The Number of Caves in Alabama Surprises Most People

The number of Caves in Alabama comes as a surprise to most people, even those that have lived here most of their lives.

In fact, what is also not very well known is that this State is considered to be a “hot spot” for not only these structures, but the animals that live there as well.

The northeastern part of the state is where most of them are located for one simple reason: the geology.

The Underground Beauty of Cathedral CavernsThe Underground Beauty of Cathedral Caverns

The geology that is located there is virtually loaded with beds of carbonate rock, which is the perfect atmosphere for them to develop.

The northeast part of Alabama is part of what is referred to as the “TAG” area, and it stands for the states that are located in this area.

Southeastern Tennessee, Northeastern Alabama, and Northeastern Georgia make up this area, and it is extremely rich in what is called “karst geology”  

There are several Caves in Alabama that you can explore, but there are 10 that stand out as the most popular.

The First Five of the Caves in Alabama 

DeSoto CavernsDeSoto Caverns
  • Cathedral Caverns
  • Never Sink Cave Reserve
  • DeSoto Caverns
  • Rickwood Caverns
  • Russell Cave National Monument

Cathedral Caves

First on the list of Caves in Alabama is Cathedral Caverns, which are located in Grant.

When this cave was first discovered it was called “Bats Cave”, and it is loaded with stalagmites that cover almost three acres.

It was opened in the public in the late 1950’s by Mr. Jacob Gurley, and right after it was opened, it was renamed.

It was renamed because of its Cathedral-like appearance, and in 1987 it was bought by the State.

It has a massive entrance that is the first thing you will see, as it measures 126 feet wide and is 25 feet high.

It has a stalagmite named “Goliath” and it is one of the largest ever found, as it is a whopping 45 feet tall and is over 240 feet in diameter.

Never Sink Cave Reserve

Next on the list is the Never Sink Cave Reserve, and it attracts people from all over the country for two very neat reasons, a beautiful waterfalls and rare ferns.

Located in Jackson County, it is a 162-foot open pit where the bottom can only be reached with the right skills and equipment.

DeSoto Caverns

Next on the list of Caves in Alabama is the DeSoto Caverns, which is located in Childersburg.

However, it is also known by another name which is “Alabama’s Big Cave” because it main room is literally over 12 stories high.

It is considered to be one of the most historic as well as beautiful caves in the entire country and has one very interesting fact; its formations are still growing.

Because of this, the public is not allowed to touch any of the formations inside of it.

It is open to the public year around, and like most caves, it is a cool 60 degrees all of the time.

There is a laser light, water, as well as a sound show with each and every tour.

Rickwood Caverns

Rickwood Caverns is next, and this state park is located in Warrior, and it has guided tours offered daily.

Theses guided tours will show you the illuminated limestone formations, blind cave fish, as well as an underground pool.

It was discovered in the early 1950’s by a group of Boys Scouts that were exploring the area.

Russell Cave National Monument

Next on the list of the first five Caves in Alabama is the Russell Cave National Monument

It is located in Jackson County and is the third largest mapped cavern in the State.

It has what is considered to be one of the most complete records of ancient cultures in the entire country, as it most likely provided shelter for these ancients.

There are several clues that they left not only this dwelling, but the surrounding forest that gives us some idea about these prehistoric inhabitants. 

The Second Five of the Caves in Alabama 

Stephens Gap In Woodville AlabamaStephens Gap In Woodville Alabama
  • The Manitou Cave
  • Tumbling Rock Cave
  • Stephens Gap
  • Sauta Cave
  • Rattlesnake Saloon Cave

The Manitou Cave

The second list of Caves in Alabama starts with the Manitou Cave, which is located in Fort Payne.

It is located on the side of Lookout Mountain and is reported to have been named “the great spirit’ by the Cherokee Indian Tribe in the early 18th century.

The Confederate Army used it as a source of saltpeter during the Civil War, as it was a critical ingredient for black gun powder.

It was first opened in the year 1888 and stayed opened for over a hundred years as a tourist attraction.

After years of neglect, it is now closed to the public, but tours are offered by a private company.

The Tumbling Rock Cave

Located in Scottsboro, the Tumbling Rock Cave is reported to be over six miles long and is known for both its stalactite and stalagmite formations.

It has a 400-foot-tall shaft that features a waterfall, which is referred to as the “Topless Dome”

It is privately owned and requires a permit to go to it, and the best way to witness this natural structure is with the assistance of experienced grottoes.

Stephens Gap

Stephens Gap is next on the list of Caves in Alabama, which is located in Woodville.

This beautiful structure offers its visitors two different attractions: a huge walk-in entrance, as well as a waterfall.

This gorgeous waterfall literally shoots out of an opening in this structure, and then free-falls for over 100 feet.

It is also privately owned, and you can only visit it with a permit, and only 25 people per day are allowed in it.

The Sauta Cave Lower Entrance in Scottsboro AlabamaThe Sauta Cave Lower Entrance in Scottsboro Alabama

Sauta Cave

The Sauta Cave is next on the list, and it is located in Scottsboro.

It is also referred to as the “Blowing Wind Cave”, and while it is best known for the number of gray bats that live there, it has served in a variety of uses.

It is believed that the Cherokees used it to mine saltpeter for gunpowder, and this practice continued by the Confederates during the Civil War.

In fact, this structure was considered to be one of the largest saltpeter mines that were operated during the Civil War.

In the year 1978, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service bought the property, so they could protect both the gray bats as well as the Indiana bats that live there.

Rattlesnake Saloon Cave

The final listing on the caves of Alabama is the Rattlesnake Cave Saloon, which is located in Tuscumbia.

This very unique Saloon is operated in the mouth of a cave, which has an opening that is 300 feet long and 100 feet wide.

Built under a bluff, this operating bar and restaurant has water pouring off the bluff like a fountain.

On the inside of the saloon, you will find a rattlesnake that is mounted with its fangs showing, trying to strike a rabbit.

While this list in not all inclusive, it is considered to be the best 10 of the Caves in Alabama for you and your family to visit.


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The Russell Cave is one of the most famous in the entire Southeast for two very important reasons; it’s extremely rich history and its massive entrance.

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Stephens Gap Cave

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