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A Guide to the Best Waterfalls in Northern Alabama

DeSoto Falls North Alabama

Chasing waterfalls is one of our favorite outdoor activities. Anytime I’m within a short drive of a magnificent waterfall I’ll make time to go see it.

I’m not sure why I’m so fascinated by them, I just know that I love seeing them. From waterfalls that plunge over a cliff to the earth below to the gentle sloping waterfalls that stretch for long distances.

They are all gorgeous and always photo-worthy. Grab your camera because you’re going to want to discover the best waterfalls in Northern Alabama.

By the way, I’m thinking this is a great social distancing activity.

A Guide to the Best Waterfalls in Northern Alabama

Explore the stunning scenic splendor of northeastern Alabama with visits to waterfalls in Gadsden and Fort Payne and the federally protected magnificence of Little River Canyon.

Be sure to read the legend of Littlefoot in Little River Canyon.

Noccalula falls

Noccalula Falls

Start in Gadsden with a visit to one of the area’s prettiest gems, Noccalula Falls. Torrents of shimmering water take a dramatic plunge into Black Creek Ravine to form this 90-foot-high waterfall.

According to local legend, so did a Cherokee princess with the same name. In a tragic end to a Romeo and Juliet-style love story, Noccalula threw herself over the falls rather than forsake her true love by a forced marriage to another. A statue at the edge of the falls illustrates and honors her sacrifice.

Untamed Mountain | Tigers for Tomorrow

From Noccalula Falls, all the cool cats and kittens, travel to Attalla to visit Untamed Mountain and Tigers for Tomorrow.

This exotic animal preserve and environmental learning center is a sanctuary for more than 130 tigers, cougars, bears, lions, wolves, and other animals that have been rescued from roadside circuses, owners who tried to keep them as pets and other situations that put these majestic animals at risk.

Tigers for Tomorrow is also a sanctuary for injured raptors and birds of prey that are native to Alabama.

DeSoto Falls | DeSoto State Park

Travel north of Gadsden towards Valley Head to discover an abundance of natural wonder awaiting you at DeSoto Falls, right outside of Mentone.

The Little River hurls itself over a craggy rock ledge, creating a 104-foot cataract and a thunderous roar.

Just down the road, you’ll find several smaller waterfalls in DeSoto State Park.

This 3,205-acre outdoor enthusiast’s paradise has cabins, primitive camping sites, and 25 miles of hiking and biking trails.

Each season is a new revelation; you’ll find the forest ablaze with color in the fall and filled with the blooms of native wildflowers like Catesby’s trillium, mountain laurel, and sweet shrub in spring and summer.

LIttle river falls
DeKalb County: Little River Falls on the Little River in the Little River Canyon National Preserve.

Little River Falls

Thirteen miles from DeSoto Falls is Little River Falls. It plummets 45 feet and is the glittering showpiece of Little River Canyon.

Little River is one of the country’s longest rivers to form and flow on top of a mountain. Over eons, its clear waters have cut through sandstone and carved an extensive canyon and gorge system as they descend.

Canyon Rim Parkway

Continue to Highway 176, also known as Canyon Rim Parkway, and drive 11 miles along the edge of the canyon through the 14,000-acre Little River Canyon National Preserve.

Multiple scenic overlooks offer majestic views of the falls as well as sheer rock faces, soaring hawks, and the Little River.

(c)Alabama Travel & Tourism

Just For Adrenalin Seekers

For the active traveler, True Adventure Sports, at the end of Canyon Rim Parkway, fulfills almost any outdoor dream, from a guided hike through the canyon to a paddle trip down the Little River to more adrenalin-fueled pursuits, like rappelling and caving.

Fuel Up in Mentone

In Mentone, the Wildflower Café is a charming spot with exceptional food. A cute cottage houses an eatery committed to using fresh, local produce and other ingredients to craft delights like loaded tomato pie and a triple-layer carrot cake.

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