Exploring wild caves in Georgia isn’t something you want to do on a whim. It’s dark down there and it’s easy to get lost inside the Georgia caves if you don’t know where you are going. That is why exploring Sitton’s Cave with the Georgia Girl Guides (or G3), was one of my favorite field trips ever. Wondering where are the closest caves near me? Well we have a few additional public caves in Georgia listed at the end of this post as well.
Explore Caves in Georgia with the Georgia Girl Guides
Exploring the caves in Ga. with the Georgia Girl Guides (G3) was both an adventure and something truly out of the ordinary. What I loved most about it was that it wasn’t something I could just pick up and do on my own. Even if you are experienced at navigating Ga. caves, G3 are still great hosts that no doubt will help you discover something new.
Why I Love touring caves in Georgia with the Georgia Girl Guides
There are no neat pathways to meander on a Wild tour of Georgia caves, but there are rocks to climb down, icy rivers to wade through, muddy slides and crawling on your hands and knees through what looks like a chocolate river out of Willy Wonka.
Did I forget to mention the bats? Apparently there were quite a few more than normal on the day we went on our spelunking in Georgia adventure. I always pictured bats as large imposing vampires, not the two-inch little tufts dotting the rocky surface above us. Afterward your adventure, you’ll feel accomplished, exhilarated and have a new appreciation for the underground caves in Georgia that are right under your feet.
Cave Tours in Georgia for the Unadventurous
If you’re thinking “Oh, my goodness, you’re crazy,” then maybe you should stick to the beaten path and visit Ruby Falls in nearby Chattanooga for your caving experience.
No shame in that. Ruby Falls has one of the largest underground waterfalls in the country and is truly beautiful. However, if you’d rather take the road less traveled, then read on, there are some things you should know before heading out for a trip through the caves in Georgia with the Georgia Girl Guides.
10 Reasons to Explore Cave in Georgia with the Georgia Girl Guides
My boys and I took the Wild Cave Tour of Sitton’s Cave in Cloudland Canyon State Park near Chattanooga. G3 also explores other caves in North Georgia and has another tour of Pettyjohn’s Cave at Pigeon Mountain Wildlife Management Area. No matter which one you choose, here are 10 reasons to go with G3.
You’re in good hands.
Co-owners Amy Ward and Christine Rose are experienced cavers and former Ga. State Park employees. Amy is a National Cave Rescue Commission certified first responder and Christine a former park naturalist so each tour includes information about the natural environment. She’s also the mom of two young children, so she has a lot of patience with the kids. I like 3Gs approach. It felt more like going out with a friend than on a guided tour.
Tours are recommended for kids 6 and up.
Know your child and maybe take the one-hour tour if you’re unsure. If your child doesn’t like the dark, being dirty or flinches at water, you might want to wait a little before taking them caving in Georgia. There is a point where you can exit, but after that, you’re in for the duration. During the one hour tour, you’ll crawl through the mud, but you don’t go through any underground rivers.
To really experience the cave, go on the two-hour tour (or better yet, the four hour cave tour).
If you have adventurous kids, the one-hour tour just isn’t enough, you’ll get down into the cave and have to turn back. The two hour tour includes visiting various rooms off the main path and exploring deeper into the cave. Really adventurous? Then take the four hour tour of North Georgia caves.
Budget extra time.
Cave tour time is calculated once you reach the cave and begin your safety talk. So the one or two hours starts when you get to the cave. The entire experience will last at least two to three hours between getting ready and cleaning up afterwards.
Knee pads and Glove are provided.
Georgia Girl Guides provides you with knee pads and gloves. Make sure to get a good pair of knee pads, you will be using them.
Wear a sweatshirt or jacket.
The inside of the cave is a constant 56 degrees, no matter how hot it is outside. You’ll want a sweatshirt and long pants when you go down below.
It is wet.
At points you are walking up to your knees in cold water. Bring a complete change of clothes – this means down to your underwear. There is a men’s and women’s changing area in the parking lot, but there isn’t any water, so bring some so you can at least wash your hands. Bring towels too. You’ll want to dry off afterwards.
It is muddy.
Bring a huge garbage bag or plastic container for muddy clothes. The folks with us came out looking like they had overalls on – when in fact it was just the mud from their chest to their toes. Wear clothes you don’t care about. Better yet, wear something you can just throw in the garbage afterwards and not worry about having to clean. This goes for shoes too.
There are no bathrooms.
Make sure everyone in your group at least tries before leaving the registration area. There are no bathrooms in the cave, or in the parking area.
You’ll have a blast!
I think what I liked most about this is what I said at the beginning. It’s like hanging out with friends who are sharing their passion and knowledge more than going on a guided tour.
More Caves in Georgia
In addition to Sittons Cave and Pettyjohn’s Cave, there are several other caves in Georgia, plus a few caverns in Georgia. Most caves in Georgia are on private property with limited accessibility, but here is a list of public places to go spelunking in Georgia. This list should help you answer the question, where are the closest caves near me?
North Georgia Caves
Fricks Cave. Fricks Cave, Walker County Ga. is normally closed to the public. However, the Southeastern Cave Conservancy hosts an open house each year where members and their guests are allowed into the cave. For more information on camping or caving at Fricks Cave, contact the preserve management team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling ET Davis at 423-667-9946.
Ellison Cave. Ellison’s Cave is the 12the deepest cave in the US, and is also located in Walker County on Pigeon Mountain. Ellison’s is a pit cave, which means it has a vertical shaft rather than the normal horizontal shaft. This cave is not for the novice! Take a look at the video.
This video of the Fantastic Pit at Ellison Cave is CRAZY!
Byers Cave, Dade County, Ga. I can’t tell if this one if a public cave or not. One sources said it is owned by the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, which is a membership organization.
Climax Caverns, Climax, Ga. In Southwest Georgia on the Florida border near the town of Climax is a dry cavern. This cave is on private property, but it appears that owners will give their permission.
Glory Hole Caverns, Cairo, Ga. Glory Hole Caverns isn’t easy to find, but when you do, there are two famous crystalline formations, called Angel Wings and Granny Star.
What: Exploring Caves in Georgia with the Georgia Girl Guides
Where: Cloudland Canyon State Park, Rising Fawn, Ga.
Photos: For additional photos of Cave Tours in Georgia with the Georgia Girl Guides, visit Field Trips with Sue on Facebook