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Tennessee

Explore the Mysterious Lost River Cave

Although Lost River Cave only has seven miles of total caverns to explore and is dwarfed by nearby natural attractions like Mammoth Cave it more than makes up for its small size with its unique history and sheer beauty. The cave entrance is one of the largest in the country and invites guests to explore the numerous amazing rock formations within. Like many other caves in the region the tunnels, galleries, stalactites, and stalagmites were formed over millions of years as water seeped its way underground and through limestone rock. What makes Lost River Cave so unique is just how dramatically the cave has formed over its natural history. A nearby river has patiently carved its way through the cavern.

Tours are available to anyone who is looking for a fun and exciting way to spend the day. Located just an hour’s drive away from our Continuing Education Company live Primary Care CME meeting in Nashville, exploring the Lost River Cavern would be a perfect day trip to see some of the amazing natural beauty of the area. The tours are unique even among cave tours because they are broken into two separate parts. The first section of the tour takes guests on a walk by the cave entrance, through a few of the cave galleries, and to the mouth of the underground stream. Along the way, you’ll learn all about the cave’s natural and human history. The site was first inhabited by Native Americans who used the area for shelter, food, and a clean water source. The cave got its first industrial use as the site of numerous mills throughout the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century before being used as both a Confederate and then a Union camp during the Civil War period. You can still find the remains of names etched into the walls by the torches of bored soldiers who once called this cave home.

By prohibition, the caverns got their next use as the site of a bootlegging operation before eventually becoming the grounds of a quirky nightclub complete with a bar and dance floor. The nightclub was in operation for just under thirty years from 1934 to 1962. The closure of the club drew little traffic to this amazing cave and gradually the site became a dumping ground that was slowly overgrown. By the 1990s an effort was made to restore the cave and build it into the amazing attraction that can be explored today. The trash was hauled away, the entrance cleared, and the removal of many invasive species of plants were to restore the cave to its original glory.

You won’t just learn about this amazing history on your adventure here, you’ll also get to explore this cavern in an exciting and hands-on way. The second part of the tour consists of a boat ride down the underground stream. Here you’ll see galleries of rock formations completely inaccessible by foot. Look down and see those same beautiful formations reflected up at you from clear blue water. Keep an eye out for the cave’s most iconic feature: its blue hole. A blue hole is a rare natural formation that occurs when an entrance to an underwater cavern faces upwards creating a surreal dark blue shape in the water. In the case of the Lost River Cave, this blue hole leads to an even larger underground riverway. Be sure to bring along your camera or pull out your phone for some incredible shots you won’t get anywhere else.

If you’re looking to explore the area in greater depth there are plenty of nature trails all around the cave that are well worth the detour if you have the time. Keep an eye out for the numerous species of local wildlife that call the area home and listen to the songs of birds or the wind rustle through the trees as you walk along one or more of these beautiful trails. Another amazing activity, if you’re feeling extra adventurous, is riding the Flying Squirrel Zipline. Your guide will take you across three exciting tracks where you’ll soar over the natural beauty of the area including the iconic blue hole at incredible but safe speeds. Whether you like to explore natural beauty, learn about history, or have a boost of adrenaline on your vacation there’s something for everyone if you decide to explore Lost River Cavern on your vacation this year.


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