Fern Cave National Wildlife Refuge is a 199-acre National Wildlife Refuge located in northeastern Alabama, near Paint Rock, Alabama in Jackson County. More than 1,200 visitors per year visit the refuge.
Fern Cave is home to America's largest wintering colony of gray bats. A vast majority of these bats only hibernate in 8 different caves.
There is no visitor center for this refuge. Fern Cave National Wildlife Refuge is located on the western slope of Nat Mountain. If you are coming from Huntsville, take US Highway 72 East to Gurley. North of Gurley, turn left on Jackson County 500 just after US Highway 72 crosses the Paint Rock River. CR 500 is closed at a gate but access by foot traffic is still allowed. Road access is extremely difficult. Follow the old road as it winds along the Paint Rock River down the southwest base of Nat Mountain and look for National Wildlife Refuge signs.
Fern Cave is a satellite refuge of the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge Complex in nearby Decatur, AL. Fern Cave NWR is currently unstaffed and all management activities are carried out by Wheeler NWR staff.
Contact us at The Administration Office:
Dwight Cooley, Project Leader
2700 Refuge Headquarters Rd.
Decatur, AL 35603
Phone: (256) 353-7243
Fax: (256) 340-9728