Snail Shell Cave is one of the most biologically significant cave sites in the Southeastern United States. In 1999, the cave was named one of the Top Ten Most Endangered Karst Communities by the Karst Waters Institute following its nomination by The Nature Conservancy of Tennessee. Primary threats to the cave include trespassing and vandalism, logging, and factors related to the encroaching sprawl and development from the nearby city of Murfreesboro.
In 1999 the Southeastern Cave Conservancy Inc. purchased Snail Shell Cave and 88 acres of surrounding karst land and cedar glade near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Snail Shell is the longest continuous cave in the Tennessee Central Basin region, with more than 9 miles of surveyed passages. It is part of a system of caves comprising more than 13 miles of known passages. The main entrance, which is located on the SCCi property, is a huge sink about 100 feet wide and 200 feet long. The sink is a microhabitat containing and extraordinary number of rare and endangered plant and animal species.
Snail Shell Cave Preserve Tennessee
Snail Shell Cave is an important natural resource. It is the intention of SCCi that it be available to responsible and qualified individuals for exploration, recreation, education, and scientific study.
SCCi's  Snail Shell Cave Preserve is being managed according to a comprehensive management plan developed by the Snail Shell Working Group and approved by the SCCi Board at its meeting in Chattanooga. The Working Group, which had more than 30 participants, was comprised of cavers, conservationists, scientists, and land managers experienced in cave and karst management issues. Key support and assistance were provided by The Nature Conservancy and the State of Tennessee.
Snail Shell Cave Preserve Tennessee

Due to a history of abuse of the cave and preserve, and to preserve good relations with our neighbors, the management plan requires advance notification before visiting the cave.
Snail Shell Cave Preserve Tennessee

Preserve Information:
Acreage: 88.0 acres in Rutherford County, Tennessee
Preserve Management Team: Bob Biddix (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Access:
To request a permit, visit http://permits.scci.org
Preserve Maps: Piece of the Cave Poster  | Surface Plot Poster







 





Custard Hollow Cave Sinking Cove Preserve Preserve Tennessee
Custard Hollow Cave

SCCi manages visitor access to the Sinking Cove area (also known as Compartment Four of the Carter Lands) under a lease agreement. The caves included in the lease are Sinking Cove Cave, Cave Cove Cave, and Custard Hollow Cave. The area was closed to visitors  in February, 2001 when it was leased by a new management group. By executing a  sub-lease of caving rights from Deep South Outdoors, SCCi re-opened the area to cavers for access outside of Tennessee deer and turkey seasons. Access to the preserve by SCCi members and guests is limited to the dates and periods determined and announced by SCCi and Deep South Outdoors. During those periods, access for caving and camping is allowed as defined in the Management Plan.

Access: Recreational caving and camping is governed by the Sinking Cove Cave Preserve Management Plan. At least one person in the group must be a current SCCi member. Our lease requires that the individual named on the permit be a current member of SCCi. Large groups (more than 16 people) need to request special permission at least two weeks in advance.


Sinking Cove Cave Sinking Cove Preserve Preserve Tennessee
Deep South Outdoors (DSO), the primary lease holder for the area including Sinking Cove and Custard Hollow,  requires that all permit holders must carry their permit with them while on the property and be prepared to show it when asked by any of the staff or other users. This policy was instituted by the DSO to control unauthorized access, poaching, and vandalism. It was designed for the hunters, but visitors have to abide by it as well.
Property Cleanup: As part of the lease, we are required to contribute to the maintenance and upkeep of the property. This is usually done in May at the beginning of the Summer open season.
SCCi pays a substantial annual fee for this lease. Contributions and donations to help cover the cost of the lease are very much appreciated.
NOTICE: To help prevent the spread of the deadly White Nose Syndrome (WNS) affecting bat populations, please read the SCCi Cave Visitation Policy and follow the guidelines.
Preserve Information:

Acreage: Leased in Franklin County, Tennessee
Preserve Management Team: Buddy Lane (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Access:
To request a permit, visit http://permits.scci.org  Closed during deer and turkey seasons.


