Stephen’s Gap, Jackson County, AL

Back in the day, I would hike here every few weeks.  Then, I got pregnant with Journey and everything changed.  I was 20 and 4 months along with him the last time I walked back to the cave.  He turned 21 the end of last year.

The area was closed for a while and was bought by the SCCi and is now on a permit system. That information can be found here.  I filled out my stuff on Monday, got the permission back by that evening and went on Wednesday.  I have read that same-day and even next-day is not always possible.  It’s just a couple of people, not a corporation, so be sure to give some time for a response.

The trailhead location and some important information about the trail will arrive along with the paperwork and your permit.

The trail itself is 8/10 mile with about a 160 foot elevation change. It meanders a bit, then follows a dry creekbed up a fold, then careens to the right to go up and over some boulders and slowly gains the remaining elevation over the final stretch of trail.

There are two entrances to the cave, a pit, complete with DRAMATIC waterfall to rappel into and a walk-in entrance just to the left of the pit.

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We headed in to the cave, taking our time.  The kids both had these ginormous flashlights with at least 1000 lumen each because Paycheck has a THING for flashlights.  I had no flashlight.  They immediately started poking into all the crevasses while I roamed around and took a few shots.

The cave area is big and basically one room.  There is a narrow tunnel where the smaller falls comes from, it has bats so be aware if you go poking around.  At the bottom, the falls go into another opening and disappear.   I have never been down there!

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This is such a unique place in the state, it’s well worth going at least once.  The hike is short and younger kids should be able to manage it easily.  The inside of the cave is slick, but the drops are easy enough to stay back away from.  As with any trip, use common sense and take the time needed to be safe and have fun.

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