Alabama Historical Commission, Alabama SHPO

Old Cahawba Archaeological Park

From 1819 to 1826, Cahawba served as Alabama's first capital. It was once a thriving antebellum river town, a major distribution point for cotton shipped down the Alabama River to Mobile, a Confederate prison for captured Union soldiers, and a rural community of African American families. By 1900, however, most of Cahawba's buildings had burned, collapsed, or had been dismantled. A place of picturesque ruins, Cahawba today is an important archaeological park with an extensive descendants' network.

Things to do:

  • Visit the Welcome Center with exhibits, visitor information, restrooms and gift shop.

  • Explore a landscape of ruins and relics, chimneys and gravestones, ornamental well heads and columns with our self-guided brochures.

  • Ride a bike. Bring your own or borrow one from us - or free! The park has five miles of smooth, level roads, very little automobile traffic, and a free explorer's guide.

  • Launch a canoe or kayak. Explore the last big bend in the Cahaba River before it meets the Alabama.

  • Enjoy the picnic areas with tables, grills, water fountains and restrooms. Wheelchair accessible picnic tables are available.

  • Hike our nature trail with scenic overlook that is fully accessible for visitors in wheel chairs or with other mobility impairments (Distance: half mile loop; Grade: Maximum 3%; Cross Slope: Maximum 2%; Width: Minimum tread 60"; Surface: 100% of the trail is paved)

Contact Information:
Old Cahawba Archaeological Park
9518 Cahaba Road
Orrville, AL 36767

Phone: (334) 872-8058
Fax: (334) 877-4253


Old Cahawba

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Free admission

The site is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; the Welcome Center from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

Visitor information and self-guided driving and walking trail brochures are available at the Welcome Center daily from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. For morning visitors, a selection of brochures is available on the Welcome Center porch.

The ghost town of Old Cahawba lies at the confluence of the Alabama and Cahaba Rivers. From Selma, take Highway 22 west 9 miles. Turn left onto County Road 9 and follow this 5 miles. Turn left onto County Road 2 and follow this into the park.

Visitor Services
Tour rates*:

Adult $6
College students, seniors, military $5
Children (18 & under) $3

*School groups are required to have 1 adult per 15 students.
Those adults are admitted at no charge.

Scheduling a Tour
Guided tours are offered in the morning by appointment only.  Please call 334-872-8058. 

All tours must be booked 2 weeks in advance.  You may download a Request a Tour form.

To view this form, you will need to download  Adobe Acrobat Reader which is free.

Old Cahawba Tour Options                                            Journey into Cahawba's past as your guide leads you among the abandoned streets and picturesque ruins, recreating the town in your mind's eye. Learn of the rise and fall of Alabama's first state capital and most famous ghost town. Morning tours available for grades 4 and up, 2 hrs in length. Select your method of transportation from an old fashioned wagon, a scenic walking tour, or a convenient step-on guide.

Special events                                                         Bring Your Own Bicycle Tours --- Last Saturday in March and September Haunted History Tours            --- Held Annually in October                  Hear the Dead Speak             --- Held Annually in October

See also Calendar of Events

Facilities Rental                                                                             The picnic area is available for family reunions and large gatherings.

Genealogists and Civil War Buffs:

Do You Have A Cahawba Ancestor?
If you have an antebellum ancestor that lived in Cahawba or was imprisoned in the Cahaba Prison (sometimes called "Castle Morgan") as a captured Union soldier, the Cahawba Site Director might have some information for you.  Just drop her a note requesting a search of her research files.  Be sure to include your return address, your ancestor's name, and as much additional information as possible.  Be patient however, since inquiries will be answered on a first come first serve basis. Write to: Site Director, Old Cahawba, 719 Tremont Street, Selma, AL 36701-5446.

Friends Groups

Cahawba Advisory Committee                                                           The Cahaba Foundation



Historic Preservation