Raccoon Mountain Caverns

Raccoon Mountains Caverns guide visitors through one of the best caving experiences in the US. They offer different levels of caving to cater to all levels of visitors, and they operate year-round. They supply visitors with headlamps--and for those who choose to get dirty--knee protection.

Raccoon Mountain Caverns is Tennessee’s highest rated cave and is located just outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee. We invite you to tour our vast cave system, pan for gemstones, enjoy the thrill of a go-kart ride, or relax by a camp fire while taking in the spectacular views of both Lookout Mountain and Raccoon Mountain.

We are especially proud of our vast cave system that is nationally recognized and is known for its incredible array of diverse, 100% natural cave formations. It is, quite simply, one of the most beautiful caves that you will ever see and is rated as one of the top ten caves in this country. The cave is open daily, rain or shine, except for Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day.

Our cave system consists of over 5 1/2 miles of explored and mapped passageways with new discoveries still being made. Visitors can choose from either a 45-minute, come-as-you-are walking tour known as the Crystal Palace Tour or from one of our famous wild cave expeditions. The cave is open every day, rain or shine, except Thanksgiving and Christmas, and is naturally maintained at a comfortable sixty degrees by Mother Nature.

Raccoon Mountain is just seven minutes from historical downtown Chattanooga, the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, the Tennessee Aquarium, and less than five minutes away from Lookout Mountain. Be sure to stop by and visit with us while in the Chattanooga area as we are just 1.3 miles off of I-24 at Exit #174 (Lookout Valley). There is always plenty of free parking.

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Location

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Nearby
Latitude: 35.020855 Longitude: -85.408096 Elevation: 812 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Robert Perlaky

Areas of Service and Expertise

caving/spelunking walking tours and guided trips

gem panning

campground/cabins

go-karts

birthdays

Types of Experiences and Trips Provided

Wild Cave Expeditions are guided tours through the vast undeveloped portions of our cave where there are no designated trails, handrails, or electric lights. Participants on these tours are required to wear helmets, lights, pads, and gloves -- all of which are provided for your use. Participants must be at least six years old in order to go on any of our expeditions. 

Raccoon Mountain Caverns is proud to be the home of the South’s finest wild caving expeditions which are regarded as the most challenging and exciting tour in this part of the country. Our highly trained cavers will guide you through the vast underground network of chambers, canyons, tunnels, small streams, and large waterfalls that lie beneath Raccoon Mountain. Our expeditions are both highly educational and absolutely unforgettable! 

Advance reservations are required for these tours. Please call us at (800) 823-2267 or (423) 821-9403 for short notice tour availability. Below is a description of the various expeditions that we offer:

Eco-Tour Classic: Approximate Tour Time = ~ 1.0 - 1.5 hours

This expedition is the least strenuous of our wild cave offerings and focuses upon exploring areas of the wild cave for some of the unique life which resides within our cave.

  • Rates: Included is the use of all needed equipment: lights, helmets, pads, and gloves, along with complimentary access to our bathhouse with private showers and toilets. Group Size: 2-3 people are $28.00 per person / 4-9 people are $25.00 per person / Groups of 10+ people are $22.00 per person. We also offer an educational rate for qualified school, scout, and youth groups. Please call for more information.

 

Eco-Tour Expanded: Approximate Tour Time = ~ 3.0 hours

This expedition picks up where the Classic Eco-Tour leaves off and provides additional time to explore the inner areas of our vast cave system.

  • Rates: Included is the use of all needed equipment: lights, helmets, pads, and gloves, along with complimentary access to our bathhouse with private showers and toilets. Group Size: 2-3 people are $41.00 per person / 4-9 people are $36.00 per person / Groups of 10+ people are $33.00 per person. We also offer an educational rate for qualified school, scout, and youth groups. Please call for more information.

 

Fossil Crawl Expedition: Approximate Tour Time = ~ 2 hours

This is an exceptional introductory expedition for those who are interested in exploring the sport of caving. You will do some walking, some stoop walking, some crawling (nothing really too small or too tight), and see some beautiful fossils contained with the rock walls of the cave.

  • Rates: Included is the use of all needed equipment: lights, helmets, pads, and gloves, along with complimentary access to our bathhouse with private showers and toilets. Group Size: 2-3 people are $35.00 per person / 4-9 people are $30.00 per person / Groups of 10+ people are $27.00 per person. We also offer an educational rate for qualified school, scout, and youth groups. Please call for more information.

 

Echo Room Expedition: Approximate Tour Time = ~ 4 hours

This is our most popular expedition (and is included as part of our Standard Overnight Expedition) and includes some belly crawls (none of which are too long), a visit to sandpaper slide (most memorable), passing through the famous 49-cent squeeze, plus everything on the Fossil Crawl Expedition.

  • Rates: Included is the use of all needed equipment: lights, helmets, pads, and gloves, along with complimentary access to our bathhouse with private showers and toilets. Group Size: 2-3 people are $43.00 per person / 4-9 people are $40.00 per person / Groups of 10+ people are $37.00 per person. We also offer an educational rate for qualified school, scout, and youth groups. Please call for more information.

