Places To Go

 

Little River Canyon Center

4322 Little River Canyon Parkway, Fort Payne, AL 35967

CURRENTLY CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE (COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS)

For infomation on Little River Canyon National Preserve or to view a movie on the area, visit the Little River Canyon Center, which is owned and operated by the Jacksonville State University. The front desk is staffed by National Park Service staff, Volunteers, and Jacksonville State University staff.

Gift Shop is owned and operated by Jacksonville State University Field School and is open daily 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM (CST)

Open daily from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM (CST)
(256) 845-3548

 

Canyon Mouth Park Day-Use Area

(Current hours are in bold print)

Summer Hours - Open Daily from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM (CST)
Fall/Spring Hours - Open Daily from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM (CST)
Winter Hours - Open Daily from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (CST)


$15 day-use pass fee per vehicle
$35 annual pass available

* Fee machine accepts CASH ONLY (no debit/credit cards or checks) - exact change is strongly recommended
* Fee machine also accepts all America the Beautiful Passes and Little River Canyon National Preserve Day and Annual passes.

This is a wonderful place to bring the family for a day of outdoor fun. Canyon Mouth Park features:

  • a paved parking area

  • restrooms

  • a pavilion

  • several picnic tables and grills

  • river access

  • soccer field

  • playground

  • an easy 1-mile hike along the river

Canyon Mouth Park closes promptly at the posted closing time - vehicles within the gates after hours are subject to being ticketed and/or towed.

 
Canyon Mouth Park images
Canyon Mouth Park is a wonderful family-friendly environment, popular for picnics and river-based recreation.

NPS / Matt Switzer

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Blue Hole, a calm spot in the river with fall color beginning to show on the trees.
Blue Hole - a popular, kid-friendly swim hole on a calm stretch of Little River.

NPS / Matt Switzer

Blue Hole


A wonderful swimming hole located on AL Highway 35 just 1/4 mile east of Little River Falls. This spot is perfect for families with young children or new swimmers, featuring calm, easy flowing waters and is close to the parking lot. A small parking lot limits crowding at this location. Future improvements will include picnic benches and fixed-in-place charcoal grills for visitor use.

* On late spring and summer weekends, the Blue Hole parking lot often is full by 11:00 AM (CST) and park staff will close the lot until spaces become available. Have a back-up plan in case this area is inaccessible due to a full parking lot.
 
Fall on Little River Canyon Rim Parkway.
Fall colors decorate the Little River Canyon Rim Parkway, a popular drive any time of year.

NPS / Matt Switzer

Scenic Drive - Little River Canyon Rim Parkway

23 miles, 8 overlooks, 4 trails, 1 unique rock formation, and a thousand memories ready to be made! Connecting Little River Falls and Canyon Mouth Park, the Little River Canyon Rim Parkway grants visitors the opportunity to take in the beauty of the canyon from the west rim, and the challenge of hiking down into the canyon to the river below. The Parkway itself is popular with bicyclist in the warmer months, and with those chasing the brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows of changing leaves in the fall. Rock climbers can also be found year-round accessing world-class climbing along the canyon.

This winding road offers something for visitors year-round. Travel time from the Little River Canyon Center to Canyon Mouth Park along the Little River Canyon Rim Parkway takes approximately 45 minutes (without stopping at overlooks) - the 11 miles from Eberhart Point to Canyon Mouth Park is steep and windy in areas and impassable to trailers and RVs).

 

Waterfalls

Little River Canyon National Preserve is home to three named waterfalls, with multiple unnamed seasonal falls during the winter and spring or after periods of intense rainfall.

Little River Falls

The most popular feature of Little River Canyon National Preserve is Little River Falls. At 45 feet (13.7 m) high, Little River Falls demonstrates the power of water, with Little River carving it's way through the sandstone bedrock and creating the beautiful canyon surrounding it. The flow of the falls varies with the season. Summer and fall find the river low, exposing the picturesque sandstone beneath while leaving pools of water perfect for wading in above the falls, and a wonderful swimming hole below the falls. Winter and spring rains bring the waterfall to it's full glory.

Access to Little River Falls can be found from the paved parking lot on the west side of the Highway 35 bridge. An ADA accessible boardwalk leads visitors to a close view of the falls.

