Alerts & Conditions

Weather

Click here for current weather conditions and forecasts from the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Huntsville, AL.

Climate


Little River Canyon National Preserve is located within the Humid Subtropical region, which is characterized by relatively mild winters with infrequent snow, hot summers, and year-round precipitation.

Thunderstorms are most common throughout the summer months (although they can happen any time of the year) and can develop with little warning - when at Little RIver Canyon, be aware of the forecast and remember, "When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors".

Tornadoes are possible in the valleys and hills surrounding Lookout Mountain and are unlikely (but still possible) within the Preserve.

Alabama has two tornado seasons: Spring (March through May) and late Fall (November through December).

Heavy rain and wind associated with Tropical Depressions and Tropical Storms are possible during hurricane season (June - November) - Hurricanes are unlikely but possible.

Monthly Averages - Fort Payne, AL (3 miles NW of Little River Canyon Center)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high oF (oC) 50 (10) 53 (12) 60 (16) 69 (16) 78 (26) 86 (30) 87 (31) 87 (31) 82 (28) 73 (23) 60 (16) 51 (11) 69 (32)
Average low oF (oC) 30 (-1) 30 (-1) 35 (2) 42 (6) 51 (11) 60 (16) 64 (18) 62 (17) 57 (14) 44 (7) 35 (2) 30 (-1) 44 (7)
Average rainfall: inches/mm 5.3 / 134 5.3 / 134 6.1 / 155 4.9 / 124 4.3 / 110 4.2 / 108 5 / 128 4 / 102 3.5 / 89 3.1 / 79 3.9 / 99 5 / 127 54.6 / 1389
 

Little River Flow Rates


Little River begins atop Lookout Mountain and flows the length of Little River Canyon National Preserve. Little River is formed by the 17-mile-long East Fork Little River and the 25-mile-long West Fork Little River (which features De Soto Falls and passes through De Soto State Park), and flows for an additional 23 miles from the confluence within Little River Canyon National Preserve through the southernmost portion of the Preserve and off Lookout Mountain at Canyon Mouth Park, where it flows to Weiss Lake.

Being a mountaintop river, Little River is heavily dependent upon rainfall for its water. Because of this, the flow of Little River can vary greatly throughout the year, with flows of less than 1 cubic foot per second in the summer to a record high flow of over 40,700 cubic feet per second on October 5, 1995. Beginning at Little River Falls, Little River cuts out Little River Canyon from the sandstone around it and features Class II-VI rapids down towards Canyon Mouth Park, where the river calms as it flows more gently to Weiss Lake.

The United States Geological Survey has a river gage which monitors river height and discharge at Canyon Mouth Park. This station reports once every two hours and may not accurately convey the river conditions at any given moment along the 23 miles of river. Heavy rainfall upriver can cause large and rapid changes in the flow of the river.

Click here to see the current flow rate.
 
Waterfall flow comparison
Comparison of Little River Falls at various flow rates measured in Cubic Feet per Second (cfs)

NPS / Matt Switzer

* 1 cfs = approximately 7.5 gallons per second

 

Park Closures

THE FOLLOWING FACILITIES AND AREAS ARE CURRENTLY CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE (COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS)

  • Jacksonville State University Little River Canyon Center


Facilities, roads, and trails in the preserve are occasionally subject to closure due to special events, maintenance, or severe weather conditions.

Last updated: October 19, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

4322 Little River Trail NE Ste 100
Fort Payne, AL 35967

Phone:

(256) 845-9605 x201
Main phone number for Little River Canyon National Preserve.

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