Trip Planner:   USA  /  Alabama  /  Fort Payne  /  Nature  /  Little River Canyon National Preserve

Little River Canyon National Preserve, Fort Payne

(4.8/5 based on 360+ 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"). 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.The main stem of the river is formed by the confluence of the 17mi East Fork and the 25mi West Fork. The Little River flows another from the confluence of the forks, through the canyon, to its end at Weiss Lake.
Put Little River Canyon National Preserve at the forefront of your travel plans using our Fort Payne tourist route planner.
Create a full Fort Payne itinerary

Plan your trip to Fort Payne

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.
  • This place is wonderful. I hiked from the Welcome Center to the Falls and I was fortunate to visit after it rained so the Falls were fantastic. Upon leaving the Falls I traveled on the Canyon Rim Scen...  more »
  • The Little River Falls lookout is just a short walk from the parking lot at the entrance to Little River Canyon National Preserve. Their is s wheelchair ramp for those who need it.  more »
  • I've been to Little River twice; once when the falls were gushing and once when they were dried up due to drought. Both experiences were well worth my time. Make sure to visit multiple locations of th...  more »