July is H-O-T in the cities surrounding the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, especially on the TN side of the mountain range. And the best thing anyone visiting or living here can do, is find a refuge from the heat, and still enjoy that which nature has given to us; a bountiful landscape of beauty and nature! I’m convinced this is why water parks like Dollywood’s Splash Country and hotel pools are basically required in this neck of the woods! But other than floating in a lazy river with kids screaming & splashing, or wandering through acres of people just to get doused or ride a slide, what is one to do to stay cool, calm & collected this summer? The answer is simple, oh so simple. Go UNDERGROUND!
Tuckaleechee Caverns is probably Townsend’s largest attraction and a really fantastic place to spend a hot summer afternoon! If your headed to Cade’s Cove for an early evening tour during your trip, which I highly recommend you do, you might first start out at Tuckaleechee for about a 2 hour jaunt into the cool below ground temperatures. The prices are reasonable albeit possibly a little high, but I like to remember that our money’s help this national treasure in fine working order and once you’ve had the tour, you’ll see too, it’s worth it. You can’t help but feel a little more in touch with the mountains on the horizon once you’ve seen what they look like underneath!
The tours include visiting several chambers including an underground stream with pristine clear water, seeing a fully underground waterfall and a brief moment of pitch black. In this moment you turn out the flashlights and hold very still, just to experience the utter lack of light and sensory deprivation if only for a few seconds. Your visit may include a peek at many of the caves natural occupants including bats, and aren’t we all thankful for bats this year who gladly eat their weight in mosquitoes & other unfriendly bugs each night!
The underground temperatures at Tuckaleechee hover just under 60°F! So if you want to enjoy the great outdoors and still stay as cool as a cucumber, the caverns are a great way to spend a couple of hours. Appreciating the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains is of course the best reason to visit this area, and you can do it in July without breaking a sweat.