The Alabaster Caverns State Park is all about the natural alabaster gypsum caves that are the largest in the world open to the public. Take a guided tour daily from 9 AM to 4 PM. If you have a larger group, be sure to make reservations at least two weeks before you’d like the tour. The alabaster caverns may be the main attraction, but there are plenty of other activities at this park, such as camping, picnicking, horseshoes, volleyball, a swimming pool and hiking.
It is believed that the caverns, at the Alabaster Caverns State Park, first started to develop at least two hundred million years ago, when the shallow Western Interior Seaway stretched across America. When this sea started to recede, during the late part of the Cretaaceous period, marine deposits were left behind. Minerals and gypsum were also left on the earth after water evaporation and receding. Then about 60 million years ago the Laramide progeny, a great earth upheaval, brought the gypsum beds up closer to the earth’s surface. Water streams that still existed in the area cause caverns to form over time. Thus, the Oklahoma Alabaster Caverns developed.
Steps lead up to the entrance of the Alabaster Caverns, but because of the cliff overhang and natural vegetation surrounding the entrance it is difficult to see the cave mouth. It is natural for the caverns to be cool and damp. You will feel the temperature drop to about 50 degrees as you enter. Be sure to dress accordingly. It becomes darker and darker as you move further into the caverns. As you hike through, look for boulder formations that have been named, such as “Devil’s Kitchen,“ Ships Prow” and “Crystal Vault.“ The tour path is narrow and steep in some areas. It would be considered a strenuous quarter mile hike. Therefore, it is not recommended for those with disabilities or heart and respiratory ailments. The Alabaster Caverns State Park guided tours of the caverns begin at the top of each hour, 9 AM to 4 PM, daily.
Although biggest attraction of the Alabaster Caverns State Park are the Alabaster Caverns, there are other undeveloped caverns to be explored. However, there is a list of safety requirements and a permit that is needed to hike through them. This can be acquired at the park center office. There are several different species of bats living in the caves, including the Western Big-eared Bat, Cave Myotis, Western Big Brown Bat, Pipistrelle and the Mexican Free-tailed Bat. There are hiking trails throughout Alabaster Caverns State Park, on the surface, leading through Cedar Canyon. Indians and outlaws hunted and camped in this canyon years ago. Trail maps can be found at the park’s center.
There are 22 campsites, 10 modernized and 12 rougher sites. However, all camping sites have grills and picnic tables. Only the modern camp sites are equipped with electricity and running water. There are additional picnic tables and shelters throughout the park for day use. Reservations are accepted for camping sites and the larger sheltered picnic areas. Enjoy the park’s swimming pool during the summer months, Wednesday through Sunday.
Alabaster Caverns State Park
Hwy 50 and Hwy 50-A
Freedom, Oklahoma 73842