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85 Things to Love About Alabama: Little River Canyon

Tallest canyon in Alabama? Check.


In the beautiful northeast section of the state, the Little River runs from Lookout Mountain up near Chattanooga and works its way south through Mentone, Alabama into DeSoto State Park, where a monstrous 104-foot waterfall— Aptly named DeSoto Falls, thunders down into a basin that makes up the main section of the park.

From there, the river flows into a canyon, where it, again, is aptly named Little River Falls. This canyon is one of Alabama’s larger state parks at over 14,000 acres and is riddled with hiking trails, kayaking, fishing, and rock climbing. It’s one of the deepest canyons east of the Mississippi River at over 600 feet. There’s also the seasonal waterfall, Grace’s High Falls, that towers over even DeSoto at 134 feet and can sometimes be seen from the main drive around the canyon rim.

If you’re in a hurry, you can drive your car on Highway 176 to catch all the main views, and you can stop as often as you want (or don’t want) in the many pull-off spots to take pictures for #Instagram or get out and do some hiking down the canyon or climb some roadside boulders.

Eventually, the Little River finally winds it’s way out of the mountains and empties into Weiss Lake in Cherokee County, which is highly popular fishing location. Highway 9 cuts across the lake on a small land bridge, and you can look out both windows and see mountains (note: large hills) at the horizon in both directions as you cross.

Fun Fact: I first received an email from Lyell confirming I would be a staff writer for Roll Bama Roll while I was hiking in this very canyon. It all comes full circle.