Cathedral Caverns are one of those wonders of nature that is hard to describe. Pictures don't do it justice.
The entrance is huge, 126 feet wide and 25 feet high. One of the first things you will see is a sharks tooth embedded in the ceiling. Proof that Alabama was once covered with ocean water.
The special lighting enhances the beauty of the stalagmite formations. The Mystery River crosses the cavern from east to west. They know the rivers source, a river that runs above the caverns, but the rivers destination is unknown.
The total explored and surveyed length of all passages is 11,012 ft, over 2 miles. The cavern is a very comfortable 60 degrees all year long which makes it a perfect destination any time of the year.
Some of the formations in the caverns include, “Goliath”- a huge stalagmite measuring 45 feet tall and 243 feet around, a "frozen" waterfall, and a stalagmite forest.
Mr. Jay Gurley began exploring the caverns in 1953. Mr. Gurleys wife was responsible for naming the caverns when she said that it looks like a grand cathedral and it really does. Funny enough, the caverns were originally called Bat Cave.
Another option available at the park is gemstone "mining." Bags or buckets of mining material are purchased, starting at $6.00, depending on the size of the container. The material is then panned for the gemstones, which can be identified from the displayed poster.
The Welcome Center is open at 9:00 daily.
We paid adult admission of $18.00 for the cave tours. Age 5 and under are free. They offer special school rates and group rates. They suggest that you call for pricing based upon the group size and ages.
The Park has camping and backpacking available. "Improved" campsites have electricity and water hook-ups, and a bath house is available near the250 campsites. These sites are available on a first come first serve basis, for $20 per night.
Back country camping is also available, and offers a real experience of "roughing it." Fees are $5.00 per person, and all backpackers must register a minimum of an hour before sunset. The hike to the available camping areas is approximately 3/4 mile, at an incline. The hike is strenuous with gear!
To see all the images in a large lightbox, visit the gallery: Cave Tour at Cathedral Caverns
This article was contributed by Barb Lindsoe. For more about Barb, see our authors page here: Editors, Authors and Guest Travelers
For more information about Cathedral Caverns State Park, see their website, here: Cathedral Caverns Alabama
Cathedral Caverns is located at:
637 Cave Road
Woodville, AL 3576