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Day-Use Area:
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Pack a picnic lunch and head out for a day exploring the ridges, waterfalls and river in beautiful DeSoto State Park.

Located on Lookout Mountain, DeSoto State Park has over 25 miles of hiking trails, including 11 + miles of mountain bike trails. Most interconnect with each other, while others take you into more remote areas. DSP’s trail system boasts interesting rock formations, small seasonal waterfalls, a variety of diverse plant communities, plentiful animal life, and beautiful views of the West Fork of Little River, which flows downstream into interconnecting Little River Canyon.  

Enjoy nature's beauty along DeSoto's trails

Terrain on the trails can vary from 'easy' to strenuous.

 DeSoto State Park Trail Map(PDF)

Google Earth Trail Map - KML

Please be prepared before heading out on a trail. Updated trail maps & more trail information can be found at the Lodge, Country Store, & Nature Center.

Some day-hiking tips

For more info on any of the trails, call 256.997.5025 or email

Right click to save to desktop, or click the PDF version above


DeSoto's Azalea Cascade Boardwalk is about 360 yards long and is ADA-accessible

The Talmadge Butler Boardwalk Trail

This boardwalk Trail was planned and built through a community effort headed by former park superintendent Talmadge Butler. Grants and donations paid for the materials used to build the trail. It was constructed by the Alabama State Parks Maintenance Crew.

The Boardwalk is a 360-yard trail that can be enjoyed and traveled by people of all abilities.  No matter what the season, the boardwalk gives the hiker a unique perspective of the surrounding habitat.

A 20-foot octagon deck at the end of the trail places you over the pool created by the Azalea Cascade.

Wildflower Blooming Season usually ranges from March-November.

Fall Color peak is historically sometime from the first of October thru the middle of November.



The Boardwalk is a beautiful place to see Mountain Laurel bloom   Azalea Cascade   Azalea Cascade Boardwalk Trail's Gazebo

North Alabama Birding trail

The Talmadge Butler Boardwalk Trail(at Azalea Cascade) is also part of the North Alabama Birding Trail!
See the www.northalabamabirdingtrail for more info.

2 spectacular waterfalls found on Lookout Mountain-Alabama:    

DeSoto Falls
This beautiful waterfall is formed by Little River by cascading about 104 feet into a large gorge. In the 1920s North Alabama's first hydro-electric dam was built above DeSoto Falls, which supplied power to nearby Fort Payne, Mentone, Valleyhead, Collinsville , Alabama and Menlo, Georgia. DeSoto Falls is about 6 miles from the main part of DeSoto State Park, near Mentone, Alabama and is accessible by County Road 89 that goes thru the park.


Little River Falls
This waterfall is downstream from DSP and is formed by Little River; here Little River ‘begins’ to flow in the deeper portion of Little River Canyon. Little River Falls is located about 10 miles south of DeSoto State Park in Little River Canyon National Preserve on AL Hwy 35

~Click on the photos to enlarge. Use Photos by permission only.~

(Even more photos can be seen on our Facebook page)


Several seasonal waterfalls can be found on the trails of DeSoto State Park.The best time to see the most water flow is usually in Spring, Late Fall, & Winter.

Please Note: Most of the falls & streams at DeSoto State Park are dry in summer months, depending on rainfall.



Laurel Falls
This small but beautiful waterfall can be found off of the orange trail and falls about 6 feet. It is about 0.75 miles from DeSoto’s Country Store and the trail is rugged & moderate with some uphill climbs.

Indian Falls in Winter

Indian Falls
This interesting waterfall falls about 20 feet into a small ravine, located just across the road from the Talmadge Butler Trailhead. Indian Falls is about 0.1 miles from the trailhead and is easily reached over a small footpath. A wooden footbridge crosses over the top of this beautiful sight.

Just steps from the Lodge & Motel Rooms!

Lodge Falls
This easy to find waterfall is located just behind DeSoto’s Lodge. Lodge Falls drops about 25 feet and is very rainfall dependant. The best view point of this waterfall is reached by hiking down into a small ravine and then getting on the yellow trail for a short distance and coming back out next to the Lodge.

Lost Falls
This waterfall is the hardest to find in DeSoto State Park, mostly because when no water is flowing, it is truly lost! The best time to see this small 5 foot waterfall is in the Spring or Winter seasons. Lost Falls is located about 1.5 miles from DeSoto’s Country Store and terrain can be moderate to mildly strenuous.

Laurel Creek
This is a small creek that flows downstream and forms Lost Falls, Laurel Fall, Azalea Cascade, and Indian Falls. Spring-fed Laurel Creek then connects with Little River.

Little River
One of the few rivers in America that flows almost its entire length on top of a mountain. This clean waterway forms in NW Georgia & NE Alabama and flows down the middle of Lookout Mountain, leaving the mountain at Little River Canyon Mouth Park and flowing into Weiss Lake in Cherokee County, Alabama. DeSoto Falls, which is upriver from the main part of DeSoto State Park, forms when Little River falls over 90 feet into a gorge. The West Fork of Little River flows downstream through the park, goes through the Wilderness Area of Little River Canyon National Preserve, and then over Little River Falls, dropping down into Little River Canyon. Swimming, wading and fly-fishing are popular activities in Little River as it flows throughout DeSoto State Park.

Dogs are allowed on the trails as long as they are on a leash at all times.   Dog are allowed on DeSoto State Park's Trails as long as they are on a leash at all times.




Want up to date information? Be sure to check out the DeSoto Scout Trail Project on for trail work days, events, maps & more!



Want a more challenging hiking experience? Check out the the DeSoto Scout Trail!

This historic trail starts at Comer Scout Reservation, continues through Desoto State Park, and into Little River Canyon National Preserve. It follows the beautiful West Fork of Little River and continues downstream to highway 35.
Historically the Trail is about 16 miles long, but due to flooding and overgrowth; only certain sections are clear. It had even been detoured onto backcountry road #5 in some places. We have had the opportunity to restore most of the trail to its original beauty and we hope that you can take advantage of this outstanding trail.
A Partnership to revitalize the trail has been formed by the following agencies:
Little River Canyon National Preserve
Desoto State Park
The Boy Scouts of America
Russell Cave National Monument
Volunteers like you

Currently, the DST can be accessed from DeSoto State Park's north border downstream to the backcountry trailhead on road 5 in the Little River Canyon Wildlife Management Area. This trail is marked with yellow blazes in DSP and changes to brown & white metal signs as pass over the border between DSP & the Little River Canyon Management Area.


Access to Alabama State Parks and State Park Programs is available without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex or disabilities.