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Carter’s Cave Natural Area

Tourism–Carter Cave Natural Area

The Carter Cave Natural Area is another prize of the South Cumberland Recreation Area. This area is located off the mountain along Highway 56 near the town of Sherwood.

The land was donated to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation in 1976. The area consists of 140 acres and protects a great geological feature of the area – Lost Cove Cave.

The main entrance to the cave system is the Buggytop Cave entrance. Thomas Barr, Jr. classified it as one of the most impressive cave mouths in the state.

The mouth itself is 100 feet wide and 80 feet high and opens at the base of a 150 foot high overhanging bluff. The stream that enters here cascades from the mouth dropping 40 feet in less than 100 yards.

From the mouth of the cave, a cold draft of air blows in the summer. This draft can be felt in the creek valley nearly half a mile from the entrance.

The environment of the cave is very sensitive and visitors are asked to be careful not to disturb the environment. Rare and endangered species of salamanders and bats are found in the cave. All plants and animals in the area are protected by law, helping to preserve them for generations to come.