 
 

Custard Hollow Cave


 
Rattling Cave Preserve Tennessee Photo courtesy of Bob Biddix
SCCi, in cooperation with the Appalachian Grotto secured access to Rattling Cave with a ten year lease.
Rattling Cave was one of the earliest caves explored in the east Tennessee region by organized cavers. In 1949, William M. Morrison and eight others rigged ropes, ladders and pulleys for the 130-foot descent into the cave.  The cave has a number of attractive formation areas and contains an abundance of cave dwelling fauna including a sizable population of federally-listed endangered gray bats.  Some 18,000 individuals have been observed hibernating in the winter months. The cave was surveyed to a length of more than 2,000 feet by the Smoky Mountain Grotto in the late 1960's, and extended by more than 500 feet by members of the Appalachian Grotto in the late 1990's.
This is one of the deepest and most scenic pits in East Tennessee.  Rattling Cave is located at the edge of the Appalachian Mountains, where very few caves exist in the predominately metamorphic strata.  The impressive 130-foot entrance pit leads to several levels of cave passages and nice formation areas.
Access procedures for the cave still require checking in with the water utility, owners of the cave.  Please follow the access procedures carefully.  Rattling Cave will continue to be managed to allow access in the summer months but will remain closed to visitation from September 15th to April 30th to protect the hibernating bats.
To request a permit to visit the cave, you’ll need to review and agree to the terms outlined in the SCCi Cave Visitation Policy.
Preserve Information:

Acreage: Leased in Cocke County, Tennessee
Preserve Management Team: Curtis Ellison (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Access
To request a permit, visit http://permits.scci.org


About Neversink
Neversink is a beautiful 162 foot open air pit in Jackson County Alabama. The bottom can only be reached using vertical caving skills, knowledge, and equipment to safely descend into its depths by  rappelling a rope and ascending that same rope with specialty equipment to exit the cave. The bottom of  Neversink is approximately 162 feet from the edge. The best way to obtain the skills needed for vertical caving is to join a local caving club or grotto of the National Speleological Society and receive hands-on training from its members.
Important Information Before Visiting Neversink

  • If you do not possess the vertical caving skills or ability needed to visit the bottom, Neversink is still an impressive and unique place to visit. The long hike up the mountain is strenuous and one should be prepared with an adequate quantity of drinking water and some snacks.

  • Cellular telephone coverage is poor in the area so don't count on being able to call for help from the area of the pit.

  • Please do not endanger your life or the lives of rescuers by attempting anything beyond your known skills and abilities.

  • Please do not use trees to rig ropes at the edge of Neversink. This activity is killing the trees. Use the two permanent rig areas that have been established. Each rigging area has two bolts. If the two rig areas are in use, the next party must wait until one of the rig areas is not in use, or return to the cave later.


History of Neversink
Long known and loved by caver explorers, the cave is considered by many to be the classic pit. It is probably the most photographed pit in TAG (Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia) due to the beautiful fern covered ledges (including some rare and endangered ferns), waterfalls, and other features. The pit is about 40 feet in diameter at the top and bells out to 100 feet in diameter at the bottom. It has been featured in countless slide shows and has been pictured in many publications.
The pit was closed in 1993 due to a change of ownership. The new owner was concerned about liability and about disturbance of the water pipe from the spring above the pit. The spring is the only reliable water supply for a home at the bottom of the mountain.
SCCi was already in negotiations to buy the pit when it was sold in 1993 to another buyer who bypassed the real estate agent. The, SCCi made contact with the new owner and entered into negotiations to buy the pit from him. After much work, an agreement was reached. SCCi began raising money to pay for the cave. At the eleventh hour the owner had second thoughts and decided to sell the land to the person using the spring. SCCi then made contact with that particular person, and was eventually able to reach a agreement to buy the cave from him in return for a guarantee of a water rights easement for the spring.
In July 1995 Southeastern Cave Conservancy signed a contract with the owner to purchase the pit. Following a survey of the property and some arrangements regarding parking and walking access, SCCi completed the purchase and took ownership on December 5, 1995. Total cost of the purchase was a little over $51,000.
Preserve Information
Acreage: 32.87 acres in Jackson County, Alabama
Preserve Management Team: Jim Hall and Darien Dopp (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Access:  To request a permit, visit http://permits.scci.org
Little Nicka Cave
SCCi signed an agreement with the Georgia Alabama Land Trust to lease and manage over 1,300 acres of Johnson's Crook in Dade County, Georgia. The Charles B. Henson Cave Preserve at Johnson's Crook will boast over 30 caves including Johnson's Crook Cave, Lost Canyon Cave and Gypsy Cave. The lease agreement with the Georgia Alabama Land Trust ensures visitors that this large tract of cave-rich real estate will never be threatened by development ever again.  The most significant caves on the preserve are Johnson's Crook Cave and Lost Canyon. Johnson's Crook Cave is 7,160 feet in length and has been a popular destination for over 40 years. Lost Canyon Cave has proven a popular destination since the SCCi acquired it in 2012. Lost Canyon is one of Georgia's deepest caves at 352 feet with an entrance drop 114 feet deep. This cave will be absorbed by the new preserve and will continue to be a permitted cave under the direction of the Johnson's Crook Management Committee.
Please support the SCCi so we can purchase and protect even more caves! A permit is required to visit the caves on this preserve. For more information, contact the management team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
NOTICE: To help prevent the spread of the deadly White Nose Syndrome (WNS) affecting bat populations, please read the SCCi Cave Visitation Policy and follow the guidelines.
Preserve Information:
Acreage: 1,300+ in Dade County
Property Management Team: Patty Springer (Chair), Peter and Jane Morgan and Marty Abercrombie (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Access: 
To request a permit, visit http://permits.scci.org
 
