Where? Stephen’s Gap Cave is in the town of Woodville, which is part of Jackson County situated in North Alabama. If you type 8408 County Rd 30 into the map on your phone, that should get you there. Definitely look very closely at a map before you go and make sure have a record or print-out of directions since cell service goes in and out.
Trail length? It’s about 1.3 miles roundtrip (out and back).
How hard are we talkin’? After parking in a gravel/dirt field, the trail starts out really easy and relatively flat. There are trail markers on several trees along your way. Be sure you look for these because there are other well worn paths along the way that will take you in another direction. As the path starts uphill, you will notice that it’s narrow in many spots. If it’s rained or ice has melted, the ground is very muddy. Sometimes you can’t tell how bad it is until you see notice your feet above your head. Once you near the top, you will hear the waterfall that flows into the cave. The top entrance is a 150 foot drop straight to the bottom. There is a narrow ledge people like to walk on that takes you to the very edge of this entrance. FYI: in 2015 someone did fall to their death. Happy thoughts! The walk down entrance is very obvious-you can’t miss it.
The hill above the cave leads to another waterfall! I didn’t know it was there until my 4th trip, because most people don’t know about it.
Can I swim there? All that water doesn’t lead to any place to swim.
Best time to go? Early morning! If you want to see the sun shining directly onto the pedestal, get there by 8am. It varies depending on the weather and the time of year. Generally 8-11 is a good time, but the lighting in the cave varies a lot. Every time I’ve been it’s been a little different due to different weather conditions. I’ve never stayed in the cave past 2pm or so.
Any other details? You must obtain a permit at scci.org and also sign a waiver. It’s best to give them as much notice as possible, but 48 hours is required.
Leave no trace: I’ve seen everything from a pair of men’s underwear and a broken glass inside the cave at this beautiful spot. The people at scci visit often and they expect everyone to be thoughtful consumers of this beautiful natural resource. Take your underwear home with you!