Visiting The Lost Sea Adventure and The Lost Sea Wild Cave Tour Review
I remember visiting the Lost Sea about 20 years ago on vacation. Now we live in Sevierville, TN only a few miles from Forbidden Caverns. After learning that Forbidden Caverns closes for parts of January, February and March we decided to make the 90 minute drive to The Lost Sea Adventure in Sweetwater, TN before the end of our seasonal unemployment. In this review I try to cover the highlights and realities of this unusual recreation.
The Lost Sea Adventure Dates, Prices and Address
Dates Open Close
January, February 9:00 am 5:00 pm
March, April 9:00 am 6:00 pm
May, June 9:00 am 7:00 pm
July 9:00 am 8:00 pm
August 9:00 am 7:00 pm
September, October 9:00 am 6:00 pm
November, December 9:00 am 5:00 pm
The Lost Sea is located in Sweetwater on Hwy. 68, just seven miles off of I-75, exit #60.
140 Lost Sea Road
Sweetwater, TN 37874
Child: $ 9.95 (ages 5-12) Children under 4 are free
Wild Cave Tour $27 – $32
The Lost Sea Adventure Regular Tour
The regular Lost Sea tours are about a 3/4 mile round trip and take about an hour 15-30 minutes with a boat ride at the bottom of the cave on America’s largest underground lake. The tours leave about every 20 or 30 minutes through a man-made tunnel in the lobby.
The Lost Sea Adventure Wild Cave Tour (Saturdays)
I called ahead to find out what we would need and a good investment is a headlamp. We purchased three at Wal-Mart (two 50 lumen and one 150 lumen). The 50 lumen headlamps were $7 and the 150 lumen was $13. Honestly the 50 lumen was enough as you only needed a headlamp when in tight spots. Also needed is old dirty clothes and shoes. Thin long sleeve shirt is best. We washed our clothes in the bathtub as best as possible before putting them in the washing machine. Car wash is the best choice to rinse these off. We also brought snacks for after, water bottles, clean clothes/shoes and a trash bag (for dirty clothes)
Note: The tour guide said you could bring cameras and things with you, but didn’t suggest it. Pictures taken with my Iphone5 even with a flash were not very good and it would be hard to not break or dirty electronics on the crawls.
Since I haven’t been in a cave in 20 years I spent the $8 extra to see more of the cave and do something different. The tour started at 1pm and we arrived 30 minutes prior to do what we needed before entering the cave as they said it would take about four hours. We went on Saturday, March 1st 2014 and I was surprised at how busy it was. Expecting maybe a couple of people to be on the wild cave tour, everyone gathered by a large restroom/ changing station totaling 21 in all. This caused delays in the start. On the wild cave tour you enter the Lost Sea cave through its natural entrance located up a hill above the building entrance. Probably the most dangerous part of the tour was taking the 132 oddly shaped, sloped, wet and hard to see clay steps down from the entrance. (Use the handrails provided) My nephew came with us, so I let him use the headlamp and I used the flashlight feature on my Iphone5 occasionally which somewhat worked but not ideal.
Once in the cave you enter the campsites where you can rest or use the porta-potties (not dirty, but smell awful). Throughout the cave are several low ceiling rocks, so keep your eyes open as you take the regular tour and boat ride first. The lake is really nice with tons of huge trout, but I believe it’s the same boats from 20 years ago. The glass bottom is so dirty you can’t see out, but the water is very clear and the fish are plenty so you see them fine.
Apart from the lake it’s not a very beautiful cave and there aren’t many large geological formations since the cave has had so much unrestricted uses in the past. The crawls started small being up and over with low ceilings and muddy bottoms. Then progressed to longer crawls with very narrow passages and rocky sides. It was fun and my 8 year old daughter and 11 year old nephew had an easier time getting through some of the spots for obvious reasons. There was a slightly older couple that opted out of one of the crawls as well as my wife who said it was very uncomfortable on her chest as she had just had breast augmentation surgery 2 months prior. The large group had caused the tour to run long so we didn’t get to do the last crawl, but the veteran crawlers behind me kept disappearing into different openings looking for alternate routes made me aware of a lot of passages I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
Note: I wouldn’t recommend the Wild Cave Tour for anyone who is large or out of shape as it would be very unpleasant.
We spent about $135 total because the kids were the same price on this tour and left about 5:30pm when all of the campers were showing up. Another large crowd it seemed.
Old Sweetwater Village and Nature Trail
We showed up early with plans to check out the Old Sweetwater village and nature trail. Unfortunately the village was closed (seasonal), but the restaurant was open. The nature trail was a simple leafy trail that walked us back up to the restroom area where we started the Wild Cave Tour. It had markers that labeled items, but the trail looked as if it hasn’t been maintenance in a long time.
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