DeSoto State Park is one of Alabamas most popular parks. The 3,500 acre park atop Lookout Mountain in northeast Alabama offers beautiful mountain scenery including woodlands, streams, and waterfalls. The scenic Little River runs through the park. DeSoto State Parks original facilities were constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) from native stone and logs. The park offers visitors a variety of outdoor activities to enjoy.
The park has more than 20 miles of hiking trails, some of which are also open to bicyclists. Trails vary in difficulty from easy to strenuous. The Azalea Cascade Trail and the Wildflower Trail are particularly scenic. The Talmadge Butler Boardwalk Trail is handicapped accessible. This trail provides people of all abilities access into a beautiful area of hardwoods and azaleas and culminates in a lookout deck over the Azalea Cascade.
A number of scenic waterfalls are located in DeSoto State Park. There are trails leading to Laurel Falls, Indian Falls, Lodge Falls, and Lost Falls. Many of the smaller falls in the park are dry during the summer months. DeSoto Falls is located six miles upriver from the main part of the park. At DeSoto Falls the Little River drops over 100 feet into a gorge. The dam above the falls was built in the 1920s to provide power to the area. This dam was Alabamas first hydro-electric dam.
Fishing is allowed in the Little River above the dam at DeSoto Falls. Fly-fishing is popular with anglers looking for bluegill and redeye bass. Swimming and wading is allowed in the Little River. The parks Olympic sized swimming pool is open during the summer season, with life guards provided. Some other park amenities include a playground, campground, picnic areas, a country store, and a nature center with exhibits and live animals.
The parks Mountain Inn Restaurant, overlooking the Little River, is located in the original stone lodge built by the CCC. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The seafood buffet offered on Friday nights is popular with visitors. A Saturday night buffet is offered seasonally from April through November, and there is a Sunday lunch buffet with salad bar year round.
DeSoto State Park is located on County Road 89, approximately eight miles northeast of Fort Payne, Alabama. The day use areas of the park are open daily from 7am to sundown. From its beautiful spring wildflowers to its spectacular fall colors, DeSoto State Park offers scenic beauty year round.