Indian Grave Point Cave, from entrance to Lake Superior

Near the infamous site of the Battle of Snow Hill that saw the fight between Confederates and the 9th Cavalry (April 3, 1863) lies Indian Grave Point Cave.

Indian Grave Point Cave


Indian Grave Point is one of the largest caves in Tennessee. According to the TN Division of Archaeology, there has been no official archaeological work done in the area, though there are a couple of small sites recorded along the creek which clearly contribute to it's name.

The product of phreatic solution, it is located in a cow pasture on the side of a steep hill (approximately 250 feet up a 50 degree angle).

Parking on the road, there is a stile that I'm told was donated by the Nashville Grotto to assist in climbing over the fence. Immediately on navigating over the stile you follow a trail that bends around a small pond and begin the ascent up the hill to the sinkhole that is the cave's entrance.

Indian Grave Point Cave

Hilltop view, close to the cave's entrance.

Indian Grave Point Cave

Once at the top you'll find the sinkhole that includes the cave's entrance. It is approximately 40 ft deep in total, but only a 10 foot rope assisted climb down with the rest being a walkable slope.

Indian Grave Point Cave

Indian Grave Point Cave

Indian Grave Point Cave

Once you enter the sinkhole entrance, the cave opening involves a short crawl.

Indian Grave Point Cave

Then opens to a room with a small dome which used to be an old saltpeter works containing nitrate hoppers.

Indian Grave Point Cave

Indian Grave Point Cave

Continuing on you will encounter the first breakdown room, the NAASEA Room...


Indian Grave Point Cave

where you will climb upwards until you reach a 45' dome.

Indian Grave Point Cave

Indian Grave Point Cave

Once you view the dome and take a break at the top, there is a mud slide before reaching a wall that gives you the choice of going left or right.

Indian Grave Point Cave

 To the left is a dead end passage that I've found to be wet on some occasions, and dry depending on surface conditions.

Indian Grave Point Cave

Indian Grave Point Cave

Indian Grave Point Cave

Taking a right from where you did the mudslide, leads you down another wet passage (knee deep)...

Indian Grave Point Cave

to a 20' climb up what I've heard called both the "Frozen Niagara" and "Saint Mary Falls", that currently has a rope ladder and water continuously flowing down from Lake Superior.

Indian Grave Point Cave

Indian Grave Point Cave

Indian Grave Point Cave
Upper Cumberland Grotto caver Jeremiah Dearinger

Indian Grave Point Cave



On completing the climb up Saint Mary Falls, you'll find Lake Superior. Often full, I've seen it once during extremely dry conditions and have included the photo below.

Indian Grave Point Cave

Indian Grave Point Cave

Lake Superior under dry conditions.

Indian Grave Point Cave

Beyond Lake Superior, after completing a climb \ scale along the right wall, is another passage. You can turn left though I have never done so (maps don't show anything of significance), or a right which brings you to The Lemon Drop (a 50' pit). To the left of the lemon drop there is a crawl passage that brings you to another pit (80') seen below.

Indian Grave Point Cave

I intend for the next post to include a walkthrough leading through the main route that starts at the NAASEA Room and continues on through The Boxcar Room and on towards Cascade Dome which is a 120' dome ceiling.

Before wrapping this up however I wanted to include a fun area that can be found by entering the NAASEA Room and going left. There is a long and extremely muddy passage (shin deep). At the end is a beautiful dripstone formation that can be found.

Indian Grave Point Cave


Along with a short slide into a space where there are clay sculptures that were created by a great many visitors to the cave.

Indian Grave Point Cave

Indian Grave Point Cave

To read about other caves posted here, go to our page on caves and as with all trips to sensitive nature areas \ caves, please remember to ...

Take nothing but pictures.
Leave nothing but footprints.
Kill nothing but time.

Caving in particular can be a dangerous activity for those who are inexperienced. If you have an interest in exploring caves, check out a local grotto from the NSS website so you can connect with experienced cavers who can show you the ropes. Also remember that a great many caves are on private property where permission will need to be obtained to visit or in the case of state property, permits submitted.

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Comments

  1. Nice slide show !!! That was one of my favorite caves when I was in High School. When my friends and I started caving in about 1961, very little Interstate Highway had been built and most roads were still just two-lane. SO..........getting places took a lot longer. That limited how far we could go on our day trips.

    DeKalb County was within our driving range and loaded with good caves. Indian Grave Point Cave was so much fun because if was so large and complex. It took many, many trips to finally see all (?) of it's passages.

    Looks like it is still in pretty good shape.

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