Have you ever been in total darkness? Like, can’t see the hand directly in front of your face, darkness? If not, that’s just one of the many interesting things you get to experience deep underground in Tuckaleechee Caverns, in Townsend, TN.
Just 45 minutes away from Gatlinburg, sits the small town of Townsend, TN. There are many things to do there, but Tuckaleechee Caverns hold the top spot on the list. You take a scenic drive down a tree-covered road, past horse stables, and adorable mountain cabins to arrive at the little building. It’s nothing fancy, but that adds to the charm! As you enter you are greeted with a smile and a whole case filled with homemade fudge. Tuckaleechee is also home to one of the most sensitive seismic stations in the world, and can detect all kinds of tectonic plate movements! You can see the seismic station in the welcome area, as well.
Tickets for adults are $17 or $8 for kids ages 5-11. I recommend using the restroom at the top before taking the tour, because it lasts upwards of an hour and there are obviously no restrooms in the cave itself. I also recommend bringing a jacket if you get cold easily. The cave is 58-degrees year-round, so it will feel a little chilly if you aren’t used to it.
The tour guides are very well educated about the cave and also provide some laughs along the way. They tell you all about how the cave was formed and found. Unlike most caves, you are able to take photographs and even touch the non-wet surfaces of the cave!
You’ll see lots of stalagmites and stalactites like the ones above. An easy way to remember the difference is a stalagmite might touch the ceiling one day, and a stalactite holds tight to the ceiling above!
You’ll see some crazy features like the balancing rock that is seemingly being held up by very little.
You’ll also get to see “Tuck,” the caverns resident bear! But don’t worry, he’s pretty harmless.
The cave also boasts a room so large it could fit an entire football field inside, comfortably! In this room you get to experience what complete darkness looks like. It is one of the craziest experiences to literally not be able to see anything.
After the big room you make your way over to the beach, where you can stick your feet in the water. But beware, the temperature underground is a cool 58-degrees, so the water might feel a bit chilly.
Finally you end the tour with a 210 ft double waterfall!
Tuckaleechee Caverns is a fun adventure and well worth the money in my opinion. It’s hard to find reasonably priced things to do around Gatlinburg, so I highly recommend taking a scenic drive and enjoying country life for a little while!