There is an extensive network of caverns in Alabama that are primarily located
in the mountains in the north of the state. This makes them easily accessible
from Tennessee, particularly
which is located right on the Alabama border, as well as from northern Mississippi
and Georgia. There are plenty
of cheap hotels in the
vicinity of the Alabama caverns as well as sites for camping
and even some deluxe resorts.
If you want to visit caverns in Alabama you have a number of options. Sequoyah
Caverns and Cathedral Caverns are two of the largest and most popular Alabama
caverns, and both are located near Huntsville.
Sequoyah Caverns is one of the Alabama caverns closest to Chattanooga. In fact, Chattanooga and the state of Tennessee promote this popular tourist site as one of its attractions. It's privately owned, as are many caverns in the United States, and there is an entire historic country homestead here named after the original pioneer family, Ellis. In fact, Ellis descendants still own the site and the Ellis Great Great Great Granddaughter and Grandson work in the caverns today as tour guides. There is a campsite here, with electricity and water hookups. There are horseback riding and hiking trails, and the opportunity to mine for semiprecious gemstones. Tours of Sequoyah Caverns reveal beautiful reflecting pools and a labyrinth of ancient corridors and rooms. Overnight tours are available for youth groups.
Cathedral Caverns State Park is located a short distance from Huntsville near Guntersville Lake, another wilderness area with camping and many other outdoor recreational opportunities. There is only primitive camping within the park, but you will find private campgrounds with full hookups outside the park. After entering through the Cathedral Caverns 25-foot high and 126-foot wide entrance, you will find one of the largest stalagmites in the world (at more than 45 feet high), grand frozen waterfalls, and other majestic formations. There are more than fourteen underground acres to explore, and 461 acres of pristine wilderness above ground.
Other notable Alabama caverns are Rickwood and DeSoto Caverns, also located near Alabama State Parks. DeSoto Caverns is located in the Appalachian foothills less than 36 miles from Birmingham, and DeSoto is the name of the park. The main cavern is more than twelve stories high, and other underground attractions include a rock climbing wall, light and fountain show, a three-quarter acre trail maze, and another opportunity to pan for gemstones such as pyrite, onyx, and rubies. There is a site for full-service camping with electricity and water hookups, and there are good cheap hotels in the area.
Rickwood Caverns State Park is located north of Birmingham, and boasts wonderful limestone formations and more than 200 years of geologic history. There are blind cave fish in the underwater pool, and there is cave diving allowed for the more adventurous spelunkers. The park has a camping and picnic site, hiking trails, and an Olympic sized swimming pool. It's entirely possible that not all the caverns in Alabama have been discovered or fully explored, but those that are open to the public offer visitors the experience of visiting a magical landscape that few have seen.