Buggytop Trail to Lost Cove Cave
Buggy Top Cave Trailhead, Sherwood, TN 37376, USA
A woodland trail to a gorgeous water filled cave.
A worthwhile hike with a spectacular reward at the end.
Buggytop is one of those classic Tennessee hiking experiences. It's a few miles from Monteagle and one of my favorite hikes in South Cumberland State Park. It's just under 4 miles out and back. The hike in and out is relatively uneventful, but the highlight - the Lost Cove Cave - at the end is gorgeous and memorable for the whole family. Note that some sections toward the end are very challenging for young kids and old knees. You'll have to boulder your way up and down in some steep spots. However, my very experienced four-year-old managed, though it was difficult for her at times. The good news is that these sections are only towards the end and there are not many of them.
After about 1.75 miles, you'll reach a sign that points left to "Peter" and right to "Buggytop." If you want to head towards the main part of the cave, go straight to Buggytop where you'll find a large open-mouthed cave with a river gushing out of it. It makes a great spot for an afternoon picnic. You can walk fairly easily pretty far up into the cave.
If you head right to "Peter", you'll pass a pretty overlook and meander up towards a couple more caves. The second one is actually the entrance to the Buggytop Cave which is pretty cool - but you will need headlamps and a permit (available in advance online) to enter on that side and come out in Buggytop. The permits are free but are used to limit access to forty people per day.
We did not have a permit, nor adequate lighting, so we chose to spend most of our time at Buggytop but we did head to Peter to check it out (it's not that far from the turnoff point).
Ther cave is only accessible from May through September.
GPS coordinates: 35.1154° N, 85.9250° W