A few weeks ago I had to make a pottery delivery to the Guntersville Museum so, since that is in such a pretty part of the state, we decided to make a day of it and explore some areas we had never seen before, mainly the Cathedral Caverns State Park. So, we hopped up early one morning and headed north. Guntersville is only about an hour north of us and the caverns are another 30-40 minutes from there I guess. It is a fairly remote area once you get above Guntersville though, so make sure you and your vehicle are fueled up! The land is very pretty and we passed a number of cattle farms coming and going. Let me say also, the sun was very bright that day so that accounts for the horrible look on my face (sorta) and the high contrast in the photos. I didn't take a lot of time to adjust for exposure etc. and you can tell.
This farm was right at the entrance and there were cows there but they were waay off in the distance. The actual entrance to the cave is about another 1-2 miles, if I remember correctly.
This is the newly constructed visitor's center which is very nice but there is not a lot in it. Bring food with you if you think you might want a snack and this area would be very nice for a picnic lunch too. They have lots of shady places with picnic tables and I believe there were a number of hiking trails also.
This is the main entrance to the cave, and again, sorry for the poor photo quality. You can only enter the cave with the park ranger guide and each tour takes about 1 hour. As our crappy luck would have it, we got there right as one tour was starting and it was full of junior high age kids. !#$%*&!! I was willing to wait until the next tour but Jack didn't want to so we ran to catch up to the group, which was still just inside the entrance. One other note, they have nice restrooms in the visitor's center also; use them before you go into the cave. For some inexplicable reason, I guess for effect, the ranger turns out the lights behind the group as you proceed through the cave and doesn't turn them on again until everyone is on the way back out. Therefore, if you need to leave before the tour is over it is difficult. There are handrails all the way but you are in pitch black darkness. Anyway, on to the rest of the cave. They advertise this cave as having the largest entrance in the world but I think many people contest that.
It is impressive though and the history of the cave is very interesting. This is standing just inside the entrance and was the last area that I could get a photo anywhere close to being decent. Maybe with a better camera I could have gotten some more but they all turned out pretty bad. You can go HERE though and see some great photos of the interior. I've been in a number of caves and this one did have some of the largest interior rooms I have ever seen, thus the name Cathedral Caverns. It also sports an underground creek and supposedly, one of the largest stalactites in the world.
Except for being stuck with those stupid kids it was a very enjoyable tour and I would recommend it if you enjoy caves and such. Now, I know there are some great kids in this world but when I am forced to be around some like that bunch I can't help but think, God we are screwed. Half of them couldn't stop fiddling with their stupid phones and the other half wouldn't shut up so we could hear the ranger. And there were adults with them but they were just about useless. As we were coming out a new group was waiting to go on the next tour and wouldn't you know...it was only about 8 or 9 people and they were all adults. LOL! that's my timing sometimes!
When we came out of the caves we heard thunder in the distance and we were hungry so we decided to head for the closest town for a late lunch. We were planning to just wander our way over to the eastern side of the state but on this rare occasion I was driving and Jack was the navigator....and we made a wrong turn and ended up heading back towards Guntersville. So, we said the heck with it and just ate lunch outside there and then stopped at a few quaint stores in Guntersville proper. It's a real nice little southern town with some good restaurants and shopping if you like that sort of thing.