CONTACT US  |  email icon

The best source for everything Deep South USA


Deep South USA Blog

You might have heard of fireflies that glow and light up the sky, but glowing worms? In Alabama?

Dismals Canyon, Alabama

You may not be familiar with Dismalites, but these fascinating bioluminescent creatures are known to reside in just a few places in the world, including some remote caves on an 85-acre national park in Alabama. Glowworms (Orfelia fultoni) are strange little creatures that can only be found in 3 places on the planet: New Zealand, Australia, and at Dismals Canyon, Alabama, where they’re given the name, “Dismalites” because Dismals Canyon is the only place where these specific glow worms display their bioluminescence in such high concentrations. Informally known as Dismalites, they are the larvae stage of a unique, native and endemic species of insect that emits a bright blue-green light to attract food, in the form of other flying insects.

Guided night tours allow visitors to see these unique insects and best time to visit is from April – October.

For more information please visit:

Alabama Dismalites

About 13 miles south of Russellville lies Dismals Canyon, a privately owned, 85-acre sandstone gorge with large rock formations and two waterfalls. Many years of moving water sculpted the topography into rock shelters, natural rock bridges and a 16-inch-wide rock squeeze known as “Fat Man’s Misery.” Walk the 1.5-mile trail to see and feel the formations while also delving into the lush landscape of tulip poplars, beech trees, hemlocks, mosses and ferns. Visit on nights in May and June when a unique element lights up the canyon. Dismalites, sometimes called glow worms, are fly larvae (Orfelia fultoni) that emit a bluish light to attract prey. Special guided night tours reveal these dismalites, the only bioluminescent insect in North America.

For more information email 

1000 Characters left


What to do

  • Family Fun in Deep South USA


    From the great outdoors, to fantastic shows and parks...
    Artists performing at Grand Ole Opry


    For American music, all roads lead to the Deep South...
    History of Deep South USA


    Travelling through the Deep South is a history lesson in itself!
  • Deep South USA Cuisine


    Sample a taste of the real Deep South…
    Heritage of Deep South USA


    Discover our colourful cultural beginnings…
    Man playing gold in Deep South USA


    Perfect your Southern swing in stunning settings…

Deep South USA Competitions

Read our blogView our brochure


Alabama Tourism Logo  Louisiana Tourism  Visit Mississippi Tourism Tennessee Tourism