Little River Canyon National Preserve
Located on the boundary of DeKalb and Cherokee Counties in northeast Alabama, Little River Canyon is the deepest canyon in Alabama, and it is one of the deepest in the southeast United States. It contains the highest waterfall in the state, and is resplendent with sheer rock walls, cascading waters, and ever-changing seasonal views. The Little River is the only river in the United States that forms on and flows almost its entire length along a mountain top.
Canyon Rim Drive (Alabama State Road 176) offers scenic drives and connects a series of overlooks that offer views into the canyon. Cherokee County Road 275 continues along the west rim down to the canyon mouth. Along an 11-mile stretch, the drive takes visitors to eight overlooks providing outstanding vistas of the canyon as well as picnic areas, restroom facilities and interpretive displays on the natural history of the park.
Little River Canyon National Preserve is divided into three parts: Backcountry Area, Scenic Drive and Canyon Mouth Picnic Area. There are also two waterfalls along AL Highway 35 that are popular with visitors --Little River Falls from Boardwalk and Grace's High Falls.
How to Get There
Visitors should first stop at the Little River Canyon Center at 4322 Little River Trail NE (472 AL Hwy 35 for GPS) to see what is available and to get a park map before exploring the park.
Little River Canyon National Preserve offers a diverse range of recreational opportunities, including swimming, fishing, climbing, and world-class whitewater paddling, with the latter reaching peak season in winter and spring. More than 8,000 acres of public lands are open to hunting, fishing, and trapping.
There are trails available for exploring. Eberhart Trail has the easiest access to the bottom of the canyon down to the river. It is 3/4 miles from the top to the bottom; once you are at the bottom of the canyon, you can hike as far as you want. Beaver Pond Trail is a 1.5 mile loop. This trail offers easy walking and is located on top of the mountain. Birdwatchers or people with kids love this trail for the quick access and easy trails. The Backcountry Area has about 23 miles of dirt roads that are great for horseback riding. There is also a popular swimming area called High Rock found off of Road 05. DeSoto Scout Trails and the YCC Loop to Road 10 trail are found in this area.
Accessible year-round, including holidays, during daylight hours.
Canyon Mouth Picnic Area is the only location that charges a fee. The parking fee is $3.