Last Saturday my friend and Troop Scoutmaster, Sid Adams and I, traveled to the Nolichucky River Gorge area of east Tennessee to scout an upcoming fall camping trip. The destination was Worley’s Cave in Bluff City, just south of Bristol in the Appalachian Mountains. Located on private property, the cave area and entrance are not well marked. The intent is for visitors to access the cave only through guided tours.
There are two entrances to the cave, both sit at the base of a 120 foot (36.5 m) cliff. The dry mouth entrance sits just about 25 ft (7.6 m) above the far right bottom of the cliff. This is the main entrance, a sign notes the cave is 4.4 miles (7 km) long! With a keen eye for snakes and bats, I took my camera and tripod in and shot the dry mouth images with my Nikkor 28mm – 300mm lens.
We then carefully made a way down to the bottom of the cliff where a stream exits the lower cave underneath a wall of rock. To the right was a large opening – the wet entrance. Fog exited the entrance as the moist 55 degree (13 c) interior air collided with the hot exterior air. Walking into the wet entrance was like walking in to a refrigerator! It was a quite refreshing . The wet mouth images were shot with my Tamron 15mm – 30mm lens. In the lower right-hand corner, you can barely make out the interior stream exiting the cave.
Sid and I booked a guided tour for our Troop with USA Raft outfitters in Erwin, TN, for this September. The cave was featured a while back in Boy’s Life magazine. We know our Scouts will be excited about their forthcoming adventure. For the best viewing experience, click on the monochrome images to view a high resolution version from my portfolio site.