Dunbar Cave State Park is a 110-acre natural area and is one of Clarksville, Tennessee’s most picturesque attractions. It is located 60 minutes northwest of Nashville and about 1.5 miles northeast of downtown Clarksville. Dunbar Cave, measuring over 8 miles in length, is the most prominent and one of the largest caves in Montgomery county, making the city of Clarksville one of middle Tennessee’s best-kept secrets.

What's Interesting About Dunbar Cave State Park

Great Scenery

The day-use state park is much loved by both locals and tourists alike for walks along the serene trails and views of the manmade Swan Lake. Although the lake is not allowed for boating and swimming since it’s only 15-acres, people are still attracted to the relaxing and soothing view of the lake fed by cold, crystal clear stream that flows from the mouth of Dunbar Cave. Dunbar Cave, the 280th largest cave complex in the world, is a well-explored scenic and historic cave. Aboveground, it is surrounded by a beautiful hardwood forest. In front of the cave opening is a large concrete poured structure with 3 distinct arches.


  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Walking
  • Biking
  • Interpretive Programs
  • Picnicking
  • Wildlife Viewing

Because of the occurrence of White Nose Bat Syndrome, cave tours are suspended indefinitely to prevent the spread of this deadly fungus that plagues hibernating bats.


  • Lake Trail - Distance: 0.7 miles, Usage: Hiking, Difficulty: Easy
  • Short Loop Trail - Distance: 1.1 miles, Usage: Hiking, Difficulty: Moderate
  • Recovery Trail - Distance: 1.9 miles, Usage: Hiking, Difficulty: Difficult (has several steep hills)

Dunbar Cave State Park History

The cave and its surrounding areas have scenic, natural, archaeological, geological and historical significance. Pre-historic American Indians dwelled in the entrance of the cave as evident by artifacts discovered by archaeologists in 1970s (dating back to the Paleo Indian and Archaic times, 10,000 BC - 8,000 BC). Inside the cave, pre historic pictographs have been discovered. A Mississippian cave art dating from approximately seven hundred years ago can be seen inside depicting religious themes.

In 1948, Country music star Roy Acuff purchased the property for $150,000 and aired a live country music radio show from the area, and made the cave a site of musical festivities and entertainment shows. In 1973, State of Tennessee Governor Winfield Dunn bought the property and designated it as Dunbar Cave State Park.

Who was Dunbar?

In 1784, the cave was named after the first settler to live there. Thomas Dunbar and his family settled the land containing the cave in, thinking he was the legal owner because he paid for it but never really got the deed. Robert Nelson, a local surveyor, won the land and Mr. Dunbar and his family was ejected but the name was retained.

Contact Information

Address: 401 Old Dunbar Cave Rd., Clarksville, TN 37043

Phone: (931) 648-5526

Hours: Open daily

  • Park - 8:00 AM until sunset
  • Visitors Center - 8 AM to 5:30 PM

Seasonality: Year-round

Fees: None

Are you a nature lover who wants to live near this natural wonder? Check out Clarksville/Fort Campbell Real Estate for you to know more about the local real estate market and great and affordable houses for sale near the State Park. Or you can also contact a local Real Estate Agent.

Been to Dunbar Cave State Park? Comment below and let us know what you love about the area.

Discover one of Clarksville, Tennessee’s greatest attractions and explore the area’s natural, cultural and historic heritage! Dunbar Cave State Park takes pride in having hundreds of interpretive programs and events, family-friendly recreational activities, diverse natural landscapes and scenic and tranquil views. Take your daily dose of nature and you will never feel more alive.

Posted by Justin Cory on


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