The entrance to a cave in rock where a stream disappears into the ground
The entrance to a cave in rock where a stream disappears into the ground

You may have walked over caves hundreds of times, completely unaware of the marvelous realm that lays inside the earth so nearby!

How to find a cave:

Ask commercial cave owners or their guides if they know of caves nearby. They may not only know about them, but have explored them themselves.

    Check with:

  1. Farmers
  2. Fishermen
  3. Hikers
  4. Hunters
  5. Miners
  6. People who have grown up in the area.
  7. Power company repairmen
  8. Telephone linemen
 Sometimes a shallow cave extends farther if you can find the entrance.
Sometimes a shallow cave extends farther if you can find the entrance.

You might also become an amateur detective. Your research might include:

  1. County recorder
  2. Historical society
  3. Library
  4. Newspaper editors

Be sure to read up on:

  1. Local history
  2. Diaries
  3. Old newspapers
  4. County geographical surveys
  5. County geological surveys

Watch for streams disappearing underground.

In winter, look for areas where the snow is melted away. It sometimes melts at a cave mouth because a cave is usually warmer inside than the outside air. Sometimes you will see fog coming out of the opening.

Wherever there is red soil, you will probably find caves. Cave bearing rocks and limestone often have iron in them, which causes red silt or clay.

The entrance to a cave in Tennessee is barely visible on the hillside.
The entrance to a cave in Tennessee is barely visible on the hillside.

Caving is not an armchair sport. Remember, though, caving can be dangerous. But, with the proper equipment and training, and the company of an experienced group, caving is no more dangerous than many other active outdoor sports.

Take nothing but pictures.
Leave nothing but footprints
Kill nothing but time.

text and photos by Carla Sikorski