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Neversink Pit
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This natural wonder drops 16 stories straight down through rare flora and streaming waterfalls.

Somewhere between a sinkhole and a cave, the remarkable pit known as Neversink in northern Alabama is a geological wonder that inspires photographers and climbers in equal measure.

One of the most photographed sinkholes in the United States (if not the world), the pit is 40 feet wide at the top, with a cavity that drops a dramatic 162 feet to a floor that’s more than twice as wide as the opening. On the way down, the view for rappelers is one of ice sheets in the winter, ribbony waterfalls after spring rains, and lush, rare ferns that drip down the sides in summer.

A Nature Preserve in a Giant Hole

After a few years of trying to preserve the pit in its pristine natural state, the Southeastern Cave Conservancy gathered funds from donations and bought the property outright in 1995. The group now maintains and oversees its use for visitors and cavers, and keep tabs on ecological issues. They ask that all who make the trip follow their guidelines, especially when it comes to protecting the vulnerable bat population and various endangered plant species that call this pit home.

Know Before You Go

The pit is outside of Fackler in northern Alabama, about 15 miles north of Scottsboro. It is accessible via a fairly strenuous 30-minute hike from a small parking area on an unnamed road off County Road 264. The view from the bottom of the pit is only open to experienced climbers and requires a permit. But even a glimpse from the top of the hole is worth the hike to get there. For information on how to find and follow the right trail, obtain a climbing permit, and advice on training, see the Southeastern Cave Conservancy website.

Content originally created for Atlas Obscura.

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