Dunbar Cave is a remarkable prehistoric site, not just for Tennessee but for the entire Eastern Woodlands. Dunbar Cave has been used for thousands of years and is the site of significant prehistoric Mississippian Native American cave art dating to the 14th century. The scenic 144-acre park offers hiking trails, wildlife viewing, picnic areas and seasonal cave tours.
For the Mississippian people that lived along the Red River in the 14th century CE (and perhaps even more broadly), Dunbar Cave was a sacred place. Though the cave is a physical place, the Mississippians believed it to be an actual portal into the Underworld, or the level of the universe that existed below the level where we live. The Mississippians left many drawings on the walls of the cave, some in charcoal, some carved into the limestone itself. While we do not know exactly what the drawings meant, the symbols hold sacred meanings even today for modern indigenous peoples of the southeastern U.S.
Today, these drawings are protected at Dunbar Cave State Park. During the cave tour season (May - September), we encourage you to take one of our tours to experience the awe of these drawings for yourself.
Find more info and get your bearings at our Museum and Gift Shop, located in the 1933 Bath-house. You can also hike one of our three miles of trails, learn about Dunbar Cave’s resort and musical history, or simply watch for wildlife in our restored prairie and wetland.
Information and Reference | TN State Parks
Hours of Operation: 8am-Sunset
401 Old Dunbar Cave Road