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Little River Canyon National Preserve, Fort Payne
(4.7/5 based on 340+ reviews on the web)
Little River Canyon National Preserve is a United States National Preserve located on top of Lookout Mountain near Fort Payne, Alabama, and DeSoto State Park. Created by an act of Congress in 1992, the 15,288acre preserve protects what is sometimes said to be the nation's longest mountaintop river, the Little River. The canyon was historically called "May's Gulf", "gulf" being a common term throughout the Cumberland Plateau for this sort of feature (e.g. Savage Gulf in Tennessee, or Trenton Gulf nearby in Georgia, now renamed "Cloudland Canyon"). The canyon is sometimes said to be the deepest canyon in the United States east of the Mississippi River. Prior to being assigned to the National Park Service, the canyon area formed the southmost unit of Alabama's DeSoto State Park.The riverThe Little River flows for almost its entire length down the middle of Lookout Mountain in northeast Alabama. Over eons of geologic time, Little River has carved out one of the Southeast's deepest canyons as it winds its way from headwaters in Georgia before exiting the mountain and emptying into the Coosa River (Weiss Lake impoundment) near Leesburg, Alabama. Legend has it that a minor Civil War skirmish occurred on the rim.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We took the Martha's waterfall trail from the base of Little River falls. Great trail. Not too easy; not too hard. Steps are a bit steep down to the water's edge at Martha's waterfall. But people in m...  more »
  • This is the perfect place to take your family hiking and exploring! We stopped at the Little River Canyon Center for a map and trail recommendations, and the park ranger was very friendly and helpful....  more »
  • Winding roads, picnic area, camping, lovely views, cabin rentals, nice restaurant. The drive thru the preserve is nice. 
Google
  • If you are from Alabama and have not seen this you MUST go! It is hard to believe. The whole area has so many great sites to see. You can plan a vacation around this area easily with tons of places in quick driving distance. If you can catch it when the leaves are changing your in for a real treat.
  • Beautiful scenery and beautiful drives. Far enough out in the country to get away from all the noise. Not a super popular destination so not usually crowded.
  • Amazing! We didn't do the hiking trails but we drove and saw the overlooks! Breathtaking views of the mountains. You can look at the overlooks and the Little River Falls in an hour and a half. It's a great place to stretch your legs on a long drive or just duck off for a short visit. WARNING: Check or call the office for the GPS coordinates if your unfamiliar with the area secondly even though you have the coordinates Google will tell you that your destination is a closed gate on the left side of the road but the actual entrance is abut another .25 of a mile further up the road to the left. To the right of the hwy is start of the Scenic drive. If your not hiking go down to the last Overlook then turn around and come back out because there's really not much to see after that point but before taking this scenic hwy go about 100 ft past the visitors entrance road which is on the left and the scenic hwy on the right and on the right is the entrance to the falls overlook right across the bridge. There is a side walk that goes to the bridge and the bridge has a bench with an amazing view of the canyon! The overlook has a great view of the Little River Falls! Thanks so much to the staff there for mailing and emailing with me about this destination! Super staff!
  • The Grand Canyon of the south! Beautiful views (especially in fall), hiking trails galore and waterfalls. Can't get enough of this place.
  • It was very beautiful in the fall! The river was dried up, but it was very neat to see the river bed which is all rock.