Caving Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

Discover adventure on a spelunking adventure trip at Cumberland Caverns. Do you have questions about your trip? Find your answers below. Have a question not answered here? Please call us at 931-668-4396 or e-mail us at

General Information about the cave:

  • The cave is 56 degrees year round
  • Daily Walking Tours leave out every hour on the hour 9am-5pm
  • Open Year Round- Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, open at 1:00 pm on Easter Sunday.
  • Good walking shoes are required
  • We do have restrooms inside the cave
  • Adventure and Overnights require a reservation
  • Only service animals are allowed inside the cave

What can I expect on a Daily Walking Tour?

  • Tour is moderately strenuous with 350 stone cut steps (optional) over to see the light show.
  • It is approximately 1.5 miles and takes about 1.5 hours to complete
  • Good lace-up walking shoes are recommended.
  • The cave is 56 degrees year-round with 99% humidity
  • No reservations are required for the Daily Walking Tour. Tours leave out every hour on the hour from 9-5 CST

*Daily Walking Tours have no minimum number required to participate
**Group rates are available for Daily Walking Tours with over 20 people paying in a single transaction. Requires a reservation.

How big/small of a group can I bring?

• There is a 10 person minimum for most Adventure Trips.
• Helpful Hint: Tours are designed for groups of 10 or more, but if your group is smaller, we can coordinate your trip on a night that other groups have scheduled.
• There is a 250 person maximum capacity for overnight adventure trips.
• Helpful Hint: For very large groups, you may want to have them divide up into smaller groups of 50 to make getting through the trip quicker and easier for everyone.

What if more people want to come?

• Great! We will do our best to fit them in if there is additional room on the trip.
• Please call us (931-668-4396) and let us know how many more are coming as soon as possible.
• We still require a 10-day notice for additions without a late fee.

I’m a bit claustrophobic. Will I enjoy the tours?

• The Adventure Trip has it’s moments of tight squeezes and requires an adventurous spirit.
• Our guides test everyone beforehand to make sure you can fit so there will not be any “getting stuck” in the cave passageways.
• Your adventure guide should be told if you are nervous or if you get uncomfortable during your trip.
*Helpful Hint: With a big group of friends along with you, the Adventure Trip won’t seem that scary, but more of a great adventure, something to conquer – not to fear.

How do I make reservations for an Adventure Trip?

• You may make reservations here on our website or if you prefer, you can call us to help plan your adventure – 931-668-4396.
*If you prefer to fax or mail your form via snail mail, please send reservation form with full payment.
• We accept American Express, Discover, Visa, Mastercard, check or cash.
• All reservations should be made and paid for 10 days prior to the trip date.
• You will receive an Adventure Trip Confirmation Notice
• Reservations are not complete until you receive your confirmation from our office.
• If your group has a Tennessee Certificate of Tax Exemption, please mail or fax a copy (931-668-5382) while making your reservation to receive your admission taxfree.

What if my group drops out or I need to reschedule our reservation?

Our standard policy is that there are no refunds on adventure trip reservations. However you can reschedule the trip.
• In order to reschedule please notify the office at least 7 days prior to the date of your trip.
• If your group cannot notify us at least 7 days prior to the date of the trip, we will work with you to find a way to make your trip work for you at some future date.
• If you need to put your trip on hold for any reason, we will hold your reservation for up to two years.
• You may reschedule your trip for your entire group up to 2 times within 2 years of the date of your original reservation.
• As always, in the event of inclement weather, groups will be allowed to reschedule.

What will happen on the day of our Adventure Trip?

• Your group will arrive at Cumberland Caverns and assemble outside our gift shop.
*Helpful Hint: Don’t forget to eat before arrival, you’ll need the energy.
• Your leader will check-in, confirm the number in your group, and receive final instructions.
• Overnight spelunkers will begin by bringing their gear to the underground campsite.
• Before beginning the Adventure Trip, you will be suited up with an official caving helmet. (You will come to love your helmet after bumping your head several times.)
• Your Adventure Trip Guide will give the group instruction on safe caving, and then you’re off to explore and discover a true “spelunk-tacular” adventure.

What time will we need to check-in?

• Daytime Adventure Trips will be given a check-in time, this will be shown on your confirmation notice.
• Evening and overnight Adventure trips check in at 5:30 pm Saturday through Thursday.
• Friday Adventure trips check-in at 6:30 pm.
• Helpful Hint: It never hurts to arrive a bit early. There are always last minute details to take care of.

