Enjoy an Unusual History Lesson when You Tour the Caves of the
Great Smoky Mountains
By Jim Watson © 2012, All Rights Reserved

When you think of the Smokies, you probably picture snow-capped
peaks or miles of hiking trails through the wilderness. But the
gorgeous scenery of the mountains hides an historic treasure your
family will love. Beneath the trees and streams lies a network of
caverns just waiting to be explored.

Over many thousands of years, the water from underground streams
and rivers slowly carved a vast network of caverns in the
limestone of these mountains. From magnificent cathedral-like
rooms with soaring ceilings to tiny tunnels barely large enough
to explore, the caves of the Great Smoky Mountains are a favorite
destination for those with a taste for history and a desire for
the unusual.

Tennessee is home to more than 8,000 caves – the most of any
state – but you don’t have to be a spelunker to enjoy their
beauty. You and your family can take a guided tour along
well-tended pathways and learn about the rich history of the
caverns while experiencing the incredible beauty only millennia
of work can produce.

Ancient History Comes Alive

Long before the European settlers began arriving in the area that
surrounds what would become Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN,
Native Americans lived, worked, and played inside the caves
beneath the mountains. Fresh water was plentiful, flint and other
necessary rock was readily available for tool making, and the
caves themselves formed a natural, climate-controlled shelter.

When you visit the caves today, you can still see evidence of the
ancient people who once called them home, and hear stories and
legends about them. One such tragic tale tells of the Indian
princess who was lost forever in a “hollow mountain of two
streams” – the cave that would become the Forbidden Caverns.

Sculpted by Nature

Today, thousands of visitors each year marvel at the incredible
beauty of the caves. Stalactites hang from the ceiling like
glistening icicles, continuing to grow with each drop of water
that falls. Stunning formations resembling totem poles, corn
cobs, curtains, and more await you around every turn of the path,
and carefully placed colored lights highlight the most
spectacular of nature’s creations.

Entering a cave is like stepping into a different world, where
every turn of your head reveals some new and magnificent
sculpture. Beyond the gorgeous rock formations, you’ll also find
a variety of wildlife virtually unknown above ground. The
underground streams that flow from room to room are home to some
of the most unusual creatures you’ll ever see, like eyeless fish
and the Tennessee Cave Salamander – the official state amphibian.
In total, there are some 1,000 species of plants and animals that
live exclusively in caves, and you’ll find many of them
inhabiting the caverns below the Great Smoky Mountains.

If you think you’ve seen everything Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge,
TN have to offer, one peek inside these stunning underground
caverns will change your mind. From the rich history to the
spectacular scenery to the incredible diversity of the creatures
that call the caves home, an afternoon spent exploring these
caverns is a delight for every member of your family, young or

Jim Watson is Owner of Timbercreek Cabins offering lodging near
Pigeon Forge. Cabin rentals are now available. Visit
http://www.timbercreekcabins.com today for a complete listing of
cabin rentals.