Autumn is the perfect time for a road trip! The leaves are changing color and the air is crisp – it’s the perfect weather for exploring new places. If you’re looking for an adventure, consider taking a trip to Tuscambia, Alabama. Here you will find the Rattlesnake Saloon & Seven Springs Lodge, which is home to some of the best horseback riding and hiking trails in the South, and there’s no better time to explore them than in the autumn. So pack your bags and get ready for an adventure!
Full disclosure... we had two objectives in mind for this trip.
#1) Drive far enough north to see the leaves on the trees change to the vivid colors of Autumn
#2) Check out a restaurant our friend had suggested, the Rattlesnake Saloon.
Beyond those two objectives, we had no expectations. We honestly didn't even know what the terrain looked like. All we knew was that we were heading to Tuscambia, located just a half hour south of the Tennessee/ Alabama state line.
When we were still in the planning stages of what to bring and where we should stay, I did a quick search for Rattlesnake Saloon. What I discovered in that search was that Rattlesnake Saloon sat on the property of the Seven Springs Lodge.
The Seven Springs Lodge offers both RV hook-ups and rustic camping experiences with 4000 acres of land to explore. You can hike or ride horses through their vast land - and on certain weekends you can catch all kinds of activities like Jeep club trail riding and dirt bike or chuck wagon races!
This campsite was one of the most unique we've ever been to. They have public horse stalls on site so that anyone can bring their own equine friend with them while camping. Also, they offer both cabins and old grain silos for lodging! Both the cabin's and the silo's are furnished, have their own bath houses, and depending on the building, can sleep up to 6-8 people. However, you better book them well in advance because reservations quickly fill up early in the season.
When you think of a campground that offers hiking, what is your typical expectation? A few groomed trails that lead in and out of the various campsite areas? Maybe a trek down to a river or stream? Imagine our shock and excitement when office manager, Ms. Tee Tee, handed us a map of marked trails that covered all 4000 acres!
As we left the main office, we drove down a gravel road, passing chickens, silos, stables, and RV hook-ups. As we made our way down the hill and towards what appeared to be a giant open field, we noticed multiple trail markers to either side. Our immediate goal was to get our camp set up then trade in our tennis shoes for hiking boots and make our way into the golden colored forest.
Our first trail was located about 100ft from our camp site. As a reminder, we had no idea what to expect from this excursion. Our immediate fascination was in experiencing autumn colors in all of their glory for the very first time.
And they were glorious!
We were so accustomed to seeing pines at home, that it felt almost ethereal finding ourselves in a forest filled with vibrant Maples, Oaks, and Giant Leaf Magnolias.
The colorful trees swaying in the breeze looked like they were hosting a Festival. With every singing breeze, the falling leaves looked like butterflies dancing all the way down to the brightly lit forest floor. My imagination was running away with me. I half expected to be greeted by a woodland fairy or some other creature of myth to act as my companion or spiritual guide in this enchanting place... that was clearly engineered from old magic or some Lord Of The Rings style dream.
What an incredible journey! We started out on a wide trail, meant for jeeps or ATV's, which split off periodically to several smaller single path trails. From where we began, all of the way up until reaching Wave Rock, it was nothing but orange and red leafy terrain with giant sandstone rocks covered in vibrant green moss everywhere. Some of the larger formations seemed like great walls while others had long collapsed leaving behind large caves that opened up into spectacular views.
As we approached the cave area, almost on cue, it began to rain. I feel like our adventure just took a turn toward the romantic or perhaps just coincidental luck, but actually having a cave to shelter in was a career highlight for any explorer who has dreamed about wilderness survival as a child!
In the vicinity of the cave we found this shelter with little table and chairs carved from wooden stumps and stacked with Cairns. We later asked one of the staff about it but no one knew who built it, why or when... obviously, it was elves.
We found many of these surprises as we hiked through the trails. Of the trails we followed, there was a waterfall cascade, incredible carvings of the Three Sisters representing corn, beans, and squash, and a couple of historical sites where old pottery and other artifacts have been found. There was alot we had missed.
