The May/June issue of GO Magazine from AAA has an article about local caves; Under the Great Smoky Mountains – Escape the Summer Heat in Tennessee’s Cool Caverns by Jason Frye.

Under the Great Smoky Mountains – Escape the Summer Heat in Tennessee’s Cool Caverns by Jason Frye AAA GO Magazine May/June, 2018 - Under the Great Smoky Mountains – The Underground World of Caves
Under the Great Smoky Mountains – Escape the Summer Heat in Tennessee’s Cool Caverns by Jason Frye
AAA GO Magazine May/June, 2018

More than 15 million people a year visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Dollywood in Pigeon Forge. Most of them have no idea that there are caves just a few miles from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Tennessee has in excess of 8,350 known caves, and just a few miles from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are two you can visit. While underground in Tuckaleechee Caverns and Forbidden Caverns… discover a whole new world under the Smokies.

Under the Great Smoky Mountains – Escape the Summer Heat in Tennessee’s Cool Caverns by Jason Frye
AAA GO Magazine May/June, 2018
Tuckaleechee Caverns, Townsend, Tennessee - Under the Great Smoky Mountains – The Underground World of Caves
Tuckaleechee Caverns, Townsend

Tuckaleechee Caverns, Townsend

Just 30 minutes from Gatlinburg in Dry Valley is the entrance to Tuckaleechee Caverns and a 1.25 mile, one-hour tour that includes both an enormous room and record setting waterfall… The Big Room – over 400-feet by 300-feet by 150-feet – is among the largest single cavern rooms open to the public in the U.S. But the showstopper – if the 24-foot stalagmites and crystal clear underground stream aren’t enough – is the 210-Silver Falls, the tallest subterranean waterfall in the eastern U.S.

Under the Great Smoky Mountains – Escape the Summer Heat in Tennessee’s Cool Caverns by Jason Frye
AAA GO Magazine May/June, 2018

Forbidden Caverns, Sevierville

… This stunning cave system is… known for stunning cave onyx, which is also called flowstone for the way this calcite deposit appears to drape and flow over the stone walls or hang from the ceiling in curtain like fans. Forbidden Caverns is awe inspiring.

Under the Great Smoky Mountains – Escape the Summer Heat in Tennessee’s Cool Caverns by Jason Frye
AAA GO Magazine May/June, 2018
Alum Cave, Newfound Gap Road, Tennessee - Under the Great Smoky Mountains – The Underground World of Caves
Alum Cave Bluffs
Photo by Brian Stansberry

Alum Cave, Newfound Gap Road

… Alum Cave is a cave in name only. It’s really a humongous overhang a 2.2-mile hike from Newfound Gap Road along Alum Cave Trail and Mt. LeConte Trailhead…. Cross a stream on a log bridge, ascend a set of stone stairs through a rock tunnel, and finally catch your breath in the deep shade of Alum Cave…

Under the Great Smoky Mountains – Escape the Summer Heat in Tennessee’s Cool Caverns by Jason Frye
AAA GO Magazine May/June, 2018
Alum Cave Trail, Newfound Gap, Tennessee Road - Under the Great Smoky Mountains – The Underground World of Caves
Alum Cave Bluff Trail
Photo by Scott Basford

I’ve been to Alum Cave. The trail is pretty steep and drops off on one side. Keep an eye on any kids with you. Two of us slid off the side not paying attention. We didn’t get hurt, just felt stupid, but it’s easy to do. And no, not at all a cave. If you press on looking for an actual cave you will end up on the top of Mt. LeConte. Great view, but no cave.

Alum Cave Trail, Newfound Gap Road, Tennessee - Under the Great Smoky Mountains – The Underground World of Caves
Alum Cave Bluff Trail
Photo by Scott Basford

Under the Great Smoky Mountains