Cathedral Caverns of Alabama

Photos by Chris Granger

See one of the largest stalagmite columns in the world at Cathedral Caverns State Park in Marshall County, Alabama. That’s just one of the cavern’s many fascinating formations and activities.

Cathedral Caverns, at 637 Cave Road in Woodville, was opened to the public in the 1950’s.  It was initially called Bat Cave until it was renamed because of its cathedral-like appearance.  Purchased by the state in 1987, it was opened as a State Park in the summer of 2000.

Although the above-ground amenities should not be ignored – camping, hiking and gem mining – the real draw is underground.

Step into the caverns’ massive entrance.  The 126-foot-wide and 25-foot-high entrance is a possible world record for commercial caves.  It’s also accessible to wheelchairs.  Once inside, embark on a 90-minute guided tour of karst topography – sinkholes, underground streams and caves etched into area limestone.

The tours, available year-round and multiple times per day, lead to the appropriately named Goliath, one of the world’s largest stalagmites at 45-feet tall and 243-feet in circumference.

It is just one of the amazing sites in Cathedral Caverns. Other formations include a “frozen waterfall,” a “pipe organ,” a “caveman” perched atop a flowstone wall and “cave bacon.”  There is a large stalagmite forest and maybe the most improbable stone formation – a stalagmite that is 27-feet tall and 3-inches wide.

A stop here is particularly welcome on hot days since the caves’ temperature hovers around a cool 60 degrees. Cathedral Caverns is a short drive from several great north Alabama attractions including: Lake Guntersville, Monte Sano, Desoto and Buck’s Pocket State Parks, Scottsboro, Huntsville, and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.