Stephen’s Gap, Jackson County AL

This is a Southeastern Cave Conservation property and requires a free permit to visit, which can be obtained online here.  They manage 31 preserves in 6 states, some with hiking or camping and all with caves!  Check them out!

Plan ahead for this location, they have 25 slots per day and weekends can fill up fast plus they need about 48 hours leeway for turnaround on permit approval, though they can be much faster.

I visit as a hiker only, I don’t rappel or cave on my own.

The trail is well marked and .8 mile one way.  The first half is fairly flat, the last half climbs a little and then a lot, but the sound of the falls will perk up any flagging hikers.  The hardest part is nearly the end.

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The falls come out of a little cave and trickle down, the bulk of the water funnels into a narrow tube that comes out in the pit cave opening.

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Above is the opening of the lefthand side in the below shot.
To enter the cave as a hiker, facing the waterfall opening, look left and down.  That other huge opening is the walk-in entrance, even though it looks steep and scary, it’s not hard at all to navigate.
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After carefully climbing down the rock fall, there’s a large opening that is easy to move around in.

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Theory taking some shots, to get to the pedestal in the lower shot, climb down the creek and then up to the pedestal staying close to the rock wall.  This is the easiest and safest way,  though not the driest.

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Things to bring: a flashlight for checking out nooks and crannies, water, hiking poles, wear shoes with good traction, clothing will get damp if not outright wet due to many tiny waterfalls all over inside the cave room.

The cave floor is slick where there is mud, sliding and/or butt planting is possible. Don’t wear your best stuff.  The SCCI website has directions for disinfecting clothing and gear before and after being in a cave to protect bats.  If you have been in another cave ahead of your visit, please follow their directions for cleaning anything you may also wear or bring into this cave.  Working together is the only way to keep places like this accessible for the next generation!

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