Historic Three Caves

FREE to the public, The Land Trust of Huntsville & North Alabama hosts professionally guided tours each summer in historic Three Caves Quarry.

Private tours are available to civic groups and organizations.  Minimum charge is $25.

Reservations for all cave tours are may be made by calling The Land Trust at 534-5263.  Public Tour Reservations *must* be made by three days in advance of the event.  


Camping in the quarry is available for community youth organizations. A fee of $35.00 is required for each group.
Call The Land Trust at (256) 534-LAND (5263) for reservations.

Historic Three Caves


Three Caves Quest: a program for children 4th grade through 12th grade.

The Quest includes:

  • local geological history of this area;
  • pre-mining, mining and post-mining history of Three Caves;
  • ecological and environmental changes due to the mining of the quarry; and
  • an educational hike to learn about plants and animals in the area.

Groups that attend a Three Caves Quest receive a package including a manual and quizzes, along with adjunct classroom handouts.

Three Caves Quest is offered by reservation only Monday through Friday in the spring, summer and fall. There is a charge for this program.  Call 534-5263 for more information.


Going North on California Street turn right onto Hermitage Drive.  Go to the end of the street and turn left onto Kennamer Street; go to last gate at end of street.  Park in The Land Trust parking lot. Tour guide will meet participants at the information kiosk.


Three Caves is not a cave at all, but a former limestone mine.  The mine began operating on a small basis in the spring of 1945.  The site of Three Caves was owned by Madison County and leased to Madison Limestone Company for five cents per ton of limestone hauled away.

After the war ended, the demand for limestone for construction increased for a fast-growing Huntsville.  At its height, the quarry spawned tons of limestone that paved the majority of Huntsville’s original main streets and parking lots.  The Three Caves Quarry closed in 1952 due to skyrocketing operation costs and the growth of Huntsville.  Open pit mining was more efficient, and a mining operation in the middle of town was unsafe for obvious reasons.

Madison County designated Three Caves as a fallout shelter during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Since the 1980’s, Three Caves has been used as a movie backdrop for films  including “Ravagers,” starring Richard Harris and Ernest Borgnine (using about 350 Huntsville residents as extras) and “What Waits Below” with Timothy Bottoms, as well as a rock video by “Kansas.”**  The locally produced “Like Moles, Like Rats” also prominently features Three Caves.  The former quarry was donated to The Land Trust of Huntsville & North Alabama in 1989.