Corbitt's National Parks
     Russell Cave
               National Monument



1961: National Monument

Size: 310 acres

2012 visitors: 20,954

Stamp: ?

Rating (1-5): Unrated

About the Site

Russell Cave has been a favorite gathering place for inhabitants of northeast Alabama for thousands of years. Bands of prehistoric Native Americans used the cave for shelter, and the surrounding forest provided food, cover and tools, and wood for their fires. It appears the cave has been continuously inhabited from prehistoric times up until European explorers came to the area, spanning 10,000 years. The story of the people of Russell Cave is one of adaptation and survival.

Scientists can read the clues left behind by these people, and we can learn about them and their way of life. No other place in the region offers so many clue to how the first Americans lived.

What You're Going to See

The visitor center is only about 200 yards from the cave entrance. A paved path leads the way. There is also a 1.2 mile nature hike that's moderately strenuous. Park Rangers offer demonstrations throughout the day on Native American tools, weapons, and ways of life. Demonstrations of American Indian flutes and flute music are available.

Birdwatching and other wildlife viewing is encouraged. There is a Junior Ranger program for the kids.

Personal Observations

I keep thinking of the Professor on Gilligan's Island when I think of this site.

Getting There

From Birmingham, take I-59 northeast for 100 miles to exit 231. Take that exit and continue north on highway 117 for about 23 miles to US 72. Take US 72 north for maybe 6 miles, then take county road 75 west for about a mile to Mt. Carmel. Take county road 98 north for 4 miles to the Monument entrance on the west.

Nearby Attractions

Little River Canyon National Preserve is about 40 miles to the south. In Georgia, Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park is 35 miles to the east, and Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is about 100 miles southeast. Up in Tennessee, 80 miles to the northwest, is Stones River National Battlefield, and 90 miles to the northeast is the Obed Wild and Scenic River.