Ever since the venerable "Honest" Ted Jenkins first perfected the method in 1894, walking has become widely recognized as an effective remedy for ailments such as toothaches, headaches, hair loss, and head loss. Today's deal will give you a chance to reap a few of these health benefits: for $9, you get to gallivant through Cumberland Caverns with a 90-minute scenic walking tour (an $18 value). Tours depart for the caverns every hour on the hour from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Proving Tom Waits's controversial theory that there's a world going on underground, your journey through Cumberland Caverns will be filled with shimmering pools, fantasy book-cover rock formations, a breath-taking waterfall, and a historic saltpeter mine. Informative guides will eagerly inform you that the saltpeter extracted from said mine was used as an ingredient in Civil War gunpowder as well as the Civil War's most popular food, gunchowder. You'll also have an opportunity to "ooh" and "ahh" along to “God of the Mountain,” a dazzling underground pageant of light and sound that tells the story of the mountain's creation. Cumberland Caverns also has an underground ballroom featuring a beautiful 3/4-ton crystal chandelier that may or may not channel moonlight through a hole in the mountain's tip on the equinox.
Since its discovery in 1810, the mystery of Cumberland Caverns has continued to unfold—with new rooms and passages being discovered every few decades by curious cave explorers looking for unreleased Little Orphan Annie comic strips. Today, more than 32 miles of caves are known, earning the title of "Tennessee's largest show cave" and a U.S. National Natural Landmark.
A tour of Cumberland Caverns provides a great opportunity to relive America's natural majesty and fascinating history firsthand without having to go near the dangerous weaponry exhibits of typical history museums. After 90 minutes in the underworld, your entire family or LARPing troupe will agree that today's deal was more than worth the drive out to McMinnville.
- If you and your family are adventurers, try visiting Cumberland Caverns…everyone is sure to have a good time. – Kimberly C., Insider Pages
- …the artistic way in which they have the cave lighted up is beautiful. – Pioneer49, TripAdvisor
- The guides were VERY friendly and knowledgeable. – dsbwilliams, TripAdvisor
When surveyor Aaron Higgenbotham discovered Cumberland Caverns in 1810, he couldn't see its majestic pillars of dripping rock, its flowstone curtains, or its subterranean waterfalls. Stuck on a small ledge in the dark, Higgenbotham was as blind to the cave system's features—one of them a 2,000-foot-long cavern hall—as the eyeless crayfish that live there. His initial discovery nevertheless paved the way for nearly 200 years of speleological findings. Today, guides preserve this 32-mile National Landmark cavern by leading daily tours through its passages.
During tours, guides point out artifacts left by pre Civil War–era saltpeter mines, tunnels filled with rare gypsum deposits, and mysterious inscriptions reading "Shelah Waters - 1869" and "Millard Fillmore + Stacy." They lead guests among stalagmites and stalactites to a sound-and-light show that dramatically retells Bible stories, or into a domed hall that houses a hand-cut crystal chandelier rescued from a historic Brooklyn theater. It's in this last space that staffers organize banquets, weddings, and monthly live bluegrass concerts, or hold burial services for broken fax machines. They also lead visitors through the tight passageways of lesser-seen cavern segments during daytime or overnight spelunking trips.