessee is an excellent destination for all kinds of attractions and entertainment. However, many people don’t realize that some of the state’s most beautiful sights are found underground. In fact, Tennessee has more caverns than any state in the union. If you’re interested in exploring them while you’re in Gatlinburg, you’re in luck. There are a few caves close by that you need to see! Here is everything you need to know about the caves near Gatlinburg:

Forbidden Caverns

forbidden caverns, one of the fun things to do in sevierville tn

Tourists won’t have to go any farther than Sevierville to find the best cave attraction in the state! Guides at the Forbidden Caverns take guests on the tours are remarkably well informed and adept at answering almost any question. Access to the cave has been improved with walkways and appropriate handrails without detracting from the natural beauty of the formations. The entertaining and informative tours lead visitors along the path of a sparkling stream and through several breathtaking grottoes. Management at the cave has placed special lighting effects and included a stereophonic sound system to enhance guest experience. The cave’s calcite formations grow and change with the passage of time, making it necessary to indulge in repeat visits. People have been coming to the caves for hundreds of years, but it took many years of development for Forbidden Caverns’ owners to prepare the property for public view. The job was completed in 1967 and Forbidden Caverns was opened to the public. It’s been in operation ever since, enabling visitors to see impressive onyx formations and the hidden niches where moonshine was once distilled.

Tuckaleechee Caverns

Tuckaleechee Caverns is another one of the best caves near Gatlinburg. This Townsend attraction boasts onyx formations and a beautiful double waterfall. It’s known as the “Greatest Site Under the Smokies.” The caverns are estimated to be several million years old, and one of their most impressive features is the “BigRoom,” a soaring chamber that never fails to astonish guests. Another great sight to see is the SilverFalls. It falls 210 feet from top to bottom and is the tallest subterranean waterfall in the eastern United States. Tuckaleechee Caverns has become more and more popular over the years, growing from 2,000 visitors its first year to an average of over 50,000 visitors each year.

Alum Cave

Alum Cave near Gatlinburg

Alum Cave is one of the most visited “caves” near Gatlinburg. Although it has cave in its name, it’s not technically a cave. It’s actually a concaved bluff. To reach Alum Cave near Gatlinburg, visitors must take the Alum Cave Trail, located off Newfound Gap Road, south of the Sugarlands Visitor Center. This hike is moderately difficult, and ascends 1,125 feet in elevation towards the top of Mount LeConte. It’s a 2.3-mile hike from the trailhead to the bluffs. Along the way, you’ll cross footbridges, climb under Arch Rock, and enjoy gorgeous views. Alum Cave is about 80 feet in height and about 500 feet in length. If you visit during the warmer months of the year, water drips off from the ledges above. In the colder months, the droplets turn into impressive icicles!

This is just a short list of the many beautiful caves near Gatlinburg, and in the state of Tennessee as a whole. There are plenty of gorgeous sights around Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. Learn more about fun things you can do and see in Gatlinburg, then plan your visit!

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