Tuckaleechee Caverns

We spent our last morning of our trip to the mountains at Tuckaleechee Caverns.

Tuckaleechee Caverns

I have visited other caverns before but these were much larger and felt like authentic caverns.  I almost felt like I should have been required to wear a hardhat and tote a chisel.

Tuckaleechee Caverns

There is no elevator down to these caverns.  You walk down stairs and paths all the way down to 450 feet below ground.  I really have to talk myself out of freaking out when I think about being underneath 450 feet of bedrock.  Things like this never bothered me when I was younger but now I think of every possible thing that could go wrong. #oldladyprobs

Tuckaleechee Caverns
 
These caverns were opened by two brothers who played in them as children.  They decided to open them up as a tourist attraction in the 1950s but no one would loan them the startup capital.  So they went to Alaska to work for several years until they had saved enough money to open the caverns. 

Tuckaleechee Caverns
Our guide was very informative.  Those tall toothpick like structures in the background are actually 25 feet tall.

Uncle of the year, here, carried Miss Priss part of the way after she got a blister on her foot.

This is the beach area.  Some people filled up their water bottles with the spring water to drink.  Not me.  I’ll stick to Coke Zero.

Tuckaleechee Cavern beach

The girls made a wish in the wishing well.  Avery told me later that she wished she “could build something like this someday.”

Tuckaleechee Caverns wishing well

There’s even a waterfall inside the cavern that they’ve never been able to find the water source for.  I love a good mystery!

Tuckaleechee Caverns Waterfall

I like to sneak in some educational activities on our little trips.  The girls had a ball and thought we had gone on a “real adventure!”

Here are a few tips in case you visit…

  • It’s cold 450 feet underground!  I brought jackets for the girls and I and we wore them the entire time.  I’d guess it was about 58-60 degrees.  That’s cold to me.
  • Wear comfortable shoes with a good grip.  All of the stairs are man-made and not necessarily evenly spaced or the same width across.  Our guide was good about telling us where to be careful walking but I certainly wouldn’t recommend wearing heels or shoes that were slippery.  Plus, it’s a lot of walking and you might end up with a blister like McKenna.
  • There were spots where even McKenna had to bend down to get through so this tour.  This would not be a good trip for anyone who has trouble walking, bending or going up or down stairs.
  • Similarly, no strollers are allowed so small children either need to walk or be carried.  Avery is 4 and she had no trouble walking but I held her hand on the stairs.
  • The tour takes about an hour and 15 minutes from start to finish.
  • Taking pictures is tough.  The picture quality is best without a flash but it’s difficult to stand still long enough for the shutter to close.  I used both methods and shot without a flash where I could find somewhere to prop up against.

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