Access Status for Popular Local Caves and Features

Hwy 70 N
Monterey, Tennessee

The Bee Rock property has been purchased by Dicky Henton, the former minister of First Methodist Church in Cookeville. He has built and opened a great Bed & Breakfast there and he doesn't want people wandering around the grounds disturbing his guests. Although he plans at this time to continue to allow rock climbing and hiking at Bee Rock, he asks that these activities be limited to between 9 AM and 5 PM, Monday through Saturday, and between 12 PM and 5 PM on Sunday. Please be discrete and considerate when you are visiting the property, since the B&B has already become quite popular for weddings and other "solemn" occasions.

He indicated that anyone with permission to be on his land also had permission to be on the hiking trails near Bee Rock (owned by adjacent landowners), since he had made a special agreement with the neighboring land owner. He indicated that it might be possible for cavers to stay past dusk if they called him in advance and made arrangements to be allowed to park inside the gate.

Mr. Henton was very nice to us and seemed to be a reasonable man. A few careless incidents could change that attitude and get Bee Rock and the surrounding areas closed to climbing, hiking and caving, except for paying guests of the B&B. Let's all be considerate of the new landowner and give him a positive impression of cavers. Calling in advance, being considerate (please don't strip down in the parking lot to change clothes) and polite, and taking out more trash than you brought in are the best ways to preserve this new relationship.

Mr. Dicky Henton
The Garden Inn at Bee Rock
Monterey, Tennessee
(931) 839-1400

P.S. from the Web Mistress -- Rooms (there are 12) run around $90 a night and are beautifully decorated with antiques and reproduction furniture. It *really* is a nice place, and it has a dining room which has, apparently, become quite popular. I can personally vouch for the quality of the food -- Four Star. The coolest thing about the place, though, is the artificial pond and "white water" stream that starts in the front of the inn and travels underneath it in a little artificial cascade. Very cool!

Ferris Pit

The two main trees for rigging at Ferris Pit were destroyed in a wind storm three years ago. Some cavers were climbing out at the time, but, thankfully, no one was hurt. As a result, Ferris Pit is now without convenient rig points. The nearest rigging trees are on the other side of the barbed wire fence, making a much longer piece of rope necessary (about 350' foot or longer is now required). The Upper Cumberland Grotto voted to install a permanent rig point at the pit two years ago, but this plan was never pursued. After a recent trip to the pit, members of the Nashville Grotto expressed an interest in improving the rig point somehow, with Mr. Pharris's approval of course. We will post details of this effort as they become available. Members of the Upper Cumberland Grotto have volunteered to assist.

England Cove

Access to England Cove is now controlled by locked gates. The UCG does have access to keys provided by Mr. Cunningham (the landowner) and we also have the keys to the gate for Skagnasty Cave in England Cove. If you would like to go to England Cove to cave or if you'd like to go to Skagnasty Cave, please contact Jerell Killian to set up a trip. Please be advised that we reserve the right to refuse access to anyone, although we generally try very hard to be accommodating to cavers. Also, due to the delicate situation with the hunting club leasing the cove, we normally discourage anyone wishing to enter the cove during hunting season. If you do go to the cove, please be careful and don't do anything that might ruin our good relationship with this landowner. Mr. Cunningham owns tens of thousands of acres of land in this area, containing literally hundreds of caves -- we can't risk jeopardizing this landowner relationship.

Xanadu Cave

If you would like to go to Xanadu Cave, please be aware that the gate was repaired a few years ago by members of the Xanadu Cave Conservation Task Force (CTF) and the Upper Cumberland Grotto. If you would like to borrow the key, contact Ned Littell (Lebanon, TN) during the day. He is listed in the NSS Membership Manual. Access to the cave is available only to NSS members or cavers affiliated with NSS grottos. Also, please hike in -- the road is badly eroded. Since damage to the gates has been a problem in the past, please keep your eyes open for indications that cave vandals have been at work. If you spot such indications, please contact Ned.

Johnson's Saltpeter Cave

We found out in the spring of 1998 that several cavers, including members of the Knox Valley Rescue Squad who were there for legitimate rescue education purposes, have been "run off" by the landowner who controls the access road to Johnson's Cave. Furthermore, new "No Trespassing" signs have been posted by the gate. Due to this situation, we ask that cavers who wish to visit Johnson's Cave park at the church and hike in from cross the ridge, instead of parking by the gate and hiking in from the bottom. Obviously, someone has worn out their welcome with this landowner. Please refrain from visiting this cave if possible, and, if you do go, please use the alternate access route, which does not cross his property. Some cavers have promised to mark the cave area with flagging tape to make it easier to locate in the woods.

Lost Creek Cave System

Please contact Jerell Killian at (931) 526-3091 to obtain landowner permission if you will need to do an extended project in the Lost Creek Cave system, or if you would like to report information pertaining to perpetrators of cave vandalism.

Robinson's Cave

It was with great sadness that we heard of the death of Mr. Robinson, the friendly owner of Robinson's Cave in Overton County. Mr. Robinson was over 100 years old when he passed away at the beginning of March 1997. Currently, no changes in cave access have been announced by the family, but the farm and the cave have been passed on to his nephews, who are interested in learning about the cave and its history. Members of the Upper Cumberland Grotto lead a successful trip to the cave at on May 2 of that year to introduce them to the unique resource they possess. Others in the caving/geology community are preparing a scrapbook of photos and clipping about the cave to present to the family. Check here periodically for any changes in the access status for this cave.

For more information or to post corrections to any of this information, contact April Hannah at (615) 612-2143, or by email at

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