Day Trip from the Smokies: The Lost Sea
Not far from the Smoky Mountains is a wondrous place found deep underground that's filled with unusual and fun sights to explore. Sweetwater, TN (about 90 minutes from Pigeon Forge) is home to the Lost Sea, America's largest underground lake according to Guinness Book of World Records. Located 140 feet below ground, the lake, surrounding caves and a quaint village on site, make for a perfect daytrip the entire family will love.
Adventures on the Lost Sea
Upon arrival you'll be guided through the caverns, a 3/4-mile, roundtrip walk. Learn the fascinating history of the lake and geological makeup of the caverns as experts narrate your tour. Then board a glass-bottom boat and set sail across the Lost Sea.
The lake itself covers more than four acres and is a Registered National Natural Landmark. During your hour and fifteen minute excursion, you'll have plenty of opportunities to take photographs of the many geological phenomenon including "cave flowers."
Track an ancient jaguar through the caverns and view casts of his gigantic paws. Enter the Council Room where the Cherokee Indians held meetings over a century ago and see the historic artifacts uncovered in the caves.
The Craighead Caverns have a vast history. Previously they have been used to store potatoes and vegetables for the first white settlers in its constant 58-degree caves and to provide Confederate soldiers with saltpeter for gunpowder during the Civil War.
Old Sweetwater Village
In addition to the Lost Sea, Sweetwater is home to Old Sweetwater Village. This complex of authentic log cabins offers shopping, refreshments and relaxation to visitors of Craighead Caverns.
Enjoy good ole country cookin' at the local restaurant. Mine for gems on site. Grab a sweet treat in the sweets shop. Watch artisans display their talents with glassblowing and blacksmithing. Or shop in the general store for special goodies to take home.
Group Discounts and Special Tours
Group discounts are available as are special tours which are specifically designed for schools, Scouts, churches and other organized groups.
Wild Tour Adventure
The Wild Tour Adventure takes your group behind the scenes of the Lost Sea. As you tour the undeveloped cave rooms, you'll crawl through cracks and crevices that those taking the public tour will never see. Prepare to get dirty as you explore the way true miners would have done many years ago.
Perfect as a field trip for history and/or geology classes, this tour is for groups of 20 or more and comes complete with teacher packets to help prepare students for their adventure.
As an addition to the Educational Tour, the Flashlight Tour allows your group to tour one undeveloped room of the caverns. Excellent for smaller kids or for excursions where you everyone needs to remain clean.
The Lost Sea is open every day of the year (except for Christmas day) from 9:00am until at least 5:00pm. Extended hours are available during spring and summer months. Rates vary depending on whether you need individual or group admissions.
What a unique and wonderful way to extend your Smoky Mountains vacation. A daytrip to the Lost Sea gives you yet another Tennessee adventure to put in your scrapbook. Make plans to enjoy this one-of-a-kind sight while you're in the area.
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