Dismals Canyon

Dismals Canyon in Alabama ~ Glow Worm Caves

This spring Kevin and I visited the secluded and mysterious Dismals Canyon in Phil Campbell, Alabama. Dismals Canyon is famous for its glowing caves and unique bioluminescent glow worms!

Dismals Canyon in Alabama ~ Glow Worm Caves

The canyon walking path was gorgeous and Miley and Howie got right to exploring.

Dismals Canyon in Alabama ~ Glow Worm Caves

The Dismals Canyon trail is a short 1.5 mile loop that follows a quiet stream, but you could easily spend all afternoon exploring the canyon.

Dismals Canyon in Alabama ~ Glow Worm Caves

Loved the beautiful high canyon walls covered in moss that would “weep” like a slow, trickling rain drops.

Dismals Canyon in Alabama ~ Glow Worm Caves

The trail had so many fun stairs and stepping stones. Although I guess Howie prefers a more direct approach by cutting straight through the stream!

Dismals Canyon in Alabama ~ Glow Worm Caves

Beautiful Dismals Canyon.

Dismals Canyon in Alabama ~ Glow Worm Caves

It was pretty hot outside, but the canyon is shady and cool.

Dismals Canyon in Alabama ~ Glow Worm Caves

Time for a swim!

Dismals Canyon in Alabama ~ Glow Worm Caves

There were even a few very narrow passageways to squeeze through!

Dismals Canyon in Alabama ~ Glow Worm Caves

Loved these fiery walls.

Dismals Canyon in Alabama ~ Glow Worm Caves

Dismals Canyon in Alabama ~ Glow Worm Caves

At the end of the trail, this fallen tree was turned into a bridge to cross to the other side of the stream.

Dismals Canyon in Alabama ~ Glow Worm Caves

The trail made its way back to the beginning of the canyon, crossing one final swinging bridge leading to the entrance.

Dismals Canyon in Alabama ~ Glow Worm Caves

Dismals Canyon in Alabama ~ Glow Worm Caves

What makes Dismals Canyon so unique are the mysterious glow worms, also known as Dismalites. The canyon is home to these rare and tiny phosphorescent “glow worms” that light up the canyon bluffs like a thousand stars on a dark night. The canyon offers guided twilight tours to see these unique creatures, and is a completely magical experience. Dismals Canyon was such a fun day trip, I loved spending the afternoon here and meeting the Dismalites.

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77 Responses
  1. Kim Brooks

    I’ve been following your blog for a couple years now and was surprised to see that you came to Florence and the Dismals. They don’t seem to be well known in other parts of the state so it’s nice to see other people are hearing of them as well. I live just outside of Russellville which is just north of the dismals. Next time you are in Florence, you should check out Cupcake & Co. or Yummies in Tuscumbia. Tuscumbia and Florence are truly amazing little towns that have a lot to offer. And also, Happy Anniversary!! My husband and I will celebrate our 10 year next month. Thanks for the great post!!

  2. Pinky

    What GORGEOUS pictures!!! I am visiting from I Heart Organizing and had to say hi! I can not believe how organized you are!!!! OH, Happy Anniversary, a little belated! I’ll be back for sure. XO, Pinky

  3. Amber

    Next time y’all go to Florence, you have simply got! to try Trowbridge’s. They have the absolute best Pimento Cheese sandwich, and all of their ice cream is made in house! They cherry-vanilla is awesome!

  4. Amber

    Next time yall go to Florence, you have got! to try Trowbridge’s. They have the most delicious Pimento Cheese ever! And the ice cream is all home-made. McGraw’s is right down the street and it is a cute little bakery with wonderful espresso!

  5. Sara Johnson

    That looks like a heavenly place to be! I love how green it is and the contrasts with the different kinds of rocks with the greens and browns all around! Completely gorgeous!
    I have been wanting to go hiking up the canyons here in Utah and gosh dern it, there is still alot of snow up there and we keep getting snow. I am not to kean on going hiking in areas where there is alot snow and avalanche danger! YIKES! It is June and we are still getting winter showers up there! Want to come go for a hike and check out our snow?!

