Sally’s Adventures: Cathedral Caverns State Park

Sally Pitts is back with another episode of Sally's Adventures! Today she takes us underground through Cathedral Caverns--check it out!
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 5:19 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 14, 2023 at 10:29 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WOODVILLE, Ala. (WSFA) - The entrance to Cathedral Caverns in Jackson County is grand, and what lies beyond is breathtaking. Hidden inside the mountain are some of the most beautiful formations, including “Goliath,” one of the largest stalagmites in the world.

Cathedral Caverns State Park Superintendent Chris Bentley said “Goliath” stands at about 45 feet tall and about 200 feet around. A crack in the stalagmite is believed to have been caused by an earthquake in 1812.

The path through the cave is around a mile and a half. The formations along the way seem to come to life.

Other features include the cave Indian and a frozen waterfall.

“By frozen it means frozen in time,” Bentley said.

You can actually get married there in a room that the cavern’s founder’s wife through looked like a cathedral. Bentley pointed out a formation that resembles a church bell and columns that look like what one might see in historical churches.

Originally called the “Bat Cave,” Cathedral Caverns opened to the public in the 1950s. Jacob Gurley is credited with discovering it.

“He was actually going to put a swinging bridge in here at one point in time, and he drove those in those rocks saw how fast they rusted and he scratched that idea,” said Bentley.

Other reminders of Gurley’s time in the cave remain.

“Gurley used to have an old Army Jeep that he cut the top out of and he built that bridge down there where he could fit through that tunnel, and he would come flying down this hill and go across the bridge to make it up the other pathway,” Bentley said.

The state purchased the cave in 1987. It opened as a state park in 2000. It’s one of two state parks with a cave. The other is Rickwood Caverns in Blount County. Both caves are open for visitors to enjoy. The parks offer guided tours.

Bentley said he discovers something new every time he visits the caves.

The temperature stays cool in the caves, so remember to pack a jacket when visiting. The parks also offer gemstone mining and other activities.

Sign up for the WSFA Newsletter and get the latest local news and breaking alerts in your email!