Russell Cave National Monument Overview
A small cave in the northeastern-most corner of Alabama, Russell Cave served as a home for Prehistoric Indians for over 8,000 years. Russell Cave National Monument was established on May 11,1961 when 310 acres donated by the National Geographic Society to the American people were set aside to protect the site and its surroundings. Museum exhibits tell a story of the people that lived in this limestone cave with the artifacts they left behind.
A short walking trail to the cave shelter offers an opportunity to see the living conditions of these Native Americans. A 1.2-mile loop trail takes you through the Oak-Hickory forest, which served as the food supply for these early people.
The park is located 7 miles north of Bridgeport, Alabama. Take County Road 75 north from Bridgeport for approx. 4 miles, turn right on County Road 98, entrance is approx. 3 miles on your left. Visitation is highest in summer months: lowest during winter months. The park is open daily, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed December 25. Summers are generally hot and humid. Winters are generally mild. Warmer clothing is recommended in winter; light clothing in summer.
Facilities at the park include an information Center, Archaic man exhibit, Woodland man exhibit, and Mississippian man exhibit. Trails include a steep nature trail: 0.6 miles; steep hiking trail: 1.2 miles, and cave trail: 0.1 mile. Demonstrations of Prehistoric Tools and Weapons are given for larger groups when staffing allows. Educational programs for school age groups are available with reservations.
A variety of lodging and camping options are available in the area. There are no overnight facilities within the park.
Learn more about the Cave's:
About Your Visit
Some of the artifacts found in the cave are displayed at the visitor center museum. On request and depending on park staff availability, demonstrations are given on weapons and tools from the Archaic period and on food preparation and cooking methods. During the growing season an Indian garden features plants likely grown by cave inhabitants. The park's Indian Day Festival is held annually on the third Saturday of every April.
Entrance into cave passages, except on the walkways around the archaeological exhibit, is allowed only with written permission of the superintendent. Near the cave is a 0.6-mile trail featuring plants used by the cave's inhabitants and a 1.2-mile hiking trail. A minimum of one hour is recommended to visit the museum area and cave shelter area; add one or two more hours for the hiking and nature trails. Audio visual programs vary from 10 minutes to 1 hour. Visitors can picnic in a designated area, but no fires, cooking, or camping is allowed.
Organized groups may arrange for guided tours. Russell Cave is 8 miles west of Bridgeport, AL. From U.S. 72, follow County Road 75 west to Mount Carmel. Turn right on County Road 98 and follow to park entrance on left.
For more information write to the Superintendent, Russell Cave National Monument, Bridgeport, AL, 35740.
For Your Safety: Please do not run on the trails. Stay on them and do not take shortcuts. The hiking trail is steep and arduous. There are hidden dropoffs, sinkholes, and other natural hazards.
Bookstore, operated by Eastern National Parks and Monument Association
The Visitor Center and Museum are accessible. Wheelchairs are not available. Parking is available at the Park Visitor Center.
Reservations for school groups and other educational groups should be made in advance. At least one month's notice and application for Special Use Permits is required. Off-trail activities require a permit. Please note that the wild caving permit system has been temporarily suspended while environmental impact studies are being conducted.
Adjacent Visitor Attractions:
Little River Canyon National Preserve, Ft. Payne, AL; Chickamauga Chattanooga Battlefield, Ft. Oglethorpe, GA.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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