July 20, 2024
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zoomed in shot taken with iphone of all the glow worm larvae at night at dismals canyon alabama. they look like multi-colored dots-a million of them

Halloween in Alabama: A Unique Road Trip Adventure

Halloween in Alabama isn’t just about trick-or-treating for the kids. Nope. We adults can have a great time too! If you’re looking for something different to do this Halloween, the unique road trip adventure I took might just fit the bill. Intrigued? You should be because Alabama is serving up a super-interesting menu here!

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Halloween in Alabama

closeup of a turkey on a narrow back road with green foliage in the background in Alabama

This unique Halloween adventure was actually done both as a road trip and a day trip on Halloween. It’s an easy day trip from Birmingham as well as most of North Alabama.

However, if you are deeper in Central Alabama or in any part of South Alabama, it will be a bit harder for you to do this adventure as a day trip. More realistically, it would be an overnight trip or in combination with other plans as a weekend trip.

The day consisted of three main parts: the restaurant, the cemetery, and the canyon. Curious? Let’s get to it!

Rattlesnake Saloon

closeup of "Rattlesnake Saloon" on a dark wooden board hanging in the cave of the restaurant in Alabama

The Rattlesnake Saloon is truly one of the most interesting restaurants out there. Located in Tuscumbia, Alabama, it got its name when workers found a nest of rattlers during its construction. 

overview of the restaurant built into the caveside with green foliage and the blue sky above

Nestled in a natural cave once inhabited by Native Americans, the Saloon offers a family-friendly environment. 

closeup of a sandwich and fries at Rattlesnake Saloon

A local family-owned establishment, the restaurant serves good ol’ bar comfort food such as burgers, nachos, salads, skunk rings, snake tails, and more. Beer and wine are served but only after 5pm. .

small hut labeled Saloon Taxi Pickup with a white pickup truck beside it and people in the back against a blue sky in Alabama
a road side winding up a hill and around a curve from the Rattlesnake Saloon to the parking lot surrounded by green trees

The whole experience is quite unique from the shuttle ride in and out in the back of a truck to all of the natural scenery. Why not start out Halloween in Alabama with this themed restaurant?

ittle hut labeled "Saloon Taxi Pickup" with an RV campground in the background against a blue sky in Alabama

Parking is provided near the restaurant and RV lot. There is a little shelter station called the Saloon Taxi Pickup where you can avoid the weather (both sun and rain) while you wait for your ride.

If you’re worried about the heat, you definitely don’t need to be. I couldn’t believe how cool it was underneath the cave. There is literally a season of a difference in the temps!

Coon Dog Cemetery

trees with colorful leaves on the ground and a sign hanging from one tree that says "Coon Dog Cemetery" and has an arrow that points left in Alabama

Next up, leave the Rattlesnake Saloon and head on over to the Coon Dog Cemetery! It’s only an 18 minute drive and well worth the time to continue your uniquely themed Halloween in Alabama adventure.

So, the tagline to this site is “All Adventures. All Alabama”. There is no greater example of this tagline than that of the Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard!

an overview of many different grave makers with colorful flowers with trees in the background. There is one large tree in the foreground that has a sign saying "only cemetery of its kind in the world". All in Alabama.

The ONLY one of its kind on planet Earth…yes, this cemetery is world-famous. Only coon dogs can be buried at the nearly 100-year-old graveyard.

Key Underwood’s coon dog, Troop, was the first to be buried here. Mr. Underwood said he never meant to start a graveyard. He just wanted to honor his best friend.

a statue two coon dogs trying to climb a real tree at the coon dog cemetery in Alabama

Today, over 185 coon dogs have been laid to rest in the historic canine cemetery. I even saw one from Scotland! It has become quite the popular tourist attraction and definitely worth seeing.

closeup of a sign on a tree that says "For coon dog burial information call 256-412-5970" in Alabama

There are strict burial guidelines in place. The owner must declare the dog an authentic coon dog. A witness must see and declare the dog an authentic coon dog. Finally, a member of the Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard, Inc. must also view and declare the dog a coon hound!

I enjoyed walking around looking at all of the grave markers and reading the names of the cherished dogs and what their owners wanted us to know about them!

