Petty John's Cave

Pettyjohn Cave - Petit Jean

Useful Information

Location: East side of Pigeon Mountain, Appalachian Plateaus of NW Georgia, Walker County.
Open: No restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: ExplainKarst cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=9,775m, VR=71m.
Guided tours: no regular guided tours, V=12,500/a
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Petty John's Cave is a well-known wild cave with a lot of traffic. It is actually what is generally called a sacrifice cave, a cave which is more or less officially open to spelunkers and thus protecting other caves around by drawing the whole traffic to this spot. So that is what you will find in this rather large (3rd largest cave in Georgia) and variated cave: crawling, stooping, mud, some rather easy climbs, narrow parts and some speleothemes. And of course many other spelunkers. The most frequented parts show rocks which are polished shiny and slick by too many visitors crawling across. The cave is because of its size rather interesting and despite the high number of visitors well worth a visit.

Although this cave is considered an easy cave, also called a non-technical cave as no climbing gear is required, it is not harmles to visit this cave. Every year numerous people get hurt in the cave, partly a result of the high numbers of visitors, but most accidents are simply a result of insufficient gear and could have been easily avoided. Please do not enter this cave withou helmet, gloves, sturdy boots or wellingtons, knee protectors and if possible some kind of overall. Helm lamps are recommended, take spare batteries and a second lamp. And the most important: never cave alone and tell somebody where you are going and when you will be back, so he may call the rescue if you get lost or have an accident. This are the most basic rules of caving and may prevent you from many umcomfortable hours in the cave or even worse.

Numerous groups in the area offer guided trips into the cave. It is obviousy a good idea to visit the cave with such a tour. Such tours (should) offer additional equipment for rent, information on save caving, speleothems, and the cave, and of course more fun being in a group sharing the experience.