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Whether it’s geologically a sink hole or a cave, the remarkable pit known as Neversink in northern Alabama is an inspiration to 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. On the way to a floor that is more than twice as wide as the opening, the view for rapellers 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 word of caution: The view from the bottom is only open to experienced climbers, and it requires a permit. But just a glimpse from the top is worth the strenuous hike to get there.

After a few years of trying to preserve the pit in its pristine state, in 1995 the Southeastern Cave Conservancy gathered funds from donations and bought the property outright. They maintain and oversee its use for visitors and cavers alike, and keep tabs on ecological issues. They ask that all who make the trip follow their guidelines, especially when it comes to the vulnerable bat population. Controlling the devastating fungus that can result in white nose syndrome is crucial for everyone to help combat.

Know Before You Go

The pit is outside of Fackler in northern Alabama, about 15 miles north of Scotsboro. It is accessible via a fairly strenuous 30-minute hike from a small parking area on an unnamed road. For information on how to find and follow the right trail, obtain a climbing permit, and advice on training, contact the Southeastern Cave Conservancy.

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