The Lost Sea Adventure is an underground cavern experience that most of the family can enjoy. Along with the tour there are shops, a restaurant and picnic area. The address is as follows.
The Lost Sea
140 Lost Sea Road
Sweetwater, TN 37874
Phone 423 337 6616
A few miles off of I-75 in the small town of Sweetwater, Tennessee is a famous attraction. The Lost Sea Adventures have been giving tours of their underground caverns and immense lake for generations. It is part of what is known as Craighead Caverns. Tours began in 1915 but the cave has been used since long before then.
According to the Lost Sea the earliest date written in the cave is 1863. This was in the middle of the Civil War. The Confederate army mined the cave for saltpeter so they could make gunpowder. But even before that the cave was used by settlers for storage and prior to that the Cherokee Indians used the cave.
Credit for the discovery of the underground lake at the Lost Sea is given to Ben Sands. How large is the lake? That’s anyone’s guess. The chamber that visitors see is about 4 acres. The depth and expanse has yet to be discovered. Even with the most modern equipment, the other shores of the underground lake have yet to be found.
Other discoveries at the Lost Sea have included a 20,000 year old fossil of a Pleistocene jaguar. There are old Cherokee Indian artifacts in one of the large rooms of the cave. Anthodites, also known as “cave flowers” are so rare that their discovery led to the Lost Sea being designated as a Registered National Landmark along with Yosemite National Park.
The Lost Sea tour is a ¾ mile walk around the formations and includes a ride in a glass bottomed boat. It takes about an hour. The temperature of the caverns stays at about 58 degrees. When my family went I found myself wishing for a sweater even though it was summer.
There are times when the trails were difficult to manage. If you have problems walking (or with heights) this may not be the attraction for you. However, if you stick it out you will be rewarded by seeing some of the world’s most unusual geology.
After the Lost Sea tour visitors can peruse a number of shops in the Old Sweetwater Village. These neat little shops include a glassblower, general store and ice cream parlor. (See a short virtual tour slideshow here.) There is also a nature trail and picnic area along with a restaurant. The shops are open seasonally.
The Lost Sea is open daily except for Christmas Day. In June and August the hours are 9:00 am – 7:00 pm. July hours are 9:00 am – 8:00 pm. From Nov. – Feb. the hours are 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Ticket prices are $15.95 for adults, $7.45 for children age 5-12. Special rates apply for groups of 20 or more. Special tours can also be arranged. Call the Lost Sea for details.
The Lost Sea
Knoxville News Sentinel