Hiking Trails for Everyone

Hiking in the Mountains of NE Alabama
Trails for Everyone
By Emily Kirby

As one of the most popular outdoor activities in the United States, hiking gives participants the opportunity to experience the world around them while also contributing to their overall health. In DeKalb County, we are blessed with an abundance of trails at our many parks and scenic stops. Whether you’re taking the family for a stroll, or setting a new challenge for yourself, there are hiking opportunities for visitors of all abilities.

Little River Bridge Trail by NPS Matt Switzer
Little Falls Trails by NPS Matt Switzer

Lookout Mountain is home to the beautiful and unique Little River. It flows for most of its length atop the mountain, offering visitors a variety of recreational activities with its forested uplands, waterfalls, canyon rims and bluffs, pools, boulders, and sandstone cliffs. Each trail allows hikers to see the river and canyon through various levels of difficulty.

For families or groups looking for a leisurely stroll with breathtaking views, the Bridge Trail leads guests less than a mile from the Little River Canyon Center over Little River Falls along the Highway 35 bridge walkway. Alternatively, the Little Falls Trail is a moderate trail leading hikers down 127 stone steps to the popular swimming spot, Little Falls. The trailhead begins mid-way down the boardwalk ramp and to the left, along with the south edge of the parking lot near the picnic bench. These are just two of approximately a dozen scenic trails at Little River Canyon.

The secluded Buck’s Pocket State Park is known for its overlooks and overhangs in the nearly 15 miles of hiking trails within its boundaries. The 1.5-mile Indian House Trail is easy to moderate, ending with rock overhangs that the Cherokee Indians frequently used. Point Rock Trail includes great canopies, cascading streams, and waterfalls along the 1.1-mile, moderate to difficult hike.

Hikers at Buck’s Pocket will experience a variety of plant life including wildflowers and ferns, and special geologic formations estimated to be between 200-250 million years old. The trail begins at the bottom of the canyon and ends 800 feet above at Point Rock.

Note, access to the park requires a $5 entry fee.

Buck's Pocket overlook by Robert Posey
Buck's Pocket sign by blackadventurecrew
Talmadge Butler Boardwalk by DSP Brittney Hughes
DeSoto Scout Trail by DSP Brittney Hughes

DeSoto State Park boasts 35 miles of hiking trails that allow visitors to experience “interesting rock formations, small seasonal waterfalls, a variety of diverse plant communities, plentiful animal life, and beautiful views of the West Fork of Little River, which flows downstream into interconnecting Little River Canyon,” according to alapark.com.

The Talmadge Butler Boardwalk Trail is perfect for hikers of all abilities to enjoy the natural beauty of the blooming wildflowers and fall foliage, or to partake in the North Alabama Birding Trail. The 360-yard trail ends at a pool created by the Azalea Cascade waterfall. For those up for a challenge, the 16-mile-long DeSoto Scout Trail leads hikers from Comer Scout Reservation through DeSoto State Park and into Little River Canyon National Preserve. It follows the beautiful West Fork of Little River and continues downstream to Highway 35.

Check here for links to more local hiking opportunities, and escape to the many trails this beautiful area has to offer!