52 Weeks of Fun

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, Land Trust of Northern Alabama

Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge


Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge provides numerous recreation opportunities to thousands of visitors every year. People enjoy viewing the unique geology and diverse wildlife, whether driving or hiking. Sauta Cave itself is gated and not open to the public due to the potential for disturbance of federally endangered gray and Indiana bats.

In the past, the cave served a variety of uses. Cherokee natives mined the soil to make saltpeter for gunpowder. Saltpeter mining continued on occasion across the War of 1812, and the American Civil War. Sauta Cave was one of the largest saltpeter mines operated during the Civil War. Remains of the mining exist in the form of a wooden railroad and large iron kettles; the mining tunnels are now referred to as "The Catacombs".

In 1978, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service acquired the property to protect endangered Indiana and gray bats. The site was originally named the Blowing Wind Cave National Wildlife Refuge. Access to the cave was restricted to scientific research on the bats. In 1999, it was renamed to its current name of Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge.

Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge is located just above the Sauty Creek embayment on TVA's Guntersville Reservoir, seven miles west of Scottsboro in Jackson County. There is an entrance gate to the Refuge on the south side of U.S. Highway 72.

, Trip Advisor
, US Fish and Wildlife Service

A 52 Weeks of Fun Fascinating Fact about Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge

For about an hour at dusk, approximately 400,000 bats leave the Sauta Cave to search for food.

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  • Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge
  • Decatur
  • (256) 353-7243