This road trip was a last minute foray, as we wanted a fall foliage trip, and also desired to complete the last part of our earlier trip out west that got rained out back in July. The plan had been to visit some sites in Alabama on the way home. Since it is only one state over from us - albeit all the way across Georgia - it seemed like a nice weekend jaunt.
The first day was devoted to two parks in one canyon, DeSoto State Park and Little River Canyon National Preserve, both on the Little River in northeastern Alabama. It took six hours of driving to get to DeSoto State Park. The only part we were interested in was the waterfall at the north end, but the drive up to it was through a tree tunnel with lots of cabins and private summer homes along the road. Unfortunately, many of the homes had real estate signs in front of them, a sign of our poor economic times.
The park is located atop Lookout Mountain, which starts up by Chattanooga and runs for about ninety miles south into Georgia and Alabama, almost down to Birmingham. The road reminded us of the Blue Ridge Parkway/Skyline Drive up in North Carolina and Virginia. The water falls were well worth the drive, as the final cascade falls 92 feet into a bowl shaped canyon.
Fall foliage was at its peak in DeSoto State Park
Driving south from DeSoto Falls, we entered the Little River Canyon from Al-35, took the twisting road all the way to the southern end, about 12 miles, and then made our stops on the way back to the entrance. It makes it much easier and safer when all that turnouts and re-entries are right turns. There were about a dozen overlooks from the rim drive, all very scenic with the fall colors near their peak. The canyon reminded me of another rim drive with very similar scenery - Letchworth State park in Western New York.
Little River Falls in fall colors
There is hiking, boating and camping available at both DeSoto and Little River Canyon, but we aren't into that lifestyle anymore, so we stayed on the rim in both parks.
Little River Canyon is a National Preserve. It was just coming into
peak fall foliage
After we left the parks and descended the west side of Lookout Mountain, we passed through the town of Fort Payne, which has its own historic landmarks and scenery. Then it was on to our hotel for the night in Scottsboro, Alabama
Fort Payne RR Station, now abandoned, but still looking pretty nice