Photo by Dmytro Dubovyk on Flickr.
“"The lake was discovered by Ben Sands, a 13-year-old boy who had actually crawled through a tunnel that was the size of a bicycle tire for 40 feet before he dropped down into the lake itself.” — Savannah Dalton, tour guide
Deep in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, about 50 miles south of Knoxville, sits an American wonder 140 feet below ground.
Inside, a narrow tunnel leads to an intricate cave system drenched in history. Cherokee Indians used it as a shelter in the 1820s. And during the Civil War, Confederate soldiers used the cave's minerals to make gunpowder.
Tour guide Savannah Dalton is part of that rich history. Her grandmother and great aunt played down here as children.
"I was actually six years old the first time I came down here with my grandmother and older brother," Dalton said.