While you’re in Tennessee, be sure to include a day trip – or several – to the state’s many caves and caverns. There are plenty to choose from; there are 10,000 known caves here, the highest number of caves in the U.S.! Most of these caves run right down the middle of the state and offer a day of exploration and adventure for the whole family.
A cave is a natural void under the earth’s surface, and most caves are formed in soluble rock, usually limestone. Solution caves are formed over millions of years when rock was slowly dissolved by slightly acidic water. Terrains that show evidence of solution caves, such as sinkholes and springs, are called karst.
Cumberland Caverns in McMinnville, for example, is a solution cave and was formed by two underground rivers. When these two rivers converged, creating a whirlpool, they carved out what is now known as the ‘Volcano Room.’ Evidence of this can be seen in the beautifully sculpted ceiling that covers the great hall of this second longest cave in Tennessee.
Craighead Caverns is an extensive cave system located in between Sweetwater and Madisonville, Tennessee. It is best known for containing the country’s largest and the world's second largest non-subglacial underground lake, The Lost Sea. Check out the popular Forbidden Caverns in Sevierville, which offers underground tours with special lighting effects; and Tuckaleechee Caverns in Townsend, which features amazing stalagmite formations.
The importance of cave preservation is monumental for the environment and history. Karst regions are bountiful in the most beneficial spring water, rare animals, and minerals not found anywhere else on earth. Research done in caves also provides scientist with valuable insight into the geological and climate change of the area. Caves also preserve fragile archaeological and paleontological materials for millennia.
Let Americana Inn & Suites be home base during your stay. Our newly renovated budget hotel in Pigeon Forge features 165 guest rooms with plenty of amenities. We’re centrally located and convenient to restaurants, shops, entertainment and, of course, to caving adventures! For more information, give us a call today.