  6. Aimee @ Simple Bites

    Happy Anniversary! Wow, you guys got married two weeks after Danny and I did. We celebrated 9 years married while we were in Atlanta for Blogher Food.

    Congratulations! Looks like a marvelous getaway.

  7. Vi

    Hello, Amanda! This isn’t exactly relevant to this post, but I wanted to thank you for all that you do. All of the fonts, crafts, recipes, reviews, tutorials, stories, and ideas are very much appreciated. Even though we may have different tastes at times, I feel that you are such an inspiration. I hope to one day spread joy in this world as you have. Thank you!

  8. Cookin' Canuck

    What a gorgeous spot! It reminds me a lot of the Pacific rain forests in B.C. (Canada) – lush, green, ferns everywhere. You’re making me miss home. Happy Anniversary to you and Kevin.

  9. Star Hughes

    Aw happy anniversary!!! Looks like such a fun trip – how beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing!

    PS any hike with a cupcake shop near the entrance is my kind of place!!

  10. Jessica

    Happy Anniversary! What a beautiful place! It’s going on my list of places to see. I’m super excited that it’s not too far from where we are. Thanks for sharing – I might never had known about it if I hadn’t visited your site. :-)

  11. Vera

    What a wonderful magical place to spend your anniversary in, congratulations! Amazing how your dogs could accompany you too.

  12. mc@nu-trio

    Wow! Those pictures are gorgeous. It looks like a wonderful, relaxing way to spend an anniversary. Those moss-covered canyon walls remind me of a spot near us, the narrows of the beautiful Chattooga River.

  13. Heather

    Hi – These are some great pics! I was wondering about the pink and blue vest/harnesses that the “kids” are wearing. What are those??

  14. Barbara

    Wow, beautiful. It’s so amazing to discover little gems like this. Beautiful pics and it looks like the dogs had a blast. Thanks for the tour!

  15. Lizzy

    Happy Anniversary! You must have gotten married on a Friday night as my 9th anniversary is tomorrow! I wish you many more years of happiness and good health. The pics are beautiful. I wish we lived closer to check it out.

  16. Kelly @ Dare to be Domestic

    Girl I wish I would have known you were coming into Florence. That is where I live :) Thank you for the images inside the hotel there too – we are planning our wedding and knowing that it is THAT cute inside is a perk I will definitely put that on our list of places guests should say. The Dismals look amazing we’ve been wanting to get out there to visit. Thanks for the pictures! Next time you drop by Florence let me know! I’m so happy you enjoyed UMI – we had it this weekend as well :)

  17. rani

    wow! gorgeous pics! Your posts make me want to get me and the family out more this summer with hiking! There are some beautiful hikes along the Big Sur and San Simeon Coast that we are going to hit for sure!! Thanks for the inspirations!

  18. Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga)

    Amanda, your photography is beautiful (as usual!)

    Glad you and your hubs had such a wonderful excursion and thank you for sharing these gorg photos :)

  19. marywithgarden

    I love places that offer nightime hikes. We took a full moon hike in Madsion, WI at the nature center and watched the full moon rise, walked the trails without flashlights, tested the sparking power of Wontergreen mints and heard our guide recite moon themed poems and tell folk stories. Certainly one of our favorite memories. This one looks like a winner, too! Glad you had such a lovely time.


    What fun! Definitely put that on our list of cool places to visit. How nice it is dog friendly. It take my Boston swimming in the creek everyday now that the weather is nice. Cant keep her out of the water! I love seeing pictures of your cute pups.

  21. Darla @ Bakingdom

    I’m new to your blog and I just have to say how beautiful this post is! Stunning photos and your pups are adorable! Thanks for sharing everything…next summer we transfer (military family) and we’re hoping to head west. We plan to drive it, so this would be a great stop along the way!

