New Hope occupies the south side of a U-shaped bend of the Tennessee River, downstream from Nickajack Dam, which was built in the mid-1960s to create Nickajack Reservoir.
Historic Nickajack Cave can be seen from the Maple View Public Use Area in New Hope. A known landmark for hundreds of years, Nickajack Cave served as a shelter for Native Americans. The Cherokee town of Nickajack was once located between the cave and the Tennessee River. Before Nickajack Reservoir flooded the cave, the entrance measured 140 feet in width by 50 feet in height and a river ran out of it and emptied into the Tennessee River.
TWRA designated Nickajack Cave as Tennessee’s first nongame wildlife refuge in 1992. The entrance is fenced off in order to protect thousands of endangered gray bats that inhabit the cave from late April through early October.
New Hope is also home to The Shrine of Our Lady Virgin of the Poor, built by Benedictine monks in 1982 for spiritual contemplation and open to anyone of any faith. The Shrine is located on a 600-acre farm and opens from sunrise to sunset every day. It is a replica of the shrine in Banneaux, Belgium and includes a chapel, statuary, stations of the Cross, a small outdoor meeting area, a covered picnic area and restrooms.