A publication of Appalachian Voices

A publication of Appalachian Voices

Going Caving in Tennessee


Worley’s Cave in Sullivan County, Tenn. Photo by Jimmy Davidson

Worley’s Cave

Where: Bluff City, Tenn., in Sullivan County
How to access: Worley’s is located on private property, and it is recommended that visitors tour the cave with a third-party outdoor recreation company, such as High Mountain Expeditions, River & Earth Adventures, USA Raft or Wahoo’s Adventures. However, the owner may grant entry permission to experienced individuals or groups such as university programs or scout troops. Tours through Worley’s can be done as both day trips and overnight trips, and vary in length of time to complete.
Difficulty: While Worley’s can be beginner-friendly when accompanied by a well-trained guide, this caving experience is physically strenuous and better for more adventurous or experienced cavers.
Fun Fact: The cave is also known as Morrill Cave, after 20th century explorer John Morrill who led trips at the site. It includes a giant, open room deep in the cave known as the Cathedral Room because of its natural curtains and other cathedral-like features.
Contact info: Email worleyscaveinfo@gmail.com, or search the websites of the companies listed above for tour information.

Appalachian Caverns

Where: Blountville, Tenn., in Sullivan County
How to access: Appalachian Caverns offers several guided tours to the public.
Difficulty: Appalachian Caverns offers a variety of experiences, from beginner to advanced. There are four different tours, available based on skill level and priced accordingly.
Fun Fact: Appalachian Caverns’ history includes archaeological evidence of Native Americans and land ties to both the Boone and Crockett families.
Contact info: Visit appacaverns.com, or call 423-323-2337

Wolf River Cave

Where: Fentress County, Tenn.
How to access: The cave sits on 33 acres and is co-supported by the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy in Tennessee and Bat Conservation International. Closed from September 10 to April 30, the conservancy requires a permit to explore Wolf River Cave.
Difficulty: Experienced cavers only
Fun Fact: Wolf River Cave is eight miles long. It is home to about 2,500 Indiana bats, the rarest endangered bat in the Southeast. Access is controlled by the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that protects 31 preserves with more than 170 caves in six southeastern states. None of their caves are available for commercial use, but permits can be acquired for free on their website. After a permit is approved, parties are allowed to hike above ground on the preserves, as well as explore certain caves, although some are closed for conservation purposes.
Contact info: Visit saveyourcaves.org or call (423) 771-9671

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2019 — April/May

2019 — April/May

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