Dismals Canyon

giant boulders covered in green moss with a split in the middle showing a small carved staircase at dismals canyon in alabama

After adequate time at the Coon Dog Cemetery, it’s now time to head to your third and final (major) stop on this Alabama Halloween road trip adventure! Driving to Dismals Canyon is a bit longer but still not bad at 48 minutes.

giant boulders with a cave entrance and Heather from Alabama Bucket List standing out front in a shirt with a pumpkin face

Located in Phil Campbell, Alabama, Dismals Canyon is a National Natural Landmark. The sandstone gorge is nestled in the foothills of the Appalachians and features gigantic boulders, waterfalls, hiking trails, caves, grottos, and…Dismalites. More on that in a moment. 

Hiking Dismals Canyon

a stream with reflection of trees in the fall in dismals canyon in alabama

When you first arrive, hike down to the canyon’s floor while you still have good lighting. The fourth most biologically diverse state in the country, Alabama features so much of that diversity here in Dismals Canyon. 

Among highlights to look out for, Rainbow Falls, Pulpit Rock, Weeping Bluff, and Fat Man’s Misery really stood out. It truly is mind blowing to know this exists in Sweet Home Alabama!

christmas trees and christmas items in the country store at dismals canyon alabama

There is even a country store featuring plenty of Christmas if you want to get a jump-start on the upcoming season!

Dinner at Backwoods Grill & Fish Camp

sunset with pink, blue and purple swirls behind the small country restaurant backwoods grill & fish camp in alabama

After you wrap up your exploration of Dismals Canyon, take a short drive to nearby Backwoods Grill & Fish Camp for a dinner break. It’s the perfect place to grab good grub in a small, locally-owned restaurant. Let’s face it, you aren’t close to much anyway so this down home place did a great job in terms of the location of their establishment!

closeup of country fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, coleslaw, and toast on a white plate at backwoods grill & fish camp in alabama
closeup of grilled cheese and tater tots with a dill pickle on a white oval plate at country restaurant backwoods grill & fish camp in alabama

Tasty menu items include shrimp plates, whole catfish, Polish sausage, cheese sticks, grizzly burgers, and tater tots. In other words, you can’t go wrong!

Dismal Canyon Glow Worms

So, back to those dismalites I mentioned earlier. In my opinion, they fit right in with this Halloween in Alabama theme! 

white and red lights all along the ceiling and wrapped around the polls in the outdoor area at dismals canyon alabama

Dismalites or “glowworms” are extremely rare. Close cousins to the glowworms found in Australia and New Zealand, these bioluminescent beauties need a very specific humid environment in which to survive. 

While Alabama isn’t the only place they can exist in the United States, it’s more-or-less the only place they do exist.

closeup of a glow worm taken with an iphone. the larvae is a light aqua and the background looks purple at dismals canyon alabama

iPhone Photo: Truly need a tripod which isn’t allowed on tours. 

People come from all over to see these incredible creatures. Personally, I have been dying to see the ones in Australia. So, of course, I wanted to see the cousins right here in my home state!

Unfortunately, you can’t just waltz in on your date of choice and expect to see the Dismalites. Visitors must book a tour and these tours typically sell out rather quickly. Also, they are not year-round. Normally, they are March through the end of October with highest viewing ability in May to September. 

zoomed in shot taken with iphone of all the glow worm larvae at night at dismals canyon alabama. they look like multi-colored dots-a million of them

iPhone photo blown up

While they only last 45 minutes, the tour is very worth it to get a glimpse of the larvae that light up the canyon like stars in the night sky!

With the conclusion of our Dismalites tour came the conclusion of our Alabama Halloween road trip adventure. But oh, what a fun adventure day it was!


pinterest graphic with waterfall in the background and the title "halloween in alabama" over the top
pinterest graphic with Heather from Alabama Bucket List standing under gigantic boulders in the background and the title "halloween in alabama" over the top
pinterest graphic with the multi-colored dots of the glow worm in the background and the title "halloween in alabama" over the top

So, how’s that for a Halloween in Alabama plan? Unique, right? These are three places and activities you can’t find anywhere else in the United States! I thoroughly enjoyed the day I put together and I hope you do too!

Have you been to any of these places? If so, what were your thoughts? What was your favorite? If not, which one would be at the top of your Halloween in Alabama bucket list? Let me know below!



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