  22. Beth M.

    We lived in Florence for 6 months at the beginning of our marriage and I never knew this place existed. Good grief!


    We here in Utah, have beautiful canyons with lots of water..but we can’t take our dogs because it is a water shed…so sad.

    tell us about the harnesses your dogs are wearing.

  24. Rachel J.

    Ohhhh…how neat! I live in Florence, but have never made it to Dismal Canyon. Glad you guys had a great time. :o)

  25. Sandy_in_MD

    Happy Anniversary! Dismal Canyon looks like a great place to visit – love your pics – esp. the glowworms!

  26. Urban Wife

    Congratulations on your anniversary and best wishes for many, many more years! :) Thank you for sharing Dismal Canyons with us. It looks like such a lovely place and your pictures captured everything wonderfully. If we ever make it out to northwest Alabama, we’ll be sure to stop there! Have a great day.

  27. Marilyn

    Loved the pictures! I’ve only been there once, about 15 years ago and would love to go back sometime. I can still “feel” the coolness of the canyon and the little glowy bugs are so cool! I’m thinkin you can get fined for touching/taking them.

  28. Laura

    Wow! It is so beautiful! Last year I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was! The decor was so fresh and modern!

  29. The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh

    What a perfectly lovely trip with the family! It does look like a cool, refreshing respite from the heat. Happy Anniversary to you both and many more years of happiness!

  30. Diane@Longaberger Lifestyle

    Congratulations Amanda and Kevin! And best wishes for 50 more!!

    Thanks for sharing your Dismals experience. For me and my guy…that would be a perfect day/experience. We love relishing in God’s wonderful creation.

  31. Sandy

    Great pics. ALWAYS enjoy pictures of your dogs. They are SO darn cute. Their pictures always make me smile. Now, tomorrow you can officially start planning your big trip for your 10 year anniversary. It’s a big one, gotta do something big…….

  32. Mary Anne Tomlinson

    Hi Amanda,
    I’ve been following your blog recently and really enjoy it, when time allows. I found you as I was searching for ideas for organizing my Newly Built Scrap Book Room! (yay!) I love your photography and I enjoy all those recipes. We recently tried the souped up mac & cheese. I printed out that awesome chocolate chip cookie, Oreo and brownie concoction, but haven’t made that yet.
    Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your report on The Dismals. The Dismals is actually owned by my best friend’s sister-in-law, Beverly. Small world, huh?

  33. Kaye

    Absolutely gorgeous. We have lots of stunning canyons in Utah, but I love the lush moss and broad leaf plants in your photos! Ahhhhh. . .

  34. Leah

    Beautiful photos, as ever! It looks so lovely there. Happy anniversary! I’m getting married next year on the 9th anniversary of meeting my fella, which also happens to be my birthday ;)

  35. Debbie

    What a beautiful location for an anniversary celebration. Adored the “time for a swim” photo!! Dismal Canyon sure doesn’t match it’s name. WOW what a gem.

  36. Debbie

    These photos are just beautiful. I adore the “time for a swim” photo! Warming to see true pet lovers taking the ‘kids’ along for the getaway. Dismal Canyon is breathtaking!

  37. Shelby

    Happy Anniversary!! :) That hotel doesn’t look like a Holiday Inn Express! I love the new design. It looks like the pups had fun. We will definitely have to add that canyon to our list of places to check out.

  38. Angie

    What a great looking place!! Your pictures capture the beautiful surroundings making me want to drop everything and go check it out!! =)

  39. Kristen

    Love the pictures, as always! Looks like the pups had a great time. I have two pugs, and I wish I could get them to be as adventurous as yours!

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Meet Kevin & Amanda

Kevin and Amanda

We love to travel and to eat! Here we share our favorite quick and easy recipes, plus travel tips and guides for our favorite places around the world. If you have any questions about what camera I use or how I edit my photos, check out my photography tutorials.


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