As the Group Leader, what will I need at check-in?

• One signed Release Form (download here) for each adult and each child at your specified check-in time.
• Any person under 18 years of age participating in the Adventure Trip must have a Release Form signed by parent or guardian.
• Helpful Hint: Releases are provided for your group on our website, or call and ask for a copy to be sent with confirmation notice.
• You will need to make an accurate count of children and adults that will be participating on trip. (Make sure you leave with the same number you came with!)

How long will we stay in the Cave?

Each of our Adventure Trips will take different times:

  • Adventure Trip #1, Rocky Topper: Will generally last 2 ½ to 3 hours.
    Adding the Daily Scenic Walking tour to Rocky Topper will give you 4 to 4 ½ hour in the cave.
  • Adventure Trip #2, Higgenbotham’s Revenge: Will generally last 3 ½ to 4 hours.
    Adding the Daily Scenic Walking tour to Higgenbotham’s Revenge will give you 5 to 5 ½ hour in and around the cave.
  • Adventure Trip #3, What Waits Below: Our overnight adventure will keep you underground 14-15 hours.
    Our overnight adventure trips always include the Daily Scenic Walking tour.
    Breakfast is served at 7:30 am for those on the overnight adventure.
    Overnight groups generally leave the cave the next morning between 8:00-8:30 am.

I might be late, what do I need to do?

• If you see you will be late, please call the office immediately at 931-668-4396.
• If you need to reschedule, please let us know as soon as possible.
• If your group cannot notify us at least 7 days prior to the date of the trip, we will work with you to find a way to make your trip work for you at some future date.
• If you need to put your trip on hold for any reason, we will hold your reservation for up to two years.
• You may reschedule your trip for your entire group up to 2 times within 2 years of the date of your original reservation.
• We do reserve the right to cancel trips for late arrivals!

What do I need to bring on an Adventure Tour?

• A backpack or duffel bag packed with all of your gear.
*Helpful Hint: You will carry your gear ½ mile from the parking area to the cave, so pack light.
• A sturdy flashlight with extra batteries.
• A small pack to carry a water bottle and extra batteries.
• Change of clothes, socks, shoes, and a jacket.
• Helpful Hint: If you are staying overnight, bring warmer clothes to sleep in
• Plastic bag for dirty clothes. You will get wet and muddy!
• Sleeping bag, ground cloth (tarp, plastic) if spending the night.
*Helpful Hint: We do have electricity in the cave, so if you want to bring an air mattress & pump for “roughing-it” that will work just fine.

What do I need to wear on an Adventure Tour?

• Jeans or pants are best (Remember, you will be getting dirty, so not your best pair)
• Shorts should not be worn because you will be crawling on your hands and knees.
• Hiking boots are best, good lace-up sneakers will also work (Bubblegum Alley is a great place to lose shoes!)
• Layer a long sleeve shirt with a T-shirt (or just a t-shirt is fine for spelunking at Cumberland Caverns)
• Helmet, if you don’t have one, we’ll loan you one for free (you will grow to love your helmet during spelunking)

Can you accommodate my special needs during the overnight?

We will do our best to help you and your group have a fun and safe experience while spelunking at Cumberland Caverns. If you have special needs, please call us (931-668-4396) and let us find a way to help you.
Some of the most frequent needs addressed are:
• Sleep Apnea: we do have electrical outlets at the campsite.
• Medicines: If there are medicines that need to be stored or taken during the Adventure Trip, please ask your group leader inform us at check-in.
• Dietary Restrictions: If you have specific dietary needs during your stay, please let us know. You may bring specific food items on your trip, or it may be something that we regularly stock.

Are there things we cannot bring?

Yes, to protect the cave and abide by the laws of the state of Tennessee, a few items are not allowed in the cave. The following is a list of items that are not allowed during Cumberland Caverns Adventure Trips.
• Chewing gum
• Alcohol or drugs
• Food or drinks
• Helpful Hint: If you medically must have certain foods, please call our office for details.
• Pets, radios, video games, laser pointers, or musical instruments
• Weapons or fireworks
• Cigarettes, cigars or chewing tobacco. Cumberland Caverns is a tobacco-free environment

The Spelunker’s Rules of Threes Always cave in groups of at least three people.

• Always tell three people where you’re going and when you’ll be out of the cave.
• Always have three light sources
• Use three points of contact on climbs