For more than 10,000 years, Russell Cave National Monument was home to prehistoric peoples. Russell Cave provides clues to the daily lifeways of early North American inhabitants dating from 6500 B.C. to 1650 A.D. Junior ranger program available here.
Russell Cave seems to be an attraction that we just can't get enough of. We've found ourselves stopping on several occasions when we've been in the area.
A fan of National Parks and Historic Sites, this National Monument doesn't disappoint as long as you aren't expecting a cave that you can climb around in. Visitors are only permitted inside the mouth of the cave.
Your visit will begin at the Visitors Center (which seem to have some of the cleanest restrooms I've ever seen) where you will be able to spend a few minutes viewing the small museum collections that are on display. You'll also be able to watch a short (less than 10 minutes long) film that will give you a brief history of the cave and the nomadic people that once called the area home.
Leaving the Visitors Center, you will be able to walk along a boardwalk (handicap and stroller accessible) a short distance to the mouth of the cave. You'll find a ranger nearby to give a short presentation and to answer any questions that you may have. There are also various demonstrations at different times and events throughout the year.
On the way back to the Visitors Center you will see a trail off the boardwalk that is labeled Nature Trail. A word of caution: though the trail is less than 2 miles in length, it is steep going up and coming back down. It is also paved and can be very slippery in damp weather. The trail is mentioned and reccommened in the Falcon Guide: Alabama Hikes and I have to say that after walking along the trail this past fall, I have to agree. Just make sure you have plenty of water.
Back at the parking lot, you'll find plenty of picnic tables where you can enjoy a leisurely lunch or snack.
This was a great stop for our entire family. Don't forget to take your camera- nature photographers will love this attraction that is also listed on the North Alabama Birding Trail.