Tuckaleechee Caverns

Useful Information

Location: In Townsend. Off scenic U.S. 321. Off state hwy. 73 between Maryville and Gatlinburg.
Open: APR to OCT daily 10-18.
Fee: Adults USD 14, Children (5-11) USD 7, Children (0-4) free.
Classification: ExplainKarst cave, Explainriver cave.
Light: electric
Dimension: T=14°C, V=50,000/a.
Guided tours: D=75min., L=1600m.
Address: Tuckaleechee Caverns, 825 Cavern Rd., Townsend, TN 37882, Tel. +1-865-448-2274. E-mail: contact
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.


~1850 discovered by lumbermen.
1931 opened to the public for a year, closed because of the Depression.
1953 opened to the public.
1954 Big Room discovered by members of the National Speleological Society.
1955 Big Room included into the tour, electric light installed.
1982 Bill Vananda bought out Myers and became the sole owner of Tuckaleechee Caverns.


Tuckaleechee Caverns was developed and opened to the public by Bill Vananda and Harry Myers. The two locals developed the cave through their own hand labour. First tours were held with Coleman lanterns, but soon electric light was installed.

The cave is famous for its speleothems, which are called "cave onyx" in the area. In the biggest hall, which is 55m long, 33m wide and up to 22m high, the stalagmites are so called plate stack stalagmites aka Explainpalm trunc stalagmites. Locally they are called totem poles.

The natural entrance of the cave lies at the foot of Little Mountain in Dry Valley. It was discovered by lumbermen, which first explored it using pine torches and kerosene lamps. The story of Red Indians discovering the cave and using it as a hideout and shelter seems to be a sort of local legend.

The cave has three different cave rivers, which merge in the cave and emerge about 1km away in Dunn Spring.