Cave tours have been the main attraction at Rickwood Caverns since the park was first established in 1954. The caverns are 260 million years old, from the Mississippian Period, and lie 175 feet beneath the earth.
The constant 60 degree temperatures inside of the cave is a relief from the hot Alabama summers and a break from the chill during the winter. Camping, hiking, swimming and even getting married are some other highlights at this 380 acre park.
After your tour of the caves, take a dip in the large pool and then set up your campsite and roast marshmallows under the starlit skies.
Bring a few of your friends or family and have a picnic next to the miniature Blount County Covered Bridge. Or take a hike through the woods and see the old train tracks and the Revolutionary War gravestone in the small cemetery that belonged to the original land owners.
Here’s a closer look at what you’ll discover at Rickwood Caverns State Park:
Cave Tours at Rickwood Caverns State Park
Explore the 260 million year old cave with its many small crevices and formations (stalactites and stalagmites) throughout. These formations are evidence that the cave was created by the ocean, carved out from the water running through.
You’ll also discover an underground pool and blind cave fish once you descend the 175 feet into the cave area.
The caves were ‘discovered’ in the early 1950s by a troop of Boy Scouts and their leader, Eddie Rickles. Rickles thought that everyone should be able to experience a walk through these spectacular caves and helped to develop it into what it is now as well as the park area around it.
Area residents were already aware of these caves when Rickles rediscovered them. The graffiti on the cave walls dates back to the 1890s, years after the family who owned the land accidentally stumbled upon them.
Today, access to this living cave is only possible through a guided tour. The tour is one mile long and takes about an hour to walk through, see everything and then walk up the 110 steps to the exit.
There are free virtual tours available for anyone who is unable to walk through. The virtual tour is guided by one of the original boy scouts who helped to develop the cave for park visitors to enjoy.
At the cave entrance you’ll find a gift shop and a gemstone mining area for the kids.
For the winter holiday season, the cave is transformed into an underground winter wonderland with lights, Santa and seasonal gifts in the gift shop.
Hiking at Rickwood Caverns State Park
There are a few trails at Rickwood Caverns State Park, mostly for walking, hiking and sightseeing. Here some to try:
- Fossil Mountain Hiking Trail – An easy 1.25 mile trail up the limestone mountainside. The trail gets its name from the many leaf and seashell imprints visible in some of the rocks. While you’re searching for these fossils, also keep an eye out for the various plants, wildflowers, butterflies and other wildlife that live here.
- Picnic Loop Trail – Another easy walk, .8 mile. This trail will lead you through a wooded area and past a fenced-in cemetery (from the original property owners) that contains a gravestone of a Revolutionary War Veteran.
- Moss Rock Connector Trail – This .5 mile trail connects to Fossil Mountain Trail and Picnic Loop Trail. If you hike all three trails it comes out to about 2 miles.
- Fitness Loop – A .4 mile flat surface trail around the pool and campground that is ideal for runners. The trail goes through the Miniature Blount County Covered Bridge and past the old train tracks.
Nearby Coldwater Mountain Forever Wild has many more hiking and mountain biking trails. It’s an hour’s drive from Rickwood Caverns in Anniston.
Swimming at Rickwood Caverns State Park
Escape from the summer heat by taking a cooling swim in the Olympic sized swimming pool. The pool water is fed by the chilly waters from the cave.
This seasonal large public pool features a high dive, low dive and a 8’ tall vortex slide. You will need to purchase a wristband in the gift shop before using the pool area. There’s also a kiddie pool and lifeguards on hand.
The pool and large pavilion can be rented for after hours pool parties ($300, 6-8pm).
Wildlife at Rickwood Caverns State Park
Many species make their home in the woods or caves at Rickwood Caverns State Park. Inside the cave you may see salamanders, spiders, tricolor bats and cave crickets and Albino crawfish in the cave lake.
Birdwatchers may spot a bluebird, wren, robin, sparrow, woodpecker or a wild turkey. And with the many creatures in the woods it’s common to see rabbits, squirrels, deer, beaver, foxes and maybe even a turtle or two.
Nearby Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge and Forever Wild Turkey Creek Nature Preserve have trails and the chance to see many more species of birds, mammals and reptiles.
Camping at Rickwood Caverns State Park
The camping area is small and cozy with only 13 sites. 9 of these sites are compatible for RVs and trailers. There are nearby restrooms, water and a bathhouse (the bathhouse is closed seasonally from November through February).
Group camping is also available at a primitive site that can accommodate groups of 20 or more. There is one large fire pit and several picnic tables.
Pets at Rickwood Caverns State Park
Pets are allowed as long as they are leashed. However, they are not allowed inside of the caves, in any of the buildings or in the pool area.
Weddings at Rickwood Caverns State Park
Have you ever thought about getting married inside of a cave? You can at Rickwood Caverns State Park! The first wedding held here in the ‘Bridal Room’ occurred on July 12, 1958 and was televised.
Now Cave Weddings are a booming business here with two choices of different cave rooms and two pavilion rental options for your reception. Plus you can bring your own lighting (colored led bulbs), music, decor and laser projection lights to enhance the mood.
Or if you’d prefer to have the ceremony above ground they also offer the Covered Bridge for weddings. The picturesque miniature Blount County Covered Bridge makes a beautiful backdrop to your special day. And the pavilion next to it seats a hundred guests, and has water and electricity.
Rickwood Caverns State Park
370 Rickwood Park Road Warrior, AL 35180
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Rickwood Caverns State Park:
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