Coolest Underground Attractions in Alabama

Alabama harbors an array of natural wonders, ranging from majestic mountains and cascading waterfalls to dense forests and serene lakes. Yet, tucked away beneath its surface lies a realm of captivating splendor waiting to be explored. With a rich legacy of cave exploration and conservation, Alabama boasts some of the most remarkable and diverse underground landscapes in the nation. Whether you seek adventure, historical insight, or simply the beauty of subterranean landscapes, these underground attractions offer a wealth of experiences. Here are some of Alabama’s most captivating caves and caverns awaiting your discovery:

Stephens Gap Cave

Nestled near Woodville, Stephens Gap Cave stands as one of Alabama’s most renowned and visually striking caves. Anchored by a 143-foot vertical pit, this cave unveils a breathtaking chamber adorned with a cascading waterfall and illuminated by radiant sunbeams. Accessible via rappelling or a walk-in entrance, Stephens Gap Cave promises awe-inspiring vistas and intricate formations. Managed by the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, a permit is required for exploration.

Cathedral Caverns State Park

Within Cathedral Caverns State Park lies one of the world’s largest commercial caves. Its colossal entrance, measuring 126 feet wide and 25 feet high, welcomes visitors into a realm adorned with natural wonders. Among its features stands Goliath, a towering stalagmite reaching 45 feet in height and 243 feet in circumference. Guided tours spanning 1.5 miles and lasting approximately 90 minutes unveil the cave’s marvels, including a frozen waterfall and a mysterious underground river.

Russell Cave National Monument

More than a mere cave, Russell Cave National Monument serves as an archaeological site shedding light on the prehistoric Native American cultures of the Southeast. Sheltering inhabitants from 10,000 BC to 1650 AD, this cave bears witness to millennia of human history. Visitors can explore artifacts and remnants of ancient civilizations at the visitor center before embarking on a brief journey to the cave entrance, where traces of past habitation await discovery.

DeSoto Caverns

Named after the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto, DeSoto Caverns offers a family-friendly blend of entertainment and education. With a storied past as a Native American burial site, a saltpeter mine, and even a speakeasy, this cave boasts a rich tapestry of history. Guided tours feature captivating formations such as the Crystal Room and the Indian Burial Room, accompanied by a light and sound spectacle. Visitors can also enjoy an array of activities including gemstone panning and mini golf.

Rickwood Caverns State Park

Rickwood Caverns State Park stands as a testament to the transformative power of water and time on limestone. Dating back an estimated 260 million years, these caverns harbor fossilized remnants of ancient marine life. Guided tours offer insights into the cave’s geological wonders, showcasing formations like stalactites, stalagmites, and flowing stone structures. The park also offers amenities such as camping grounds, picnic areas, and a seasonal swimming pool.

Neversink Pit

Drawing enthusiasts from around the globe, Neversink Pit is a natural marvel revered by cavers, photographers, and nature enthusiasts alike. Plummeting 162 feet to its floor, this sinkhole features a cascading waterfall amidst verdant foliage. Home to rare bat and salamander species, Neversink Pit is protected by the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, requiring permits and appropriate equipment for exploration.

Fern Cave

Alabama’s largest cave, Fern Cave, boasts over 15 miles of mapped passages teeming with biodiversity. Hosting more than 130 species, including the world’s largest colony of gray bats, this cave offers a glimpse into a thriving underground ecosystem. Accessible through the Surprise Pit entrance, visitors are treated to the awe-inspiring Fern Grotto, adorned with lush ferns and cascading waterfalls. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, access is restricted to preserve its fragile ecology.

Manitou Cave

A custodian of Cherokee heritage, Manitou Cave preserves the legacy of its native inhabitants. Adorned with Cherokee inscriptions and featuring a sacred spring, this cave offers a window into the cultural tapestry of the region. Operated by a non-profit organization, guided tours and special events provide insights into the cave’s historical significance.


Alabama beckons adventurers to embark on a journey into its subterranean realm, where natural wonders and cultural heritage intertwine. From captivating landscapes to rich historical narratives, these caves and caverns promise unforgettable experiences. Whether seeking a day trip or a weekend escapade, Alabama’s underground attractions offer a treasure trove of discoveries awaiting exploration.

Leave a Comment