Russell Cave National Monument Travel Guide

  • russell cave
    russell cave
    by doug48
  • visitor center
    visitor center
    by doug48
  • russell cave
    russell cave
    by doug48

Russell Cave National Monument Things to Do

  • russell cave

    pictured is the upper level of russell cave. this chamber was created by an ancient roof collapse. this collapse gave native americans additional living space and refuge when the lower cave flooded. when russell cave was excavated in 1954 hundreds of native american artifacts were found here.

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  • russell cave

    pictured is the lower level of the cave. there is a natural spring running through the cave which gave ancient native americans a constant supply of fresh water. the interior of the cave remains at a constant 58 degrees which offered excellent shelter duriing the winter. for thousands of years the hills and valleys of the area provided the...

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  • picnic area

    the russell cave national monument has a beautiful picnic area near the visitor center. it is located on a large meadow with nice views of the hills around russell cave. a nice place to frisbee or have a touch football game.

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  • hiking trail

    near russell cave is a one and a half mile hiking trail up the hill above the cave. for those who enjoy nature and hiking this is a easy peaceful trail to take.

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  • visitor center

    pictured is the russell cave national monument visitor center and museum. at the vistor center you can arrange a ranger guided tour of the cave or you can take a self guided tour. the visitor center has a small museum with native american artifacts found in and around the cave. admission is free.

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  • Stream Flowing into Russell Cave

    The most striking natural feature of Russell Cave National Monument is the beautiful underground stream which flows into the left chamber of the cave. This stream emerges as a spring from beneath a huge rock rock only about 100 yards from the cave entrance. If flows through a large sinkhole and then back undergound via the mouth of the cave. A mist...

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  • Russell Cave Museum Exhibits

    The exhibits in the small museum at the Visitors Center are definitely worth a close inspection. Of the thousands of southeast Archaic sites, this is one of the best preserved. The Archaic era, beginning at the tail end of the last ice age (about 8,000 B.C.) is when the basic foundation for American Indian culture was laid. Archeological evidence...

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  • A Refuge From the Elements

    If we you had to live in a cave, it would be hard to find a better one than this. The mouth of Russell Cave faces east, away from the cold north wind but letting in the morning sun. It is cool in summer. Nearby is an excellent source of water, firewood, abundant game, and a good supply of rock for shaping into weapon points. Most groups using the...

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  • Exhibits Illustrate 9,000 Years of Human...

    For hundreds of generations, Russell Cave has drawn American Indians. The artifacts they left behind tell the story of the cave. It is difficult to make generalizations about how the cave was used over so long a period of time. During the ebb and flow of habitation some users seem to have been year-round family groups while others were nomadic...

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  • Hiking in the Oak-Hickory Forest

    Other than the boardwalk which leads to the cave, the only hiking opportunity in Russell Cave National Monument is a 1.2 mile loop trail through the oak-hickory forest above the cave. Parts of this trail are steep so we would classify it as moderate to strenuous. Points along the trail feature plants used for food, tools, and other everyday...

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  • Russell Cave Boardwalk

    From the Visitor Center a .6 mile wheelchair accessible boardwalk leads to Russell Cave. When available, a seasonal intrepreter will accompany you on your walk, as one did on our most recent visit. This is a beautiful, remote, rugged mountain area, only a couple of miles south of the Tennessee border, and nothing at all like the stereotypical...

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  • Visitors Center

    Any visit to Russell Cave National Monument should begin at the Visitors Center. Here you will find an information desk, exhibits, a book/gift shop, and a small theater. A variety of films about Russell Cave are available to be shown upon demand. They range in length from 8 minutes to one hour. Both the National Monument and the Visitors Center are...

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Russell Cave National Monument Warnings and Dangers

  • Watch for Poison Ivy

    We noticed an abundance of poison ivy along the trails at Russell Cave National Monument. This beautiful green plant can cause a nasty rash or even more severe allergic reactions. The danger is from the oils or resins in the plant. Don't touch it and you will be OK. If you do touch the plant accidently, immediately rinse the affected area with...

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  • Take only pictures; Leave only...

    Do not remove or disturb any item in this National Monument. The Archeological Resources Protection Act specifies serious felony and misdomeanor charges for the removal or disturbance of archeological or historical artifacts on federal lands.

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