AMLI Residential
Back Arrow
Back to Blog Home
Around The Area

Famous Caves in Georgia’s Appalachian Mountains

by
Jul 28th, 2023

Georgia is home to over 500 caves, making it one of the most cave-rich states in the United States! The most common type of cave in Georgia is a solution cave, which is formed by the dissolution of limestone. Other types of caves in Georgia include collapse caves (caves which are formed when the roof of a cave collapses) and lava tubes (which are formed by the flow of lava).

The process of solution cave formation begins when rainwater absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This makes the water slightly acidic, which can dissolve certain types of rock, such as limestone. As the acidic water flows through the rock, it dissolves the calcium carbonate, creating a cavity that increases over time.

The rate at which a cave forms depends on the flow of water and the type of rock. Caves can form over a period of millions of years, or they can form more quickly in areas with high water flow or soft rock. The Appalachian Mountains are some of the oldest mountains in the world, so the caves have had more time than most to grow and burrow deep into the ground. 

Once a cavity is large enough for a human to fit inside, it's classified as a cave. Solution caves are found all over the Appalachian Mountains and offer us a glimpse into the heart and soul of the land that we live on.

Here are a few of the more popular (and technical) caves you can visit in Georgia’s Appalachian Mountains!

6 challenging caves to explore in Northwest Georgia

Ellison's Cave

Location: Crockford-Pigeon Mountain Wildlife Management Area

Visiting hours: Open to the public

Cost of admission: Free

Difficulty level: Difficult

This cave is not for the faint of heart — nor is it for beginners. 

Ellison’s Cave is the deepest cave in Georgia and the 12th deepest cave in the United States. It is over 12 miles long and 1,063 feet deep and features a number of pits, including the Fantastic Pit, which is the deepest unobstructed pit in the continental United States at 586 feet deep, and the Incredible Pit at 440 feet deep. 

The cave was discovered in 1953 by a group of cavers led by avid spelunker John Ellison — hence the name! 

Pettyjohn’s Cave

Location: Crockford-Pigeon Mountain Wildlife Management Area

Visiting hours: Open to the public

Cost of admission: Free

Difficulty level: Moderate

This limestone cave was first explored in the early 1900s and has been open to the public since 1953. The 6.5-mile long cave is home to a variety of formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone and cave pearls, as well as the 150-foot-long Worm Tube that forces cavers to crawl on their hands and knees. 

Pettyjohn Cave is part of the Crockford-Pigeon Mountain Wildlife Management Area and, as such, is free and open to visitors. Though many of the trails are easy and the cave is well-known, it’s still wise to brush up on your spelunking knowledge and safety gear before diving in. 

Case Cave 

Location: 122 Cloudland Canyon Rd, Rising Fawn, GA 30738

Visiting hours: varies (guided tours)

Cost of admission: varies (guided tours)

Difficulty level:  Difficult

Cloudland Canyon State Park is home to a complex system of caves, each featuring unique formations, layouts and characteristics. 

Case Cave is home to a small lake, which is located in the main chamber toward the entrance of the cave. Formed by the slow erosion of a stream, Lake Cave is home to a number of interesting formations, including stalactites, stalagmites and flowstone.

Sitton’s Cave

Location: 122 Cloudland Canyon Rd, Rising Fawn, GA 30738

Visiting hours: varies (guided tours)

Cost of admission: varies (guided tours)

Difficulty level: Difficult

Sitton’s Cave is a river cave that is accessible by a short hike through the state park. This cave is famous for its stunning interior features, including a waterfall and a large, high-ceilinged chamber known as the Ballroom that is home to a number of limestone stalactites and stalagmites. 

Byers Cave & Rusty’s Cave

Location: Fox Mountain Preserve, 2386 Fox Mountain Rd, Rising Fawn, GA 30738 

Visiting hours: Tours are offered by appointment only

Cost of admission:  Varies (guided tours and permit-based entry)

Difficulty level: Difficult 

The Fox Mountain Cave Preserve is tucked away in the northwestern corner of the state and is home to a series of stunning caves, caverns and passageways. Two of the most popular ones in this particular system are Byer’s Cave and Rusty's Cave.

Byer’s Cave was first discovered in 1963 by a group of cavers led by James Byers, and it was subsequently named for the Byers family who owned the land on which the cave was located.

Byers Cave is 5.5 miles long and is known for its extensive passageways and warm temperatures, making it a popular cave for winter exploration.

Rusty’s Cave is a deep one and starts with a sudden drop into a 45-foot entrance pit. The cave is known for its challenging climbs and rappels, and is a popular destination for experienced cavers who are comfortable in tight spaces and challenging routes. 

If you live in or near our luxury Atlanta apartments and are looking for some challenging caves, then these are a must-see. Stay safe!

Pin it!

Featured photo courtesy Pixabay/Tama66

Author of Article

Colleen Ford is a South African who now lives in Spokane, Washington. She loves to travel, camp (in warm weather) and bake.

Arrow icon.View All Posts by Colleen Ford
share this post