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“Nice Off-the-Beaten Path Visit - Not Far from Chattanooga”

Russell Cave National Monument
Attraction details
Reviewed 21 May 2014

Russell Cave National Monument was an interesting way to spend a couple of hours in the beautiful outdoors. It's a small site, run by the National Park Service. There are hiking trails, a visitor's center, some educational exhibits, and an introductory film. The most fascinating thing about this cave is that it is the only site with artifacts covering all four historical periods from 10,000 BC to 1650 AD. You can walk back to the cave to see how it was used by the Native Americans throughout its history. The woods are lovely, the Park Service staff are very friendly and knowledgeable, and it was a nice afternoon break from the city.

1  Thank Martha A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"nature trail"
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"stream flowing"
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"nice walk"
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"native americans"
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"picnic area"
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"staff was very friendly"
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"on display"
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49 - 53 of 72 reviews

Reviewed 16 April 2014

This is a great visit if you are in the area or nearby. We live in Chattanooga, TN and so the trip was not too out of the way at 50 miles and we had already planned on visiting a state park that was about 30 miles from home so the 20 extra miles wasn't much. I don't think it would it is worth going out of your way for, unless like my husband and I you don't mind just getting out for a long relaxing drive. It is a beautiful area, visitor center is nice, the volunteer and ranger were extremely friendly and knowledgeable, but there is not much else to do but view the cave entrance, take the short hike and get your National Park Passport Book stamped. We arrived early morning on a Sunday morning and had the place to ourselves. We took the boardwalk to the cave entrance (this is wheel chair accessible) and snapped a few pictures. We were too early for the guided tour but I think it would have made it much more enjoyable to hearing the history while viewing the cave (tours offered at 11:00). After less than 10 minutes we were ready to head on.
After viewing the cave entrance we decided to take the 1.2 mile hike that is off the boardwalk. This is roughly paved so you will have a good grip for your sneakers. We have just moved from Florida where it is pretty flat so it was a bit of a challenge to make it to the top! The trail does zig zag up the mountain and down the mountain and it is kind of steep. Bring some water!
The visitor center is clean, informative and as I said earlier staffed with very nice, helpful people. There is a small gift shop, a vending machine and restrooms.

Thank lspencer09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2014

Many years since I visited this site. Just as beautiful as I remembered. It is better protected now, they have a very nice visitor center, with a film and some good displays, but you can no longer see the actual diggings. The floor of the cave is protected by a boardwalk. Easy trip to cave. Well worth a visit.

Thank Judy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 November 2013

Let me caveat this review with a few things. First, We are avid visitors and supporters of the national park system and have visited at least 3/4 of the facilities they own. Second I have hunted my whole life, am more than comfortable around firearms, and have a law enforcement background.

I mention this because we decided to make use of the loop trail up above the cave and visitors center. In most instances this would have been a nice hike up the mountain with some scenic views of the Alabama countryside below. In our case it became an issue of being scared out of our wits. About the time we reached the high point of the trail, we began to hear gunshots. I assumed its probably deer season around these parts and no big deal until we were nearly hit by rounds passing by us. One close enough I could hear the whiz of the bullet, the second hitting a nearby tree. Not having much in the way of cover, we got off that mountain as soon as possible.

I mentioned this to the volunteer at the visitor center and she said, "well she thought it was deer season". Needless to say what could have been an enjoyable hike and learning experience of the Native American history of the cave, left us feeling lucky one of us wasn't seriously wounded or worse.

The monument is located about 5 miles off the highway and its imperative you pay attention to the directional signs to find the park.

1  Thank BorealForestDweller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 4 September 2013

The visitor center displays explain a lot about the history of this place. This isn't spelunking of any sort, but a nice walk to the entrance of the cave area which has been used by native peoples for centuries. The folks ar the center just could not have been nicer, they set up the movie for just us two and talked and talked, and it was all just so interesting. Then, just as the rain let up. we walked the path down and went into the cave area. They have a few dioramas set up...we found it very interesting just for the history of the place. It's not far off the highway, it's donation only (we left a ncie one!) and we found it well worth the visit. You could picnic there or do more hiking and sightseeing too. Lots of birds and small wildlife, plus it is just so scenic!

Thank Uffinmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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