Snail Shell Cave

Snail Shell Cave is a Southeastern Cave Conservancy (SCCi) property located in Rutherford County, Tennessee and includes over 13 miles of known passages.

Snail Shell Cave is one of the most biologically significant caves in the Southeastern United State and was named one of the Top Ten Most Endangered Karst Communities by the Karst Waters Institute in 1999. It is managed by a working group that consists of 30 participants that include cavers, conservationists, scientists, and land managers with assistance from The Nature Conservancy and State of Tennessee.

Its main entrance is on SCCi property and is located at the base of a huge sink that is approximately 100 feet wide and 200 feet long. Navigating to the base of the sink can be hazardous, and the easiest method of exploring the cave involves kayaks so ropes and \ or a winch is often used to lower them to the cave entrance. Otherwise a wet-suit and flotation device is necessary due to water temperatures being below 60 degrees.

There are actually two main entrances, the left going upstream with a 2,000+ foot swim before reaching breakdown and walk-able passage and the right lead to it's miles of downstream passages.

Snail Shell Cave is owned and managed by the Southeastern Cave Conservancy. You can visit to become a member or make a donation. Becoming a member allows you to request a permit to visit their 170+ caves and help protect them for future generations.

In addition, I'd encourage you to check out the National Speleological Society's website and consider joining a local Grotto (caving club) where you can sign up for trips to caves like this and learn from experienced cavers

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