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“My son loved it!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Raccoon Mountain Caverns

Raccoon Mountain Caverns
319 W Hills Dr, Chattanooga, TN 37419
423 821 9403
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Ranked #5 of 137 things to do in Chattanooga
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Owner description: Raccoon Mountain Caverns is located just 1.3 miles off of I-24 at the Lookout Valley exit (#174), and is less than ten minutes from downtown Chattanooga. Visitors are presented with a cave in its natural state and our 45-minute (+/-) Crystal Palace Walking Tour allows them to view thousands of diverse formations - stalagtites, stalagmites, delicate soda straws, flowstone, rimstone pools, draperies, columns, natural bridges, and a rare shield formation. We also offer a variety of wild cave "spelunking" expeditions for those who want to view beyond the lighted pathways and explore deeper into the mountain. Our Waterfall Dome expedition permits visitors to view the areas tallest underground, natural (unassisted) flowing waterfall.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
georgia
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“My son loved it!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2013

I took my kids there to do a cave exploration , I did not do it so I cannot say but if you are into that kind of adventure then its great, dark caves and crawling, my youngest loves stuff like this, but its not for everyone, of course you can do the walking tour instead.

Visited August 2012
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Robert P, General Manager at Raccoon Mountain Caverns, responded to this review, August 8, 2013
Thank you very much for bring your son to do one of our famous wild cave expeditions. While some hesitate to go on these tours, I can attest to the extremely high levels of satisfaction and sense of accomplishment experienced by our guests. These tours are truly unique and explore the inner portions of the cave system while in the accompany of an experienced caver. You will walk, stoop-walk, crawl, slide, etc. as you traverse the various cave passageways. I am glad that your son enjoyed his expedition and hope that you are able to bring him back for another in the future. Thanks again for your visit and comments.
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Orlando, Florida
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67 reviews 67 reviews
30 attraction reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
81 helpful votes 81 helpful votes
“The best in the area”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2013

We frequently stop in Chattanooga on our way to my hometown. We have been to all the most popular cave destinations in the area. This place gives small group tours where you can hear everything the tour guide is saying. They don't rush you through and you have plenty of time to ask questions. The caves are packed full of beautiful formations. My wife and I came here once before kids and loved it. We brought our young children this time. My youngest daughter said, "This is so cool" as soon as we got to the main room. The tour guide was young, but very knowledgable and professional. We've been to the other more commercialized places in the area too. The other caves give very large group tours where you have to fight through people to hear the guide. They race you through and they don't have as many formations. This is the our favorite.

Visited June 2013
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Robert P, General Manager at Raccoon Mountain Caverns, responded to this review, August 8, 2013
Thanks very much for the visit and for the title of your review. Obviously, I am biased toward our cave but feel that we do offer a superior caving experience. We are attempting to showcase the natural beauty of the cave while explaining its history and geology coupled with an occasional glimpse of its wildlife (salamanders, crickets, and maybe a spider or bat). We feel that an educational experience is best accomplished in smaller groups. The layout of the cave with its unique, circular path enables us to have frequent, but small, groups moving through the cave. The guides are given tremendous flexibility and are not on rigid time schedules. We do not use pre-recorded messages found in other caves as we prefer the "old-fashioned way" of letting the guides speak and explain the surroundings. We encourage questions as we want others to appreciate our wonderful cave system and do not mind if you want to take a few pictures. Thanks very much for taking the time to share your comments and for visiting the cave. I certainly hope that you are able to visit us again in the future.
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Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Little bit of everything!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2013 via mobile

Stopped here as we passed through Chattanooga. Cavern was great...very interesting! We bought the combo ticket which allowed you to tour the cavern, pan for gems and go cart ride. Go cart track was small but my 7 year old son and husband had fun! We found lots of stones in our gem bag. There is also a gift shop with quite a variety to choose from. It took about 2 hours to do it all. I would reccomend this!

Visited July 2013
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Robert P, General Manager at Raccoon Mountain Caverns, responded to this review, August 8, 2013
I wanted to thank you for visiting our cave and it certainly sounds as though you and your family enjoyed your visit. The combo ticket that you mentioned is a tremendous value while giving you flexibility as to whether you want to pan for gems, enjoy a go-kart ride, or both. Thanks very much for taking the time to share your thoughts for the benefit of others.
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Midland, Michigan
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
“Road trip - Raccoon Mountain Caverns/Campground, Look Out Mountain, Mr T's Ice Cream, Ruby Falls, and Clearwater Beach”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2013

We visited on May12,2013. My step son had never been in a cave before, and really enjoyed this new adventure. Our guide was an extremely nice, and knowledgeable young man that took the time to answer any and all questions. It was an informative and interesting talk that he gave as we wandered through the very large cave that had a number of different formations! He interacted well with children. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour of the cave.