* On late spring and summer weekends, the Little River Falls parking lot often is full by 11:00 AM (CST) and park staff will close the lot until spaces become available. Have a back-up plan in case this area is inaccessible due to a full parking lot.

Little Falls (formerly known as Martha's Falls)

This mini-waterfall, formed by water cascading over a sandstone ledge the width of the river, is a favorite swimming spot in the summer.

Access to Little Falls can be had from the paved Little River Falls parking lot on Highway 35. The Little Falls Trail is a .75 mile hike which leads to 137 stone stairs down into the canyon to the river.

* On late spring and summer weekends, the Little River Falls parking lot often is full by 11:00 AM (CST) and park staff will close the lot until spaces become available. Have a back-up plan in case this area is inaccessible due to a full parking lot.

Graces High Falls (seasonal waterfall)

At 133' high, Graces High Falls is the tallest waterfall in Alabama. This waterfall is dependent on rainfall and does not flow year-round. Graces High Falls Overlook features a viewing platform on Little River Canyon Rim Parkway.

 
Little River Falls on an autumn morning.
Graces High Falls is a seasonal waterfall often flowing best after heavy rainfalls.
Little Falls is a popular swimming area in the summer.
Waterfalls of Little River Canyon

Little River Falls and Graces High Falls - NPS / Matt Switzer
Little Falls - NPS

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Trails

Little River Canyon features over 26 miles of trail, from serene river-side hikes to steep, strenuous trails leading down the canyon to the river below. Jacksonville State University also offers the Path To Learning Trail, a gentle stroll through the woods behind the Canyon Center. Stop by the information desk at the Little River Canyon Center for suggestions for your hike, or consult the table below and choose your own adventure!

Trails of Little River Canyon National Preserve
Trail Distance in miles / kilometers Difficulty (based on a beginner hiker) Trailhead location
Bridge Trail .75 mile / 1.2 km Easy Little River Canyon Center / Little River Falls parking lot
Path to Learning Trail .5 mile / .8 km Easy Little River Canyon Center
Little Falls Trail .75 mile / 1.2 km Moderate Little River Falls parking lot & boardwalk
Little River Falls Boardwalk .1 mile / .16 km Easy Little River Falls parking lot
Beaver Pond Trail 1.5 miles / 2.4 km Easy Little River Canyon Rim Parkway
Lower Two-Mile Trail .1 mile / .16 km Arduous / Steep Little River Canyon Rim Parkway
Eberhart Trail .75 mile / 1.2 km Arduous / Steep Little River Canyon Rim Parkway
Powell Trail .75 mile / 1.2 km Moderate Little River Canyon Rim Parkway
Canyon Mouth Trail 1 mile / 1.6 km Easy Canyon Mouth Park
DeSoto Scout Trail 16 miles / 25.7 km Moderate to Arduous Access points along Road 5 (north end) and at DeSoto State Park
YCC Loop Trail 3.9 miles / 6.3 km Moderate Road 5 (south end)
 
Road 2, Little River Canyon Wildlife Management Area
Roads in Little River Canyon National Preserve's Wildlife Management Area are popular for 4 wheel drive automobiles, horseback riders, mountain bikers, and hikers.

NPS / Matt Switzer

Wildlife Management Area

The backcountry of Little River Canyon National Preserve is a landscape of rolling hills and dense woodlands, where Little River runs calm and wildlife abounds. The 23 miles of road in the Wildlife Management Area are open to 4 wheel drive vehicles, horseback riders, bicyclist, and hikers, and is popular for kayaks and canoes during the wetter months.

The backcountry is accessible by a series of numbered roads off Cherokee County Road 103, DeKalb County Road 295, Oakhill Road, and Dunn Road. 4 wheel drive vehicles are required to traverse many of the backcountry roads in the Wildlife Management Area.

* Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs) such as ATVs, UTVs, and non-street legal dirt bikes are NOT allowed on any road at Little River Canyon National Preserve.

Last updated: June 29, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

4322 Little River Trail NE
Suite 100

Fort Payne, AL 35967

Phone:

(256) 845-9605 x201

Contact Us