|Location:||Between Sweetwater and Madisonville on Hwy 68. Interstate 75, 64 km south of Knoxville.|
JAN to FEB daily 9-17.
MAR to APR daily 9-18.
MAY to AUG daily 9-19.
JUL daily 9-20.
AUG daily 9-19.
SEP to OCT daily 9-18.
NOV to DEC daily 9-17.
Adults USD 17.95, Children (5-12) USD 7.95, Children (0-4) free.
Groups (15+): Adults USD 15.95, Children (5-12) USD 7.
|Classification:||Karst cave river cave.|
|Guided tours:||L=1200 m, D=55 min, T=14,5 °C, V=150,000/a .|
|Address:||Lost Sea, 140 Lost Sea Road, Sweetwater, TN 37874, Tel. +1-423-337-6616.|
|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.
|Natural entrance discovered by the Indian Chief Craighead, known as Craighead Caverns.|
|Civil War||used to manufacture saltpeter for gunpowder.|
|1905||first exploration by Ben Sands, lake discovered.|
|1927||artificial entrance build, but not opended because of difficulty of access.|
|1939||remains of a 20,000 years old jaguar discovered.|
|1940||cave used as mushroom farm.|
|1947||Cavern Tavern created.|
|1963||cave reopened as Lost Sea.|
The name of the Lost Sea is derived from the most impressing feature of the cave, an underground lake of 1.8 ha and between 10 and 30 m deep. It is the largest in the U.S.A. and the second largest in the world. It was the world's largest underground lake until a larger one was found in Africa several years ago. The tour includes a ride on the lake in a glass bottom boat, where one can see that the lake is stocked with rainbow trout.
The lake was discovered in 1905 by a 13-year-old boy, Ben Sands. He crawled through a muddy hole deep inside the cave and found water. He threw balls of dirt into the darkness to determine how big it was, but no mater how hard he threw, all he heard was the plop of mud into water.
The tour also shows the remains of the early salpeter workings, where salpeter for gunpowder was manufactured during the Civil War. The mushroom farm and the dance floor are visited, also a display of anthodite flowers. The cave also served as refrigerator, moonshine operation, meeting room, and tavern, but this operations levt no visible tracks.
In 1939 explorers discovered the 25,000 year old skeleton and plaster molds of tracks of a jaguar in the cave. The findings are on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.