It would have been easy to spend an entire week exploring the area on foot and still having plenty to discover.
Trail Riding On Horseback
Meet Dillon and AJ.
Before we left home, we learned that we were able to rent horses for a one or two hour trail ride while were at the camp.
Horses are reserved by making a simple phone call to Ms. Tee Tee in the office. They are an inexpensive rental and will allow you to see all of the beauty of the trails without the problem of constantly looking down for snakes or sure footing.
Local horse wrangler, "Frog" supplies Seven Springs Lodge with all of the rental ponies. These horses are beautiful and there is no denying that they are healthy and well cared for.
Frog leads the trail as our knowledgable guide throughout the ride. He grew up only a few miles from the campground and stays on year round to help maintain trails and improve the camp. It was great having someone to be able to answer most our questions and show us really amazing things that we had missed on foot.
What an amazing ride! The horses were spirited but sweet. We crossed streams on our way into the forest and walked seemingly narrow pathways with large drop offs, but the horses didn't seem to mind and made the tough parts look easy as pie.
If you like caves, you'll love dining at the Rattlesnake Saloon!
This family friendly restaurant features both indoor dining as well as dining outside...in the cave! The menu features Hamburgers and other handhelds, along with some fun appetizers for those that just want to pick while they enjoy a cold beer and live entertainment.
Our favorite menu picks were the Snake Tails (Fried Green Beans), the "loaded potato", potato salad, and the crispy french fries. The burgers were a nice size, if you need something big in your belly! Also, they have beer, cider, and wine. Bring your ID if you want to drink.
To get to the Rattlesnake Saloon, there is a depot next to the main office where the Saloon Taxi will pick up and drop off guests. There is a path you can walk down, but it's very steep and crosses into the taxi roadway so it's use is frowned upon. It is prefered that you arrive by taxi, especially during busier times so that no one is injured. Besides, the Saloon Taxi is wild and way more fun!
-We are name dropping quite a bit but it's only because during our trip we met so many staff members that were so personable and who genuinely contributed to the success of our stay.
We swear we met them only once, but they seemed like old friends before we went back home.
That being said, shout out to grounds keeper extraordinaire, Jeff! Jeff made sure we had dry firewood after it had rained most of the day.
You can find Jeff next to the main office and this is where you can go buy firewood. $20 for a half cord, $40 for a full cord.
-Make sure you visit the trading post. It's located between the Cabin's and the Silo's.
At the trading post you can buy bags of ice and all kinds of great souvineers, like the hat on this big stud, pictured here >>>>>>
- Keep a camera ready! We saw three deer and a bunch of wild turkeys on the trails.
Also, make sure you peek out of your tent before you crawl out in the morning or after your nap. We ran into a couple of Bulls grazing near our campsite. They are known to move through the campground frequently and they have never hurt anyone, so pay them no mind.
- Make sure to bring cash with you. Tips are encouraged for any staff on property who help you out, from the Saloon Taxi driver, to the Horse Wrangler. And you can't purchase wood without it. These guys don't use Venmo, so plan ahead
- Primitive Camping $15 /night per tent
- Electrical & Water $27 /night
- Electrical, Water & Sewage $30 /night
- Silo Rental $150 /night
- Cabin Rental $150 /night
*Cabin #3 has a full kitchen
Bath houses available for all campers.
The backwoods of Tuscambia, Alabama may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of Autumn destinations, but it should be. The leaves are changing color, the air is cool and crisp, and there’s plenty to do outdoors. If you’re looking for a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, Seven Springs Lodge is perfect. With miles of trails for hiking and horseback riding, caves to explore and camping , there’s something for everyone to scratch off their Bucket List. And, if you need a break from all that nature-ing, Rattlesnake Saloon is just a 2 minute taxi ride away.
So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and head somewhere exciting this fall.
We love inexpensive, single gas tank road trips that you can easily accomplish in the span of a weekend.
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