On May 7, 2016, Tracy and I went with the Huntsville Grotto to Blue Spring Cave in Tennessee. At about 38 miles, Blue Spring is the ninth longest cave in the United States, and the longest in Tennessee. It’s on private property and it’s securely gated, so you need permission to visit the cave. If you do get permission, there is a camp spot on the property that is by the river and has an outhouse. It’s nice, but you’ll need at least a high clearance vehicle to get to it.
The main entrance was cut into the rock after the natural entrance was finally connected to the main cave. The natural entrance is evidently a tight fit, so another entrance was cut to bypass the tight crawl.
This cave is absolutely amazing, and we only saw about 2 miles or so of it. It starts out with very pretty formations, and has many soda straws, columns, waterfalls, other interesting features. Tracy quickly declared that it was probably her favorite cave so far.
The short section of cave that we saw in five hours was not only pretty, but it had some challenging sections to it, also. We did some tight crawling, had to do some poking around to find passages, and had a couple of exposed scrambles…all of the things that make a cave great.
We’ll definitely be trying to go back to this cave.
Please note, this is not the actual location for the cave.
Can anybody come see this cave? Is there a tour I could pay?
No, this is a private cave, so there are no tours, and it’s protected by a locked gate. It’s also a very complex cave, so it wouldn’t be safe to go without someone who is familiar with the cave. The best thing to do is visit a local NSS grotto (https://caves.org/committee/i-o/grottos/grottos.shtml) and join a trip with people from the group who are familiar with the cave. There are also other great caves in the area that do have tours, such as nearby Cumberland Caverns.
I’ve been in multiple caves and am just interested in a weekend trip with a mate to explore a little bit. Who would I have to talk to or what channels would I have to go through to get access?
Your best bet is to join a local caving club. You can find a list of them here: https://caves.org/committee/i-o/grottos/grottos.shtml
Now, not all caving clubs are created equal. Down here in Huntsville, we are very active and enjoy taking new cavers anywhere they want to go. So, you may have to shop around for a club that you enjoy.
The caving clubs are really the only way you’re going to meet experienced cavers who can teach you responsible and safe caving, and who have the knowledge of specific caves to keep you from getting lost forever 🙂
Additionally, Blue Spring, for example, is a gated cave, and you need someone who can help you get access to show you around. The caving club is the best place to start.
If you want to drive to Huntsville, we’ll be happy to have you!