If you want to go spelunking, you need to set that up in advance of your arrival. They have a narrow passage that you can go through with a group if you made advance preparations for that adventure as it is only offered at certain times. We didn't take the time to do that as we were on a road trip to Florida on a tight schedule to arrive in time for a wedding in Clearwater Beach.

We camped at the Raccoon Mountain Cave Campground which is located right next to the Cave site. (We could walk to it from our campsite.) It said "rustic" but as we are from the UP...that was not our perception of rustic! But it did have a mowed grass area with trees for shade, and there was a picnic table and a fire pit with room for your vehicle and campsite. The campground was quiet, and actually quite full of RV's. The showers and bathrooms were clean and relatively near our campsite. They have a swimming pool, but it was not yet open at that time of the year. (May) The campground was easy to find, using map quest and road signs.

Look out Mountain is about a 20 minute drive from the campground, which we visited as well in the afternoon of the same day. The incline rail was a fun ride up the mountain, and from the top you can see 7 states. There are viewers at the top for 25 cents. It was a beautiful view, and the ride up makes your "stomach drop" which was "awesome" according to my 12 year old! There are some military landmarks at the top of the mountain, and a gift shop for souvenirs as well. There is actually a town at the top of the mountain.

After our trip down on the incline rail, we visited Mr T's ice cream just across the street. That was pricey, but delicious on a hot day!

Ruby Falls and a jeweled cave are nearby, but we didn't go there, as I had been there before with my older children on a previous trip. It's not far away, but really wasn't all that exciting. We had traveled to Niagara Falls on a previous trip, and gone under the falls, which was enormously fun, so Ruby Falls would have been quite a let down compared to that. But adequate if your children have never seen water falls... the ocean on the other hand was quite an experience for a 12 year old who had never seen the ocean before. Be sure to tell them to taste the water! My son was impressed with the saltiness, but disappointed that he didn't see a shark! I, on the other hand, was pretty happy he didn't while frolicking in the waves! Nice beach.

Visited May 2013
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Robert P, General Manager at Raccoon Mountain Caverns, responded to this review, August 1, 2013
Thanks very much for visiting our cave and it sounds as though you (and your son) enjoyed your cave tour and stay on the campground. Our guides are all highly trained and enjoy taking visitors through the cave and sharing their knowledge about how the cave formed, how the formations form, and even about the unique life that calls the cave home. I hope that you will be able to return in the future when you have more time and perhaps try one of our wild cave expeditions. Thanks again!
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Atlanta, Georgia
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20 reviews 20 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
“Great fun on the fossil tour”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2013

Visited Raccoon Mountain Caverns the day after Ruby Falls and wow, what a difference. The falls, though beautiful, were dreadfully overcrowded and way too commercialized. This, on the other hand, is something I would highly recommend to all my adventurous friends.

I've never particularly liked the idea of caving because I am not too crazy about being in tiny spaces, but we had one more day on our trip and this was a recommended area activity in the book provided by our cabin owners. We called Raccoon Mountain Caverns in the morning and were able to book the 2 hour fossil tour for that same day. The tour was 10 people and two hours of fun. I have never done anything like this before. There are parts where we were crawling, scampering, even rolling. It was like playing. No rails, no ramps, no lights, no emergency exits. I'd love to do this again for longer (but I am not so sure about the 180 foot crawl on the 6 hour tour). I guess if I could sum up the difference between Ruby Falls tour and the Raccoon Mountain tour is that people were smiling on the latter.

Tips: If we had planned this in advance we would have worn our worst jeans and long sleeve tops -- it is 60 degrees and muddy in the cave.
Most of the children in our group (aged 10ish) were having an incredible time. Lots of smiles. Very small children might be intimidated though. The youngest (age 8ish) got scared and had to be coaxed a bit.
You don't have to be in good shape for the tour, but those of us who were less physically fit were breathing heavy a couple times.
There is some squeezing through tight spots, which wasn't as bad as I imagined.

Visited July 2013
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Robert P, General Manager at Raccoon Mountain Caverns, responded to this review, August 1, 2013
Thank you very much for your visit and it certainly sounds as though you thoroughly enjoyed your tour. We are firm believers that you enjoy more when in a small group .. just like smaller class sizes are better for children. As you also discovered, we do our best to accommodate "short notice" tours because we understand that people find themselves in town looking for fun and interesting things to do. We have an extremely high guest satisfaction rate because we have an outstanding combination of a fantastic cave system coupled with a dedicated staff. Sometimes, people will comment that the caving was strenuous but, in the next breath, will tell you it is the best thing that they have ever done. I had the pleasure of speaking with a grandparent this past week who took her grandchild on an overnight expedition and absolutely loved the bonding experience that developed as they worked their way along the tour. These are memories that will be cherished forever.
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