Rickwood State Park; Spectacular for Over 260 Million Years

Alabama - Rickwood State ParkRickwood Caverns State Park is located in Warrior, Alabama. Attraction that this park is known for include its caves, with limestone formations that are 260 million years old, an underground pool and transparent blind cave fish. The park also offers camping, hiking, swimming, geocaching and picnicking.

Part of the National Caves Association, Rickwood Caverns is home to “living formations”. Mineral-filled droplets of water continue to drop from stalactites to stalagmites, thus, creating flowstones and other geological wonders. Walk along Rickwood’s Miracle Mile to see the future formations of the earth, 175 feet beneath the earth. The temperature stays around 60 degrees so it is a good place to cool off during a scorching summer day as well. Guests can also see marine life fossils and fragments of shells along the ceiling and the walls of the cavern, indicating that Rickwood Caverns was once, over 260 millions years ago, an ocean bed. Guided tours of the cave are given most of the year but they do close for winter so calling ahead is advisable. Discounts are given to campers, schools and large groups.

Camping at Rickwood is year-round, although the showers close for winter (November – February). The park has 13 developed campsites; 9 are landscaped and are available for tents as well as motor homes and trailers. Some sites have hook-ups, some do not and primitive camping is also allowed for those who prefer more of a wilderness experience. Although camping is fun in all seasons, camping in the summer is extra fun because of the Olympic-sized swimming pool that is available at Rickwood. The pool, which stays cool because it receives its water from the cave, is open from 10:00 until 5:45 daily for a minimal fee. Visitors can cool down, swim some laps in the lap lane or have fun on the diving boards. Small children can also try the kiddie pool. Lifeguards are on duty during open hours and there is a snack bar for munchies.

Hiking is another fun pastime at Rickwood State Park. Pick up a map of the park so that you can see the marked trails. Explore one of the park’s many trails in any season; each one has its own wonders to be found and beauty to be appreciated. There are more than 3 miles of trails to hike on; some trails are for beginners and are good for young children while some trails are for the more advanced and can be somewhat rugged in terrain. The Fossil Mountain Hiking Trail has shell and leaf imprints on rocks along the trail. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes because you do not want to end up with a blister. A hat, sunscreen, bug repellant, water, a small first aid kit, snacks, a bag for treasures such as pretty fall leaves and, of course, a camera are also important thinks to take on a hike. Other fun things can include a tree identification book and a book on bugs of the region so you can identify what you are admiring.

Bring along some bird books and field guides of the area as well as some binoculars and try a hand at bird-watching. Call to see if the park has a bird check-list (some parks do) of birds in that area. If not, bird check-lists can easily be found online at birding.com. Learning the songs of birds of that area beforehand might help in identifying because even with a field guide filled with photos, if the bird is at the top of the tallest tree you are not going to be able to see it. If you are fortunate, you might see such birds as the wood thrush, the mockingbirds and the bluebird, and maybe even the Northern Flicker – Alabama’s State Bird.

Rickwood State Park is also a fun place to go for the day. Spend the day swimming, hiking and picnicking. Pavilions can be rented out ahead of time and offer such things as grills and shade for picnicking. Children will have fun playing at the playground. Consider taking a tour of the cave even if you are only there for the day – the tours only last one hour and leave plenty of time for more activities.

Rickwood State Park
370 Rickwood Park Rd.
Warrior, AL 35180
205-647-9692
www.alapark.com