SCCi leases the William R. Halliday Cave Preserve located in Hart County, Kentucky. The property is comprised of approximately 40 acres of wooded land located on the side of Northtown Ridge near Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. The property contains Logsdon Cave, a wet multi-drop cave. The entrance is a vertical shaft approximately 35 feet deep which enters a crawl to a series of 8 drops from 15 to 60 feet in depth. The cave is over 200 feet deep, approximately 500 feet long and is very close to known passage in Fisher Ridge Cave.
The Nashville Grotto currently manages this preserve, and a permit is required to enter the cave. Each party must have someone on the trip who is an approved Logsdon Cave Trip Leader. A small campsite is present on the property; however, water is not currently available. It is recommended that you enter Logsdon Cave during the dryer warmer months because it is wet and draws a great deal of cold air in the winter.
NOTICE: To help prevent the spread of the deadly White Nose Syndrome (WNS) affecting bat populations, please read the SCCi Cave Visitation Policy and follow the guidelines.
Preserve Information:

Acreage: Leased in Hart County, Kentucky
Property Manager: John Hoffelt (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Access: Permit required, contact the management committee for access.

The Lobelia Saltpeter Cave Preserve is located in Pocahontas County, WV. Lobelica Saltpeter Cave is a small but historically significant cave containing saltpeter works. The remains of a saltpeter water collection trough and wooden hand tools are the most significant artifacts found in the cave.
There are very few speleothems of note in any of the easily accessible sections of the cave.
Preserve Information:
Closures: 09/01 - 04/30 (Bat Hibernaculum)
Acreage
: 29.5 acres in Pocahontas County, West Virginia.
Preserve Management: Dave Cowan (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Access: Permit required. Visit permits.scci.org to request a permit.
Limrock Blowing is a three-mile-long stream cave with large walking passage, pretty rooms, and nice formations. Limrock is one of SCCi's most popular caves, and for good reason. This cave does flood in wet weather so be cautious when planning your visit.
Limrock Preserve includes the cave entrance and approximately 48 acres. The property is nice for hiking, photography, and bird watching.  Limrock Blowing Cave is Alabama’s 15th longest cave, with a surveyed length of 15,505 feet of primarily horizontal passage.
DO NOT park near the barn when visiting Limrock cave.  SCCi does not own the barn or the field beside it. If you park there, you car may be towed away. We have constructed a parking area on SCCi's property for use by visitors.  If there are too many cars and you cannot find an acceptable place to park, please go elsewhere and visit another day. Your cooperation is appreciated.
Limrock Nathan Williams
Limrock Blowing Cave, photo by Nathan Williams

When visiting the preserve, please park in the designated parking area on the SCCi property. Do not park at the barn or field uphill from the cave. Visitors are warned that in heavy rains the cave floods completely. SCCi requests that visitors not enter the cave when rain is in the forecast. Flooding can occur very quickly and with little or no warning!
Limrock Blowing Cave
Entrance to Limrock Blowing Cave on a cold winter day. Photo by Nathan Williams.

