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Dismals Canyon, Haleyville

3.8
#15 of 35 in Nature in Alabama
Canyon Wildlife Area
Dismals Canyon is a sandstone gorge near Phil Campbell in Franklin County, Alabama. It was declared a National Natural Landmark in May 1974.Dismals Canyon is one of only a few places where insects called dismalites can be found. The larval forms of these flies emit a bright blue-green light to attract food and mates. They cover the canyon wall.The canyon is home to two waterfalls, Secret Falls and Rainbow Falls, and six natural bridges.Dismals Canyon is operated commercially as part of an 85acre nature preserve, and a fee is charged for entry. Night tours are conducted to view the dismalites. Camping is available in both traditional campsites and in cabins.Historical connectionsChickasaw Native Americans were held captive in the canyon for two weeks before embarking on a forced journey along the Trail of Tears. Several outlaws have allegedly hidden in the canyon, including Jesse James and Aaron Burr.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
146 reviews
Google
4.1
TripAdvisor
  • We really enjoyed our trip to the canyon. It is gorgeous. We stayed in tents at campsite. If you can get the site near the falls. The others are on an incline. The hot water for showers is only on at ...  more »
  • We did the night time dismalites tour. We went really close to peak season in May. I really wouldn't do it again. I think it would have probably been better if parents made kids behave but we know tha...  more »
  • You register in the gift shop ($12/adult) and get a map of the canyon with some history on the back page. Then you walk down many steps into the canyon. Nice little trails through the canyon, most are...  more »
Google
  • Way too expensive for what it is. The place was nice and the trails fun. The map they give you is not helpful what so ever and it does not really take you long at all to get through the whole trail. I think we finished walking it in an hour. The pool they advertise they have on their website is just a deep spot where the water is built up on the damn. I would not visit this place again.
  • Ok I hold some mixed feelings about this place. It's very pretty and a nice place to spend the day with the family. There are plenty of places to explore with many different types of things to see. From rock formations, small waterfalls, hidden passages, hemlocks, and the stream that runs through it. There are a few things to be aware of. If you are limited in walking this will be very difficult for you. It's not just the stairs going down that you also have to come back up. It's the terrain itself. The trails are not clearly marked and the map doesn't help one bit. You will have to cross through the water not just in one place but a couple if you go through the whole thing. I am a pretty skilled hiker even with my limited ability due to spinal, nerve issues and the pain I live in. I did it with very minimal problems but that's because I push myself. But if you can't climb over logs, walk on slippery surfaces in tight spaces or have major health issues then you may want to pass or just go down part way. If you can spend several hours there then it's worth it. I do agree the price is a little steep with no discounts given.
  • WAY too expensive for what it is. The night tour is fun and glow worms are unique. Day hiking is not spectacular and its a short, very unmaintained trail. They said the kitchen would be open until 8. I arrived at 4 wanting a milkshake as advertised but the kitchen decided to close 😥 hike elsewhere for free and go to the canyon night tour. The fish restaurant down the street is BOMB!
  • Beautiful area. Smaller than I was expecting but great for a day trip. There is a shop/cafe with lounge area for those wanting to eat or relax before hiking. You have to stay for the night tour of the dismalites as it was an amazing experience.
  • Absolutely beautiful!! I cannot wait to go back! Truly is the "Middle Earth of Alabama!" Not too difficult for even beginners. Definitely worth the trip!!! ❤❤❤

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