Indian Cave Village

Indian Cave

Useful Information

Location: Blaine, Grainger County.
(36.1592521667, -83.6012878418)
Open: closed.
Fee: closed.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave dolomite
Light: electric (partly)
Dimension: L=4,151 m, VR=23.5 m, T=12 °C.
Guided tours:
Address: Indian Cave Village, 1111 Indian Cave Road, RT 1 box 143, Blaine TN 37709, Tel: +1-865-828-8047.
Richard Dykes, Tel: +1-865-828-4455.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


3000 BP first used by native Indians.
170? used by a French trader.
21-JUL-1869 purchased by the former Confederate general Robert Hoke for the purpose of mining bat guano.
04-JAN-1916 Indian Cave Park association founded.
30-MAY-1924 opened to the public.
???? closed.
1983 cave surveyed.
04-JUL-1983 remains of a human skeleton discovered.
18-NOV-2000 Rave in a Cave.
2005 reopened.
2010 cave closed.


Indian Cave is one of dozens of Indian Caves in the USA. Many caves were used by the American natives, and so many got this name. This cave was used by the Indians for more than 3,000 years, numerous remains were excavated proofing this. In 1983 the remains of a human skeleton were discovered and examined by the University of Tennessee. They were dated to be 3,000 years old. The Iroquoian-speaking Cherokee migrated into the area from the northeast at this time. The territory of the Cherokee included the eastern Ohio River valley and the Appalachians down into South Carolina.

At the beginning of the 18th century, the cave entrance room was used by a French trader. He traded with Indians, especially the inhabitants of a Cherokee village just west of the entrance. This part of the cave history is local lure and not supported by archaeological evidence, but it is typical for the time and thus very likely.

Another part of the cave history, which is documented, is the time of the bat guano mining. The former Confederate general Robert Hoke purchased the cave in 1869 for the mining. Bat guano was mined for its high amount of saltpeter, which was needed to produce gun powder.

Since 1916, when the Indian Cave Park Association was founded, the area was developed, which climaxed in the development of the cave and its opening to the public in 1924. During the 1930s it was operated by Hunter Chapman, the owner of ShowcaveShenandoah Caverns in Virginia. At this time, it was the largest electrically illuminated show cave in the world.

Later, the cave was closed and it remained closed for many decades. It is listed in the BookGurnee Guide as a closed cave in 1990.

While the cave was closed, it was apparently used as a site for a Rave in a Cave in 2000. The all-night dance party was attended by over 800 people from all over the United States. The party was organized via the internet. It seems the neighbours heard about the party and organized a road block. Party goers answered with physical action with baseball bats. The Grainger County sheriff's department set up a road block to prevent further confrontations. 22 arrests on drug charges were made, one party-goer died of a drug overdose, and 150 traffic citations were filed.

Later the cave was reopened, but it seems the former trails and light system were destroyed during the long closing time. The cave was only partly electrically lit, most of the tours were done with lamps. There were guided and self-guided tours and Halloween specials called Haunted Caves Tours. But in 2010 the cave was again closed and is now in a completely deteriorated state. The buildings were vandalized, the gates destroyed, and the car park is used by locals as a boat ramp. Fortunately, the cave is still gated and so at least there is no vandalism inside the cave.