Pets allowed
Allowed
Guided tours
Yes
Backcountry camping
No
Lodging
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Dunbar Cave State Park is located just outside of Clarksville, Tennessee. The cave itself is one of the largest in Montgomery County, stretching over 8 miles inward. About 3 miles of hiking trails wind throughout the park, and there is a small lake and picnic tables located near the visitor center. Speaking of the visitor center - there is a small natural history museum located inside; Exhibits on mammals, birds, nests, trees and rocks can be found here.

The cave itself is home to quite a storied past. Artifacts have been found that date back to the Paleo era (10,000 to 8,000 BCE), and prehistoric rock and cave art can still be seen here today. In 1784 Thomas Dunbar and his family were the first settlers of the land containing the cave. After the Civil War, a resort was built near Dunbar Cave. It was a popular spot, likely because the cave entrance stays a steady 58 degrees year round and made for a great way to beat the summer heat.

During the early 20th century, Dunbar became a “show cave” and a popular live music venue. In 1916 a concrete dance floor was built at the cave entrance, replacing the previous wooden floor. Big Bands played here during the 1930s and 1940s, and from 1948 to 1966 country music star Roy Acuff owned the property and broadcasted a live country music radio show from near the cave. Interest in the cave declined during the 1950s - one major reason being the increase of air-conditioning in homes. In 1973 the property was designated a state natural area. 

Please note that the only way to enter the cave is on a guided tour. Tours are offered seasonally.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Cave. Small lake. Hiking trails.

Cons

Crowds. Cave can only be entered with a guided tour.

Features

ADA accessible
Historically significant
Family friendly
Flushing toilets
Guided tours
Picnic tables
Near lake or river
Cave
Bird watching
Geologically significant

Location

Field Guide

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