Cedar Ridge Crystal Cave has had several names including Cedar Hill Crystal Cave \ Kangaroo Cave \ Soda Straw Cave. It is located in Marion County, a reasonable drive from both Nashville or Chattanooga. I initially heard of the cave at a Nashville Grotto meeting and then not long after, saw a write-up by caver Kelly Smallwood on her blog (link) on its history and the conservation efforts launched on its behalf by the caving community.
Over spring break, I had promised my children that we’d fit in a cave trip and it was my understanding that this would be an age appropriate cave to visit with them so I reached out to Kelly, who was fantastic and set me up with access so that we could make a visit to this cave.
Having packed our caving gear the night before, we woke up and loaded the truck and got on the road. After making a breakfast stop and then picking up the key, we made our way to the cave. Parking was convenient and we were able to quickly gear up and make our way over to the caves entrance which is exceedingly easy to find in that it is clear of foliage and includes a solid cement wall and metal locked door that is clearly visible from the road that covers the original entrance that was approximately 5 feet high and 7 feet wide.
After reaching through to unlock the door, it moved after a big shove and we were each able to climb through into the caves interior.
On entering the cave, the initial room is around 30 feet wide and 10 feet high with a crawl-way passage to the right (northeast) that passes through a metal gate and wall attempt that was outlined in Kelly’s blog post and goes on for about 150 feet. Formations immediately become apparent, but are nothing compared to what is seen beyond.
This passage leads to a room that is approximately 75 feet long and 150 feet wide with a 25 foot ceiling that includes huge flow-stone columns that connect from floor to ceiling. The ceiling itself is covered in thousands upon thousands of stalagmites and is absolutely amazing to see.
From here the cave continues northeast with another passage heading northwest. The northeast continues as a 30 foot crawl before opening to another room and then continuing northeast. We however, chose to continue to the northwest which goes for another 75 feet through huge flow-stone columns, stalagmites, and helictites before ending in a drip-stone grotto.
Considering the caves history, Cedar Ridge Crystal Cave is in fantastic shape and a wonder to explore with its abundant formations and explore with children.