Strap up your boots, put on your adventure cap, and turn on your flashlight before descending into the mesmerizing underworld of North Georgia. Spelunking — aka exploring caves — is a neat way to explore nature. Georgia is home to 500+ caves that offer unique caving experiences. While most caves in Georgia are nestled on private property with limited access, there are quite a few notable caves in North Georgia to check out on your Blue Ridge vacation. Many wild caves are hidden in North Georgia State Parks while some are set up as tourist attractions north of Atlanta. Whether you’re a skilled spelunker or just want a cave tour experience, North Georgia is where you want to be.
Top 5 Caves in North Georgia
Remember learning about stalagmites and stalactites from your science teacher in the fifth grade? Check out these stellar formations in person inside a North Georgia cave. Some cave systems have pillars, pits, cave pearls, flowstones, lakes, and even waterfalls! Of course, you can’t forget spectacular cave critters. A few endangered species among the North Georgia wildlife you might spot are the gray bat and the Tennessee cave salamander. There’s lots to learn and see beneath the earth, but you have to know where to start. Our top 5 caves in North Georgia ought to get you started!
What’s the difference between a cave and a cavern? Caves are simply cavities that don’t get direct sunlight. Caverns are types of caves that are typically underground and can grow cave formations (speleothems). All caverns are caves, but not all caves are caverns!
1. Ellison’s Cave
As Georgia’s deepest cave, Ellison’s Cave is a top cave in North Georgia for experienced cavers to explore. It’s 12 miles long and stretches 1,063 feet vertically. Inside this Northwest Georgia cave, you’ll find limestone walls, pits, and 2 cave drops named Fantastic and Incredible…because they are.
2. Byers Cave
Tucked away in the Fox Mountain Preserve of Dade County (where Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee meet), Byers Cave is 5.5 miles long, features extensive passageways, and is quite warm inside, even in chilly winter months. Though the majority of the cave system routes are horizontal, it’s still quite a challenging hike, so inexperienced cavers beware.
3. Pettyjohn’s Cave
Nestled on the eastern side of the Crockford-Pigeon Mountains in Walkers County, Pettyjohn’s Cave is 6.5 miles long with a 4-foot-wide entrance, easy enough for beginner spelunkers. This trek can be muddy, so dress appropriately. You’ll also need to climb down to the main chamber. There are 6 miles of passages to explore plus 2 waterfalls, brown and tri-colored bats, and the ever-neat Echo Room — a large room reached through a tight passageway!
4. Rolater Park Cave Spring
An easier North Georgia cave to explore is Cave Spring in Rolater Park, which also offers hiking trails, picnic spots, swimming, and places to feed fish. This limestone cave is lit so you can easily see the beautiful stalagmites inside and a neat rock formation dubbed Devil’s Stool. Plus, it’s only $1 to enter. Did we mention this cave is haunted? There’s even a ghost tour offered every Halloween…
5. Howard’s Waterfall Cave
All spelunkers, new and experienced, are welcome to explore Howard’s Waterfall Cave in North Georgia. Start with a crawl for 60 feet behind the pouring waterfall until you reach an open chamber in this damp cave. The best part? Historical Cherokee inscriptions are carved into the cave walls. This area is now gated due to past littering and vandalism, so before visiting this historic cave, you do need permission from the Southeastern Cave Conservancy (SCCI).
MORE Popular Caves in North Georgia
- Rusty’s Cave — deep cave with 45-foot entrance pit in Fox Mountain Preserve
- Case Cave — lake cave inside Cloudland Canyon State Park
- Cemetery Pit Cave — vertical cave with “the ballroom” in Fox Mountain Preserve
- Frick’s Cave — protected cave on the eastern side of Lookout Mountain
- Sitton’s Cave — river cave in the Rising Fawn area of Cloudland Canyon State Park
Where to Stay
Spelunking caves in North Georgia will leave you tired and hungry, so it’s important to have a comfortable and restful place to stay in Blue Ridge or Ellijay. Georgia Cabins for YOU features cabins of all shapes and sizes that are affordable and inviting. Every cabin rental offers a fully equipped kitchen to prepare meals plus entertaining amenities.
Soak in the bubbly hot tub, play arcade games in the rec room, watch movies in the home theater, sip local brews by the fireplace, unwind in the outdoor lounge, and gaze at the gorgeous mountain, wooded, or river views! Whether you’re looking for a pet-friendly cabin, budget-friendly vacation rental, or a luxury lodge, we have you covered.
Plan YOUR spelunking adventure and relaxing cabin stay in North Georgia today!