What Are the Average Cave Temperatures in the USA (Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana)?

Cave Temp Reading

Caves are unique structures underground that are formed when rocks are worn away from weathering. These structures are called caves when there is enough space for someone to explore. Caves are a great place for exploring for humans. There are interesting caves all over the United States. Temperatures of these caves due vary.

What are the average cave temperatures in the USA (Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana)? The average temperatures for caves in Tennessee are 58 degrees Fahrenheit. The average temperatures for caves in Kentucky are 54 degrees Fahrenheit. The average temperatures for caves in Indiana vary between 52 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit.   

Cave temperatures do vary from area to area, just like climate temperatures are different in different locations. Usually, people think that caves are “cold” areas, but in fact, this is untrue. Caves (underground formations) are more likely to be warmer even when it is colder above the cave itself.

When you’re ready to get started caving, be sure to read my Beginners Guide and check out my recommended gear section.

Averages of Cave Temperatures

Cave temperatures are not always the same. Caves do take on their regional area’s above-ground average temperature (for the year) and remain that temperature most of the year. So, for instance, if your area has an average of 65 degrees, your caves will most likely be that or close to that temperature all year long.

Calculating temperature averages is quite simple. Your region’s average temperature would be the daily temperature for each day of the year and add them all together. Take that number and divide it by 365 days (days in the year). This will give you the average temperature of your region.


Underground rock in the caves will adjust slowly to the climate above the ground. Therefore, the average temperature does not change much. It also does not change fast, but rather at a rate that is slower than most climates. With the much slower rate of temperature change, that means that the cave’s average temperatures usually do not differ many days today.

The average temperatures for caves in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana vary between 52 degrees to 58 degrees. These averages were taken from the average temperature in each of these states and divided by the number of days in a year (365).

Tennessee Caves

forbidden cavers tennessee

Tennessee is home to around 10,000 cave systems. That number of caves are more than most states in the United States. Tennessee has a lot of limestone and dolomite to make these cave systems happen. The temperature for caves in Tennessee is an average of 58 degrees.

Tennessee’s Popular Caves

Tennessee’s most famous cave is known as the Cumberland Cave. It is the longest cave in Tennessee. The cave system is 32 miles long. This cave is located in McMinnville, Tennessee. The cave is 333 feet underground and has a concert venue at the bottom. The constant temperature in this cave is 56 degrees all year long.

Another cave in Tennessee that is well known is the Lost Sea Cave. This cave is popular because it has a lake inside of it. The lake does span over four acres underground. This cave is located in Sweetwater, Tennessee. The temperature in this cave is a consistent 58 degrees.

Another popular cave in Tennessee is the Appalachian Cavern. These caves are most known for their rich history. There are stories of the Native Americans using the caves. Later, there are stories of the soldiers in the Civil War using the cave system. This cave system is located in Blountville, Tennessee. The Appalachian Caverns have a varying temperature because of the 78 openings to the cave system. The temperatures could be between 48-63 degrees.

Kentucky Caves

Mammoth Cave National Park Kentucky

Kentucky is another state that has some interesting cave systems and consistent temperatures. Kentucky does not have as many caves as Tennessee, unfortunately. Kentucky only has 130 cave systems in total. One of the lower amounts in any given state in the United States. Kentucky’s average temperature is 54 degrees.

Kentucky’s Most Popular Caves

The first popular cave is the Mammoth Cave. It is the longest cave system in the world! The cave is 400 miles long that we know of. More areas have not been explored. The cave has a consistent temperature of 54 degrees but does also have a variable temperature zone within the entrances at times. This just means that the entrances are warmer or colder than the rest of the cave system.

Kentucky has another really interesting cave called the Lost River Cave. It has a river running through the entire cave, so to view the cave. The cave also does tours in which you can crawl through little crevices in the cave itself. It also has exciting tours such as the zipline tour. The cave is a consistent 57 degrees all year long.

The Outlaw Cave is famously named after a legend that Jesse James hid out in the cave. It is located in Cave City, Kentucky. This cave has a temperature that is a little lower than the others. Its year-round temperature is 54 degrees.

Indiana Caves

Porter Cave Indiana

Indiana has cave systems that are impressive to the cave explorer. Indiana is known for its around 4,000 cave systems throughout the state. Indiana’s temperature average is 52 to 55 degrees. There is a discrepancy in the degrees due to the weather that Indiana state experiences.

Indiana’s Most Popular Caves

Indiana’s first popular cave is the Bluespring Caverns. It has the longest underground river in the United States of America. The river is over three miles long. To view the caves, you can take a boat ride on this long river through the cave system. To get to the boat ride, you must walk down 400 feet underground. This cave is located in Bedford, Indiana. The average temperature of the cave is 54 degrees.

Indiana also has a cave system named after the state: Indiana Caverns. Bluespring Caverns are part of the Indiana cavern system. This is the 7th largest cave system in the United States. This cavern is located in Corydon, Indiana. This cave system has waterfalls and unique formations underground. It also boasts an interesting adventure park. This cave has a consistent temperature of 56 degrees.

Indiana also has a longer cave that you can explore called the Binkley Cave. This cave is also part of the Indiana Cave system. This cave is over 34 feet long and is still being explored to make it longer today. This exploration took a long time to do. This cave has a consistent temperature of 56 degrees all year long.

Are There Differences in Temperature in Caves?

Like any other thing on this Earth, caves are not all the same. Some caves do not have stable climates or temperatures. These caves are the exception and are not the norm. To know what type of cave you are going to be exploring, it is best to research those particular caves.

There is a chance that a cave could be colder than the temperature of the region that you are in. This is pretty unlikely, but when it happens, it is because there is an influx of cold air being drawn into an open space and getting “trapped.” This is called a cold trap. The area will be colder than the rest of the cave and region.

Another exception would be the caves that are lower in the ground than most. If the cave is close to the core of Earth, the warmer the cave is going to get. Magma is the reason for the increase in temperature. Magma is hot rock material that could get up to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if you are in a cave that is close to that magma, the cave will take on some of that heat (of course, not all of it).


When you’re ready to get started caving, be sure to read my Beginners Guide and check out my recommended gear section.


I’m Rob, the owner of StartCaving. I enjoy exploring and writing about caves. I live in Ohio and like going out to Ash Cave at Hocking Hills with my family. I plan to hit up more caves across the states in the coming years but until then I will continue to write about them.

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