Caving Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
General Information & Tips
Do you have questions about your trip to Cumberland Caverns? Find your answers below. Have a question not answered here? Please call us at 931-668-4396, or e-mail us at info@CumberlandCaverns.com.
- The cave is 56 degrees year round.
- “Daily Walking Tours” leave out every hour on the hour 9am-5pm CST.
- Open Year Round (*Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day – 1:00 pm on Easter Sunday).
- We are not handicap accessible.
- Good walking shoes are required.
- We do have restrooms inside the cave.
- “Daytime Caving Tours” and “Overnight Caving Tours” require a reservation (10-day advance notice).
- 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 9am-5pm.
*”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 Overnight Caving Tours.
- Helpful Hint: Overnight Caving 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 300 person maximum capacity for overnight adventure trips.
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 advance notice for additions without a late fee.
I’m a bit claustrophobic. Will I enjoy the tours?
- The “Daily Walking Tour” is through large passages inside the cave and is done upright, walking the entire way. There are no narrow passages, or crawling involved.
- The Caving Tours have moments of tight squeezes, and do require an adventurous spirit.
Our guides test everyone beforehand to make sure you can fit so there will not be anyone 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 Caving Tours won’t seem that scary, but more of a great adventure, something to conquer – not to fear!
How do I make reservations for a Caving Tour?
- 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 Caving Tour Date.
- After selecting and purchasing your Cumberland Caverns Tour – you will receive a confirmation notice.
- Reservations are not complete until you receive a 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.
What if my group drops out, or I need to reschedule our reservation?
- Our standard policy is that there are no refunds on Caving Tour reservations. However, you can reschedule your Caving Tour.
- In order to reschedule please notify the office at least 7 days prior to the date of your trip.
- If you need to put your trip on hold for any reason, we will hold your reservation for up to 2 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 Caving Tour?
- 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 cavers will begin by bringing their gear to the underground campsite.
- Before beginning the Caving Tour, you will be suited up with an official caving helmet. (You will love your helmet after bumping your head!)
- Your Caving Tour guide will give the group instructions on safe caving, and then you’re off to explore and discover the cavern.
What time will we need to check-in?
- Daytime Caving Tours will be given a check-in time, this will be shown on your confirmation notice.
- Overnight Caving Tours check in at 5:30 pm Saturday and Sunday.
- Monday – Friday Overnight Caving Tours check-in at 6:30 pm.
- Helpful Hint: It never hurts to arrive a bit early. There are always last-minute details you can 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. Please separate these into two groups: Adult / Child.
- Any person under 18 years of age participating in the Caving Tour must have a Release Form signed by a parent or guardian.
- Helpful Hint: Releases are sent with your confirmation packet after purchase, and also provided for your group on our website. Please make sure to forward everyone in your group the overnight packet email so there are no surprises on what to expect on your adventure.
- 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 Cave Tours will take different times:
- “Daily Walking Tours”: Will generally last between 1½ to 2 hours.
- “Rocky Topper” Daytime Caving Tour: Will generally last 2 ½ to 3 hours.
Adding the “Daily Walking Tour” to “Rocky Topper” will give you 4 to 4 ½ hour in the cave.
- “Higgenbotham’s Revenge” Daytime Caving Tour: Will generally last 3 ½ to 4 hours.
Adding the “Daily Walking Tour” to “Higgenbotham’s Revenge” will give you 5 to 5 ½ hour in and around the cave.
- “What Waits Below” Overnight Caving Tour: Our overnight adventure will keep you underground 14-15 hours.
Our overnight adventure trips always include an adventure tour, “Daily Walking Tour”, camping inside the cave, and breakfast the next morning.
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.
- “All Around the Mountain” – Overnight Caving Tour: Our overnight adventure will keep you underground 14-15 hours.
Our overnight adventure trips always include an Adventure Tour, Daily Scenic Walking tour, camping inside the cave, and breakfast the next morning.
- 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. You will then head over the mountain, and do another adventure tour “Higgenbotham’s Revenge”, before heading home.
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 Overnight Caving 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: You are staying inside the cave overnight, bring warmer clothes to sleep in.
- Plastic bag for dirty clothes. You will get wet and muddy!
- Sleeping bag, ground cloth (tarp, plastic), or mat.
- Helpful Hint: We do have electricity in the cave, so if you want to bring an air mattress and pump for “roughing-it” that will work just fine. Please tell the reservation manager upon booking if you require a plugin for a CPAP machine, and we will make sure you are accommodated.
What do I need to wear on a Caving 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).
- Helmet, if you don’t have one, we’ll loan you one for free (You will love your helmet during spelunking!).
- Helpful Hint: Gloves, knee pads, and elbow pads are recommended – but not required.
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 (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 for CPAP machines.
- Medicines: If there are medicines that need to be stored or taken during the adventure trip, please ask your group leader to inform us at check-in.
- Dietary Restrictions: If you have specific dietary needs during your stay, please let us know when making your reservation. 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 caverns 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 at Cumberland Caverns:
- Chewing gum.
- Alcohol, or drugs.
- Food, or drinks.
- Helpful Hint: If you medically must have certain foods, please call (931-668-4396) for details.
- Pets, radios, video games, laser pointers, or musical instruments.
- Weapons, or fireworks.
- Cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, electronic cigarettes, or vaping equipment.
- Cumberland Caverns is a tobacco-free environment!
The Spelunker’s Rule of Threes – Always cave in groups of at least 3 people.
- Always tell 3 people where you’re going, and when you’ll be out of the cave.
- Always have 3 light sources with extra batteries.
- When climbing inside the cavern, always use 3 points of contact for your climb.