Lost Sea, Tennessee


On October 21st, 2016; Becky (my wife) and I explored “The Lost Sea” in Tennessee.

The Lost Sea, Tennessee area map

     The Lost Sea is the largest underground lake in the United States. It lies deep with a cave system called Craighead Caverns, in the mountains of east Tennessee.

The pathway through the main Cavern toward The Lost Sea, Tennessee

      I was always interested in exploring these caves since I was a little boy.  I was always a huge fan of “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” and this location was one of his sites that he included in his collection.  I probably came across it in the 1960s.     Below is a picture of Becky on the cave pathway to the Lost Sea. 

Becky posing in the cave and on the pathway that zig-zags down toward the Lost Sea.
Actually came across some Anthodites, (cave flowers).

     Anthodites form in relatively dry, not dripping conditions. They result from local feeding of solutions through pores in the rock, under capillary pressure.

Impressive cave formations found along the pathway towards the Lost Sea in Tennessee.

     According to Riply’s Believe or Not; ‘The Lost Sea” itself was discovered in 1905 by Ben Sands, a thirteen year old boy who wiggled through a small muddy opening 300 feet underground and found himself in a room that contained a huge lake. He threw mudballs far into the darkness to try to determine its size, but only heard splashes in response. It has since been determined that the visible part of the Lost Sea is 4.5 acres, but even modern technology has not assessed the vast reaches of the unseen body of water.

The Lost Sea Dock

     At the bottom of the cave and the pathway , we boarded a glass-bottomed boat and explored the lake itself.  Apparently, in past somebody planted some trout in the underground lake.  They were pretty big trout, (pictured below). 

Planted trout in The Lost Sea, Tennessee
Motor-boating to the other side of “The Lost Sea” Tennessee

     The lake is approximately 140 feet underground, so the walk back up was a hike, but the temperature was a comfortable 58 degrees.  Our adventure lasted about two hours.

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