With its beautiful 227-foot entrance pitch and over a mile of cave at the bottom, Valhalla is one of the finest pit caves in the southeastern United States. SCCi has established a good working relationship with the surrounding landowners and the hunting clubs that lease much of their property, and have obtained permission to cross their lands and to place an SCCi lock on the gate at the beginning of the road. Cooperation and respect for our neighbors is critical. In the interest of maintaining good relations with our neighbors, visitation is minimal during deer and turkey hunting seasons. 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 before visiting Valhalla. Preserve Information:
Tumbling Rock Cave, the Topless Dome. Photo by Nathan Williams. Tumbling Rock is one of Alabama's finest caves. SCCi started leasing the cave in January, 2008 and purchased the cave in July, 2011. This very special acquisition is the culmination of more than four years of extensive efforts by SCCi member Jay Clark and others. The cave is open for visitation primarily on weekends, from Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon. Access at other times may be possible by special arrangement. Visitors entering the cave will be expected to have appropriate caving equipment (helmet, boots, and headlamp) and to follow standard cave safety and conservation practices as promoted by the National Speleological Society. When visiting the preserve, it is important that visitors continue to observe a few common sense rules, such as:
When visiting the preserve, please do not change clothes in public. Changing area are available and must be used.
No using the bathroom in the cave, or at any place other than the facilities we have provided outside.
Please do not consume any alcoholic beverage or drugs of any type in the cave or on the preserve.
Please respect and be considerate of our neighbors, other visitors, and the cave environment by refraining from littering, touching artifacts, damaging formations, molesting wildlife, or otherwise disturbing the peace and serenity of the cave and the preserve.
Tumbling Rock, photo by Nathan Williams
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 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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.