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Spelunk Worley's Cave

Bluff City, Tennessee

5.0/5
based on 1 reviews

Details

Distance

3.5 miles

Elevation Gain

100 ft

Route Type

Loop

Description

Added by Sam Dennis

Spelunk a cave that is over 550 million years old and the lengthiest known cave in Eastern Tennessee.

Worley’s Cave, also known as Morrill Cave, lies just outside of Boone across the Tennessee border. It is the second longest cave in the state of Tennessee at a whopping 4.4 miles in total length. It is a non-lit cavern that’s path is lit only by those who venture in its depths (i.e. headlamps, lanterns, flashlights, etc.). With no artificial light to be had, Worley’s Cave allows for an authentic spelunking experience unlike some of your more popular “spelunking” excursions across the Appalachian Mountains. A solid choice for those adventurers who never want to cancel their weekend plans due to good old Mother Nature's misfortunes.

Address via GPS: 461 Timber Ridge Rd, Bluff City, TN 37618

The above address is to the landowner’s home, a white single story house (see attached Google Maps image), that owns the rights to the cave. He is a very friendly fellow that only charges $5 per head as an entry fee into the cave. You will need to fill out a sign-in sheet for a total head count for safety reasons before starting your spelunking adventure. The cave is located directly behind the landowner’s home, accessed via a dirt road just past the house. Park your car and head downhill on the marked path for a few hundred feet to the cave’s mouths. The cave may be accessed via two different entry/exit points, an Upper Dry Mouth or the Lower Wet Mouth, both of which are located directly beside one another. Typically, as in every time I have gone, our group enters the cave via the Upper Dry Mouth and exits via the Lower Wet Mouth.

Hint: The “Wet Mouth” is a streamed path that flows directly beside the “Dry Mouth” for the majority of the time in the cave and is your ticket straight back towards daylight, when you so choose.

Upon entering the Upper Dry Mouth, you will notice that the cave stays at a relative constant temperature, around 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cave is fairly easy to navigate from a directional standpoint. Head straight and when you want to venture back, you can either take the same route from which you came or venture down the slow flowing stream to the Lower Wet Mouth for a hastier exit. Personally, I would always suggest taking the Lower Wet Mouth exit for a safer transition out of the cave due to the stream's relatively flat surface. The journey into the cave can be somewhat physically demanding with some steep and slippery embankments along the way.  A word of warning, all adventurers should be able to lift their own body weight up, and for those who cannot, it is a good idea to pack some rope and some trusty friends that can provide some help up said embankments with the rope. Remember, things that go up must come down… with that said, you will get plenty of experience cave sliding, so pack and dress appropriately! 

Make sure to carry plenty of batteries and multiple independent light sources in the case of a malfunction!

Go with a group, never attempt to do this adventure on your own.

Cave Details:

  • Less than half a mile in, the upper and lower levels junction into a 75’ wide, 100’ high, and 250’ long chamber. 
  • The first chamber contains two large stalagmites and multiple other smaller formations, along with a compilation of rim stone pools.
  • The lower level cave stream flows through the first chamber, disappearing underneath the rock at the relative northeast end.
  • Just past the climb from the first large chamber, is another chamber that inhabits a massive flow-stone drapery that is 35’ wide by 15’high. 
  • Worley’s cave averages a path size around 25’ wide by 15’ high.

Have fun, leave no trace, and be safe!

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Reviews

This is one of the best caves in the Tri-Cities for spelunking. It is much more untouched than Appalachian or Bristol Caverns. The cave has so much room to explore and traverse. There is a pretty well traveled trail through the cave, but it should not be relied upon as the only guidance. Going with someone who knows their way around would be advised for the first few adventures. There is a creek that runs through the cave so sections can get really muddy when it has rained. There is a porta-potty at the parking area and an admission fee charged.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Nearby

Kayak or SUP the South Fork

Lake Ridge Trail and Lakeside Trail

Lake Ridge Trail to Cross Ridge Trail Loop

Bouton Loop Trail

Emmet Trail

Tailwater Trail