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Dismals Canyon, Haleyville

(130 reviews on the web)
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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  • This was one of the best side trip we have ever done. We planned on doing a night tour and if we had time we would go back the next day to see the canyons during the day. So glad we did. kids ages 12,...  more »
  • Our family had a great time! We have 3 boys, ages 3,5, and 12. We all had a great time. The terrain was not to rugged for the little ones. Take some water and stop as you need to along the way. Self G...  more »
  • We rented a cabin on site and spent the weekend hiking the canyon. There are plenty of trails to keep you exploring for a full day or two slower-paced days. The restaurant is pricy and the staff seeme...  more »
  • This place is magical! The scenery is beautiful and it's nice and cool in the canyon. Parking seemed like it would be difficult if there were more people there. The people at the admission desk said the hike would take 2 hours, but I managed in about an hour. However, this was rushing, so I'd recommend planning to spend plenty of time here to see everything and really soak it all in. It gets dark in the canyon earlier than it gets dark up on the ridge, so you have to plan for that as well. I definitely would return, especially for a night tour.
  • Dismals Canyon was so beautiful! I planned a quick trip for my best friend and I to tour the canyon and camp. When I called to make reservations, without giving too many details - I told them that my friend had a disability and I wasn't sure how much she could handle. The woman I spoke to was more than happy to answer all my crazy questions about how far everything was and what kind of terrain we would be covering. When we arrived, everyone was so nice and so accommodating! Over the weekend, the staff would periodically check in with me about how she was doing, if we needed anything and that they really wanted to make her weekend super special......and they absolutely did!! Thank you to the staff at Dismals Canyon- you guys are awesome!
  • Definitely a 5 star trip! While I didn't know about the entrance fee til I got there, it was well worth the little $10 to get in! Met some cool people, took amazing pics, and had an overall great time with my close friends here. Definitely will recommend to anyone who enjoys hiking and waterfalls.
  • The place is amazing I felt like I was on a movie set for some sword and spell adventure film. The only problem is that we had to pay a cover charge. I have no problem paying for parking or even being asked for a voluntary donation, but this place charges $10 per person admission like it was an amusement park. That's what kept me from giving 5 stars. The thing that is so great about nature is that it is there for anyone to experience. Nature is supposed to be free.
  • We arrived a little late in the day, a few minutes before closing, but thought we would check it out anyway and see if it was worth coming back for. We spent a few minutes checking out the store and the little cafe, then decided we better go have a look at the canyon before the store closes. So we spent about 10 minutes in the canyon and headed back to the store. On the way past the register the guy behind it said "Hey, that'll be $25 to leave". I laughed. The woman customer standing there looked at me and said "He's not kidding". He wasn't. He immediately went into "Either pay the money or I call the law". Wow. We had no choice. I gave him the money along with a few words of wisdom. There were two other families in the same boat with us also had to PAY TO LEAVE. I've never heard of such a thing. This is wrong on so many levels. I would not recommend supporting this privately owned business on what used to be land owned by Indians, I am told. We were fooled by the "National Landmark" sign. Don't be.