Forbidden Caverns are an excellent family attraction, especially if you love science. Tennessee is home to the largest number of caves in the entire United States - over eight thousand have been registered already. Forbidden Caverns is among the most spectacular of these caves, providing a tour through beautiful cave formations and natural chimneys, and a look at a beautiful underground stream. The presentation features a sound element, trained tour guides and lighting effects to help highlight some of the best features in the cave.
The cavern has been known for hundreds of years, and was initially used as a winter shelter by Native American tribes in the area. The cave river provides a constant water supply from an underground lake under English Mountain. Chert and flint deposits are also present, and allowed scrapers, arrowheads, and knives to be produced. The cave was used for moonshine production between the 1920s and early 1940s, due to its isolation and constant supply of high quality water. The cave opened to the public in 1967, and has provided a wonderful attraction ever since.
You can get to Forbidden Caverns Tennessee from Knoxville or the Gatlinburg area. It takes about forty-five minutes to drive from Knoxville, and only a little more than a half hour to get there from Gatlinburg. Parking is free for cars, as well as buses. There's also a souvenir shop, a picnic pavilion for warm weather, and available refreshments. Just make sure that you use the restroom before you enter the cave - the only restrooms are in the parking lot, and another one won't be available for about an hour.
Be aware that people who have mobility issues or low stamina could have trouble in the cave. The paths are very clear and not steep, but the path can be damp. The cave is relatively dry, but there are some wet patches. The tour itself takes about fifty-five minutes, which is more walking than some people are used to. Young people in good health shouldn't have any problems. The trails are well-lit, and there are handrails located at spots that might be dangerous.
Remember to dress appropriately for weather inside the caves. Since they're below the frost line, the temperature inside is around fifty to sixty degrees all year. In the summer, this can feel uncomfortably cold, but in the winter, it may be warmer than you expect. It's a good idea to wear layers, so you can modify what you're wearing to the temperature inside the cave.
The caverns themselves measure up to the best caves elsewhere, featuring columns, draperies, and beautiful stalagmites and stalactites. There are also a few things you won't see anywhere else. Forbidden Caverns features a wall of onyx, an underground river, and some incredible high ceiling rooms and crevasses. What it doesn't have are really large rooms. While the cave is very open, it doesn't have some of the huge expanses you'll find at other locations. However, the cave operators do a good job of using colors and lighting to create a dramatic show.
455 Blowing Cave Rd
Sevierville, TN 37876
"Photos by Mike Goren"
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"Photos of Forbidden Caverns by Mike Goren"
Forbidden Caverns to Sevierville Tourism