COVID-19 UPDATES: Keeping Visitors Healthy

South Cumberland State Park

Buggytop Cave

Buggytop is an impressive wild cave reached by a two-mile hike from the parking area to the cave entrance. If you have never visited Buggytop, it is recommended you join park staff on a ranger-led cave trip to familiarize yourself with the cave. These hikes can be found on the events calendar.

The hikes both inside and outside the cave are strenuous and often wet. Be prepared with helmets, headlamps, extra batteries, and appropriate shoes and clothing. Do not cave alone. Permits are required and are available online. The cave is open from June 1 to August 31. 

To ensure that Tennessee State Parks continues to provide quality areas for recreational caving, all cavers should register online or with park management three days before your visit.

Once you have registered, you will receive a confirmation email with your permit. Please keep the digital or paper permit with you while visiting. At some locations you may be asked to print your permit and leave it on your car dashboard.

Buggytop Cave

  • The cave environment is fragile. Visitors that choose to explore the cave should be careful not to disturb any formations or small animals that live in the cave.
  • Daily Limit: 40 Permits issued per day (1 permit per person, regardless of age)
  • Do not cave alone.
  • Group size is limited to 20 people at a time.
  • Visitors must be out of the cave and off the trails by sunset.
  • Cavers should be able to show proof that they are registered and complying with rules & regulations.
  • The park manager may close the cave at his or her discretion.

Permits are free. We ask that you fill out a short registration form, sign a liability waiver, and familiarize yourself with the Clean Caving Guidelines. To recieve your permit, please fill out our registration form.

For more information about caving in TNStateParks please visit tnstateparks/activities/caving.

Please visit safely and familiarize yourself with the latest COVID-19 guidelines on our Keeping Visitors Healthy page.