Please consider joining SCCi as a Sustaining Member.  For as little as $10 a month you can be a cave owner. For information on SCCi Sustaining Membership, see our Sustaining page. Regular memberships are also available for $25 per year.
NOTICE: To help prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome (WNS) affecting bat populations, please read the SCCi Cave Visitation Policy and follow the guidelines to clean and disinfect your gear before and after visiting this cave.
Preserve Information:
Acreage: 48.34 acres in Jackson County, Alabama
Preserve Management Team: Tommy Royston (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Access: To request a permit, visit http://permits.scci.org
Maps: Buy a Piece of the Cave Map
Kennamer Cave Bob Biddix
Kennamer Cave, photo by Bob Biddix

The Preserve
The Kennamer Cave Preserve is one of the SCCi’s largest preserves in terms of acreage.  Situated along Kennamer Hollow in Jackson County, Alabama, the property runs from the valley floor, at the parking area, to the top of the plateau at the north end.  In between is a wide variety of habitat providing homes to a variety of bird and animal species.
Off the main road running up the Preserve, the property is extremely rugged.  To those making the effort, the property at the top end, around the upper cave entrances and above, is strikingly beautiful.  It is a miniature hanging valley with three seasonal streams running downhill to the main entrance.  In the Summer, the ravine at the main upper entrance has an abundance of ferns and is quite photogenic.  Hiking on the property is encouraged, although care should be taken during hunting season when approaching the boundaries of the Preserve.
The Cave
The cave is home to cave-dwelling species such as: tri-colored bats, several species of salamanders, troglobitic crayfish, bio-luminescent insects. Some sightings of TN cave salamanders have been reported in the lower pools.  Episodic flood pulses wash debris and the occasional surface dwelling species into the cave.
The main cave system is the heart of the Preserve.  It is an intermediate-level cave, with two entrances at the top (Main and Dug) and one useful entrance at the bottom (Orgy).  The upper and lower entrances are separated vertically by 150’ of elevation change.  Although much of the route from entrance to entrance is walking, some climbing and exposure is required to traverse the entire cave.  When going from the top down, ropes can be taken and rappelled/pulled down to ease several of the obstacles.
The best approach for sightseeing is to go in the Dug entrance at the top and tour down as far as you are comfortable and then go back out the same way.  That route will put you into the tall canyon section of the upper third of the cave and take you past the massive breakdown blocks known as Moby Dick.  The middle third of the cave is colorful and formation-rich, and has multiple short crawls connecting sections of walking passage.  Multiple spots can have seasonal waterfalls coming down some of the domes along the way.
The cave register is in a room located above the 40’ canyon.  Navigating this change in height is the most problematic part of the cave.  Below this feature, the cave is dominated by low passage requiring crawling.  There are several junctions in this stretch that confuse some first-time visitors.  This cave is a wonderful blend of scenery and athleticism and is one of the finest caves in Alabama.
The Preserve has at least two vertical pit options on the property.  Kenna Pit is a 120’ open air, free-fall pit to a large room.  Water runs across the floor at the very bottom of the room and continues down another drop to come out in the main Kennamer Cave.  Secret Pit is a 144’ open air, free-fall pit to a canyon-type room.  This pit is on the eastern slopes of the property, as opposed to all the other entrances.
Visiting
The Preserve parking area is located a mile down a dirt road behind a locked gate.  The gate combination is released on permit completion.  The first half of the road is currently in good shape, but the second half requires cautious driving or a high clearance vehicle.
From the parking area, hike up the main hollow on the old logging road.  The lower entrance (Orgy Entrance) is located about 0.2 miles from the parking area on the western side of the hollow.  The upper entrances (Main and Dug) are a mile hike from the parking area, with a 300+ foot elevation gain.  The trails to all entrances are well marked.  To get to Kenna Pit, follow the trail to the Orgy Entrance and continue up the ravine.  To get to Secret Pit, follow the main road north from the parking area, then take the first trail to the east up the ravine next to the stream, and curl back to the south on the established easement.
Preserve Information
Acreage: 227.1 acres in Jackson County, Alabama
Preserve Management Team: Mark Ostrander (Lead) (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Preserve Map: Cave Map

Permits: A permit is required to visit the preserve. Visit permits.scci.org. 
The Jennings Cave Preserve is located in Marion County, FL.
NOTICE: To help prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome (WNS) affecting bat populations, please read the SCCi Cave Visitation Policy and follow the guidelines to clean and disinfect your gear before and after visiting this cave.
Preserve Information:

Acreage: 0.5 acres in Marion County, Florida
Preserve Management Team: Mike Gordon (Lead), Sean Roberts, Kitty Markley (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Access:  
To request a permit, visit http://permits.scci.org