Back to Top

Cave Life April 2017

Welcome back to the Cumberland Caverns “Cave Life” Newsletter.

Were you aware there are 10,309 known caves in Tennessee? In fact, Tennessee boasts the highest number of caves in the U.S. with the majority running right down the middle of the state. For a natural earth cavity to qualify and be listed as a cave on the Tennessee Cave Survey database it must meet or exceed the following measurements: horizontal length 50ft., total vertical extent of 40ft. or a pit depth of 30ft. Cumberland Caverns exceeds these guidelines and is ranked among the largest caves in the world.

2017 April Newsletter_Map

What is a Cave

A cave is a natural void under the earth’s surface, and most caves are formed in soluble rock, usually limestone. Solution caves are formed over millions of years when rock is slowly dissolved by slightly acidic water. Terrains that show evidence of solution caves, such as sinkholes and springs, are called Karst. Cumberland Caverns is known as a solution cave and was formed by two underground rivers. When these two rivers converged, creating a whirlpool, they carved out what is now known as the ‘Volcano Room.’ Evidence of this can be seen in the beautiful sculpted ceiling that covers the great hall.


The importance of cave preservation is monumental for our environment and history. Karst regions are bountiful in the most beneficial spring water, rare animals, and minerals not found anywhere else on earth. Research done in caves also provides scientist with valuable insight on the geological and climate change of the area. Caves also preserve fragile archaeological and paleontological materials for millennia.

Cumberland Caverns is committed to cave conservation through commercialization and are thrilled to be able to share this amazing experience with all of you. We know you’re going to love this adventure, and miracle of nature, as much as we do.

“Take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time, leave nothing but footprints.”- National Speleological Society

Spelunking is extreme hiking done deep beneath the earth’s surface. When you venture below for the experience of a lifetime, you never have to worry about inclement weather or pesky bugs ruining your outing. If you want to take adventure to the next level, join us for a Caveman Campout. Schedule your reservation today.

*Rocky Topper is also offered every Saturday at 1:00 CST with no reservation required.

Big Smo Plays For Charity

April 1st welcomed very talented artists Big Smo and Hayden Carpenter to the stage in a charity event held for Monroe Carroll Jr.’s Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

When the cave was initially approached by Jamie Brock and Marie Ann Turpin about doing the fundraiser, we knew this was an opportunity to help the community, but had no idea to what extent. The hard work by Jamie, Marie, and all the volunteers was well rewarded as they were able to submit a check for over $10k to the hospital to help better the lives of others in need. Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital is very close to the hearts of many, including first-hand experiences by many people in attendance, and both Ms. Brock and Big Smo. Big Smo’s daughter was born prematurely and he and his family spent a lot of time at the facility counting down the days until they could take her home.

During Big Smo’s performance, he requested an entourage of help on stage from the children in attendance. What fun they had being Smo’s backup singers, dancers, and stage support. It will be a memory that lasts a lifetime for sure!

The cave would like to thank everyone, the guests, volunteers, and artists for coming out and making this event such a huge success. We appreciate the opportunity to help make miracles happen.


For almost 60 years Lewis Lamon, Jr has called Cumberland Caverns his home away from home. Most of you know Lewis from your visits to the cave, as he was on hand daily to greet and entertain guests with his wonderful stories of the cave transformation over the years. We just wanted you to know, Lewis suffered a heart attack recently. He is doing great, but while he is recuperating, we thought it would be nice for his cave family and friends to reach out and send him some well wishes for a complete and speedy recovery. If you would like to send Lewis a card, his address is: 415 Pace St., McMinnville, TN 37110.