Alabama’s Most Beautiful Waterfalls Right in Our Backyard

Alabama’s Most Beautiful Waterfalls Right in Our Backyard
By Emily Kirby

A trip into DeKalb County would not be complete without experiencing the wonder of its many natural waterfalls. The rapid waters at these many stops will bring you back time and time again to see their beauty.

On Lookout Mountain and Sand Mountain in DeKalb County, visitors can hike or walk a short distance to nearly a dozen beautiful sites. These  include steep, plunging falls and small, seasonal cascades.

High Falls in Grove Oak, DeKalb County, Alabama

High Falls Park welcomes visitors to end a short hike at the magnificent High Falls, standing at 35 feet high and up to 300 feet across. A natural bridge spanning 25 feet features a large arch, eroded by the flow of water over hundreds of years. A pedestrian bridge takes hikers across Town Creek to various spots that are perfect for getting the best view. At less than a quarter of a mile, this quick hike is great for families, dogs, or the beginner hiker.
High Falls Park, 969 County Road 144, Grove Oak, Alabama 35975

With a quick drive to DeSoto State Park on Lookout Mountain, visitors can spend all day chasing waterfalls, beginning with one of the tallest in the state, DeSoto Falls. This magnificent 104-foot drop also serves as one Alabama’s most visited waterfalls. The newly repaved parking areas, renovated picnic area, and new railing all make this stop an easy and enjoyable outing.
A stone staircase leads visitors down to rock platforms that hug the edge of the bluff and make for easy viewing. After making your way down, turn to look back at the staircase to view the beautiful mosaic steps created by the Little River Arts Council and DeSoto State Park.
Trails also descend from the landing to the base pool of the falls, where smaller waterfalls can be found. Above the falls, the waterfall has a concrete dam built in 1925 for Alabama’s first hydroelectric power plant. The area now serves as a frequented swimming hole and launch area for kayakers.
DeSoto Falls, County Road 613, Mentone, AL 35984

DeSoto Falls located in DeSoto State Park on Lookout Mountain in Alabama.
Buck's Pocket sign by blackadventurecrew
Talmadge Butler Boardwalk by DSP Brittney Hughes
Little River Bridge Trail by NPS Matt Switzer

Marking the beginning of the popular and “must-see” Little River Canyon National Preserve, Little River Falls is sure to impress visitors with its 45-foot waterfall descending into a popular swimming hole below. During peak months in early winter and spring, the power of Little River is on full display at the falls, with record setting water flows each season; however, Little River Falls is a magnificent view any time of the year. At the top of the falls, small wading pools can be accessed, but visitors must remain at least 50 feet away from the edge, as the fast-flowing river can easily carry a person over the falls. 
Experienced kayakers frequent the area, but caution is strongly advised due to the high amounts of water flow in rainy seasons. There are many ways to access the beautiful views of the falls, including a boardwalk trail with steps or a ramp with perfect spots for pictures, areas for rest, and trailheads to other stops. The Bridge Trail allows visitors to stand above the falls and walk the width of Little River, taking in a view of the full canyon. 
Little River Falls Overlook Trail, Fort Payne, AL 35967

Honorable mentions

While the area undeniably boasts some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state, it’s the abundance of these breath-taking spots that sets DeKalb County apart. Each of our state parks and the national preserve can occupy your day of waterfall hunting. Here are a few “honorable mentions” that deserve your time:

Azalea Cascade: The Talmadge Butler Boardwalk Trail follows turns and slopes into DeSoto State Park for 360 yards, ending at an octagon deck that sits over the pool created by the Azalea Cascades. Although a small waterfall, the wide variety of plants and wildlife makes this an unparalleled place to visit. As a bonus, the trail leading to the cascades is part of the Alabama Bird Trail.

Little Falls: Formerly known as Martha Falls, this mini-waterfall, formed by water cascading over a sandstone ledge the width of Little River is a favorite swimming hole in the summer. The Little Falls Trail will lead you down 127 stone steps into the canyon and down to the water. 

Martha's Falls by Bill Boehm

Check out our list of waterfalls here or each park’s website for more information on waterfalls in the DeKalb County area.