What: Cave Tours in Georgia with the Georgia Girl Guides
Where: Cloudland Canyon State Park, Rising Fawn, Ga.
Photos: For additional photos of Cave Tours in Georgia with the Georgia Girl Guides, visit Field Trips with Sue on Facebook
Consider yourself an adventurer? Looking for something to do that’s a little out of the ordinary? Then look no further than the Georgia Girl Guides (G3) Wild Cave Tour of Sitton’s Cave in Cloudland Canyon State Park near Chattanooga.
This cave tour adventure ranks up there as one of my top five field trips. It’s an experience you can’t just pick up and do on your own and it is definitely an experience. There are no neat pathways to meander here, but there are rocks to climb down, icy rivers to wade through, muddy slides and crawling on your hands and knees through what looks like a chocolate river out of Willy Wonka. Did I forget to mention the bats? Apparently there were quite a few more than normal on the day we went. I always pictured bats as large imposing vampires, not the two-inch little tufts dotting the rocky surface above us. Afterwards you’ll feel accomplished, exhilarated and have a new appreciation for the world under your feet.
If you’re thinking “Oh, my goodness, you’re crazy,” then maybe you should stick to the beaten path and visit Ruby Falls in nearby Chattanooga for your caving experience. No shame in that. Ruby Falls has one of the largest underground waterfalls in the country and is truly beautiful. However, if you’d rather take the road less traveled, then read on, there are some things you should know before heading out for a trip with the Georgia Girl Guides.
- You’re in good hands. Co-owners Amy Ward and Christine Rose are experienced cavers and former Ga. State Park employees. Amy is a National Cave Rescue Commission certified first responder and Christine a former park naturalist so each tour includes information about the natural environment. She’s also the mom of two young children, so she has a lot of patience with the kids. I like 3Gs approach. It felt more like going out with a friend than on a guided tour.
Tours are recommended for kids 6 and up. Know your child and maybe take the one-hour tour if you’re unsure. If you’re child doesn’t like the dark, being dirty or flinches at water, you might want to wait a little before taking them caving. There is a point where you can exit, but after that, you’re in for the duration. During the one hour tour, you’ll crawl through the mud, but you don’t go through any underground rivers.
- To really experience the cave, go on the two-hour tour. If you have adventurous kids, the one-hour tour just isn’t enough, you’ll get down into the cave and have to turn back. The two hour tour includes visiting various rooms off the main path and exploring deeper into the cave.
- Budget extra time. Cave tour time is calculated once you reach the cave and begin your safety talk. So the one or two hours starts when you get to the cave. The entire experience will last at least two to three hours between getting ready and cleaning up afterwards.
Knee pads and Glove are provided. Georgia Girl Guides provides you with knee pads and gloves. Make sure to get a good pair of knee pads, you will be using them.
- Wear a sweatshirt or jacket. The inside of the cave is a constant 56 degrees, no matter how hot it is outside. You’ll want a sweatshirt and long pants when you go down below.
- It is wet. At points you are walking up to your knees in cold water. Bring a complete change of clothes – this means down to your underwear. There is a men’s and women’s changing area in the parking lot, but there isn’t any water, so bring some so you can at least wash your hands. Bring towels too. You’ll want to dry off afterwards.
It is muddy. Bring a huge garbage bag or plastic container for muddy clothes. The folks with us came out looking like they had overalls on – when in fact it was just the mud from their chest to their toes. Wear clothes you don’t care about. Better yet, wear something you can just throw in the garbage afterwards and not worry about having to clean. This goes for shoes too.
- There are no bathrooms. Make sure everyone in your group at least tries before leaving the registration area. There are no bathrooms in the cave, or in the parking area.
- You’ll have a blast! I think what I liked most about this is what I said at the beginning. It’s like hanging out with friends who are sharing their passion and knowledge more than going on a guided tour.
We were provided a complimentary experience for the purpose of review (as is common in the travel industry), however, we only recommend places we would stay and products and experiences we would use.