 

Waterfall Dome Expedition: Approximate Tour Time = ~ 4.5 hours

This tour includes everything on the Echo Room Expedition plus it includes an additional loop which goes to our towering 75’ tall underground waterfall. The water flow is 100% natural and unassisted. It relies upon rain water seeping into the ground for its flow. Consequently, at times it is a thundering waterfall while at other times the flow can be barely a trickle. These expeditions are limited to groups not to exceed ten people.

  • Rates: Included is the use of all needed equipment: lights, helmets, pads, and gloves, along with complimentary access to our bathhouse with private showers and toilets. Group Size: 2-3 people are $49.00 per person / 4-9 people are $45.00 per person / Groups of 10+ people: Sorry, but this tour is not available for larger groups. We also offer an educational rate for qualified school, scout, and youth groups. Please call for more information.

 

Gypsum Flower Expedition: Approximate Tour Time = ~6 hours

This is one of our most challenging expeditions and includes everything on the Echo Room Expedition plus a log walk through a stream passage to an area with beautiful “gypsum flowers” and the tour concludes with a 180-foot belly crawl. Previous caving experience is required for this tour.

  • Rates: Included is the use of all needed equipment: lights, helmets, pads, and gloves, along with complimentary access to our bathhouse with private showers and toilets. Group Size: 2-3 people are $55.00 per person / 4-9 people are $50.00 per person / Groups of 10+ people are $47.00 per person. We also offer an educational rate for qualified school, scout, and youth groups. Please call for more information.

 

Standard Overnight Expedition:

This includes the Echo Room Expedition followed by spending the night in the cave where it is always a comfortable 60 degrees -- even on the coldest winter night or hottest summer day. This is a perfect “indoor” activity that is ideal for students, scouts, and youth groups. Complimentary donuts, cereal, toast, coffee, hot chocolate, and orange juice are served in the morning following the tour. You will need to bring an extra set of clothes for the morning after. This expedition can be expanded , as an option, to include the Gypsum Flower Expedition.

Because your safety is important to us, we believe that it is important to note that your guide will be within hearing distance of your group in the sleeping area just in case anyone is in need of assistance. 

  • Rates: Included is the use of all needed equipment: lights, helmets, pads, and gloves, along with complimentary access to our bathhouse with private showers and toilets. Group Size: 2-3 people are $58.00 per person / 4-9 people are $54.00 per person / Groups of 10+ people are $51.00 per person. We also offer an educational rate for qualified school, scout, and youth groups. Please call for more information.

 

End-of-Cave Expedition: Approximate Tour Time = ~ 6-8 hours

This expedition is as tough as it can get and is designed especially for those individuals who have previously completed the Gypsum Flower (6 hour) Expedition and want to see still more of the cave system. Your group will travel to one of the furthest points of exploration of the cave. This is our most challenging and rigorous tours.

  • Rates: Included is the use of all needed equipment: lights, helmets, pads, and gloves, along with complimentary access to our bathhouse with private showers and toilets. Group Size: 2-3 people are $104 per person / 4-9 people are $95 per person / Groups of 10+ people are $90 per person. We also offer an educational rate for qualified school, scout, and youth groups. Please call for more information.

 

A note about pricing: We require that a group have at least four people in order to have a private tour. If a tour is booked with fewer than four people, it is with the understanding that we can add other interested people onto that tour. Tour prices are based upon the total number of people in a touring group. It is therefore possible that the rate quoted to you could actually be higher than the final price charged. For example, the 2-3 people rate for the Fossil Crawl Expedition is $35 per person. If four people end up going on the expedition, the rate drops to the 4-9 person rate of $30 per person and applies to all people on the tour. Please note that the rates listed above do not include Tennessee sales tax. Tax exempt organizations must bring and present a copy of their Tennessee Tax Certificate or a Federal 501(c)3.

Please contact us at either 423-821-9403 or 800-823-2267 to inquire about specific tour availability or if you have any additional questions. Thank you, and we look forward to going caving with you.

Eco-Friendly Notes

White Nose Syndrome News Update: White Nose Syndrome (WNS) is a fungus that covers the faces and wings of bats as they hibernate and has been observed as far south as the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee and as far west as Oklahoma. While no afflicted bats have been found in the Chattanooga area, Raccoon Mountain Caverns is working hard to prevent the spread of WNS. Fortunately, it has not been observed within our pristine cave system. Please click here to visit our exclusive wild cave site for more information. Since December, we have been donating a portion of the proceeds of our souvenir Penny Press machine to Bat Conservation International to help fund needed research to stop the spread of WNS. Raccoon Mountain Caverns is committed to protecting our beautiful cave, its delicate eco-system, and the life within the cave. (updated May 18, 2011)

ADA Accessibility Notes

As a natural attraction, the cave is not handicap accessible. However, as a courtesy to our wheelchair-bound guests, we will take them the first thirty (+/-) feet into the cave at no charge. We will briefly explain the history of the cave, point out various formations and explain how they form, and discuss how  caves  form.

Pet Friendly Notes

The campground is "pet friendly" but does not accept Dobermans, pit bulls, rotts, or aggressive dogs. In accordance with state law, pets must be leashed at all times, must wear a rabies ID tag that is valid in their home state, cannot be left unattended, and the owner must clean up pet waste immediately.

Pets cannot be brought into the cave due to possible interaction with native wildlife within the cave.

Pets are not permitted inside any of the cabins and cannot be left outside the cabins in pet taxi's due to the state laws against unattended pets).

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