Tuesday, August 5, 2014

#68 Alamo Cave (100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida)

Looking up to the entrance of Alamo Cave
Alamo Cave, now part of Hinson Conservation & Recreation Area in Marianna, is #68 on our list of 100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida.

Please click here to see the entire list as it is unveiled.

When most people think of publicly accessible caves in Jackson County, they rightfully think of Florida Caverns State Park. The development of Hinson Conservation & Recreation area, however, has created another great opportunity to see a beautiful Jackson County cave that is preserved in its natural state.

Entrance to Alamo Cave
Accessible by way of the nature trails that lead north along the Chipola River from the parking area, the cave is large and airy.  Two main entrances provide good lighting for explorers, but flashlights are recommended.

Alamo Cave takes its name from a nearby archaeological site that produced numerous points and other artifacts in the years when the land was still in private hands.  The mass of arrowheads and points found in the field near the cave created a legend that a group of prehistoric American Indians had found themselves trapped in there by their enemies, Alamo style.

Inside Alamo Cave
In reality, the adjacent site is a large Archaic settlement and manufacturing site that dates back to before the time of Christ. Prehistoric people made tools, points and other artifacts there.  Archaeologists from the University of West Florida explored and documented the site this summer, with special permission from the state and City of Marianna.

The archaeological team also found evidence of a small Weeden Island settlement or campsite near the cave. This second site dated back perhaps 1,500 years and was from the Woodland era when prehistoric people made pottery, pursued organized religion and became very aware of astronomy and the movement of the sun and stars.

Chipola River near Alamo Cave
The archaeological sites are protected by law and digging is prohibited!  Please help preserve them for future generations.  Interpretive signs to help visitors learn more are under discussion.

The rear entrance of Alamo Cave opens onto a high bluff overlooking the Chipola River.  The scenery is spectacular and below is a second cave system, the Ovens, which is accessible only by water. The nature trail leads up across the bluff and down to tiny but beautiful Lily Spring on the other side. Click here to learn more about Lily Spring.

Lily Spring at Hinson Conservation & Recreation Area
To see Alamo Cave and some of the most spectacular views anywhere along the Chipola River, stop by Hinson Park & Recreation Area.  The entrance is located on State Highway 73 on the south side of Marianna. From the courthouse, travel south past WTYS Radio and start looking for the sign on your left. If you are using GPS, enter Gator Hole Lane, Marianna, Florida.

The park is open daily and is under the management of the City of Marianna. Among its beautiful features is Alamo Cave, which ranks as #68 on our list of 100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida.

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