The Upper Falls
A raging torrent of water flows
down to the main DeSoto
Falls in this fall, taking during
the winter months.
A Rainbow in the Mist
Sunlight and the mist from
DeSoto Falls combine to
create beautiful rainbows
during the morning hours.
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - DeSoto Falls, Alabama
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - DeSoto Falls, Alabama
DeSoto Falls - Mentone, Alabama
Alabama's DeSoto Falls
Located just north of the main park area of DeSoto
State Park, DeSoto Falls plunge more than 100 feet.
Waterfall on Lookout Mountain
On the outskirts of the charming little town of
Mentone, Alabama, the West Fork of the Little
River plunges off a 100-foot Lookout
Mountain cliff to create one of the most
beautiful waterfalls in the South.

DeSoto Falls - named for Spanish explorer
Hernando de Soto - is part of
DeSoto State
Park and is one of the tallest and most
visited
waterfalls in Alabama. It is also one of
the easiest to visit.

Located just off the Lookout Mountain
Parkway, DeSoto Falls is accessed via a
paved pathway that leads a few hundred
yards from the parking lot down to the railed
overlook. The upper falls can be seen by
visitors of all abilities, but the lower or main
waterfall requires a walk down concrete
stairs to the overlook.

More than 100-feet high, DeSoto Falls has
been a landmark for centuries. Native
Americans frequented the falls long before
the arrival of the first European explorers
who, if old legends are to be believed, may
have arrived here long before Columbus first
set foot in America.

Local folklore holds that several small caves
in the steep bluff below the waterfall were
part of a fort built by Welsh explorers led by
Prince Madoc. Believers in the story claim
that Madoc landed on Mobile Bay in 1170
A.D. and then made his way inland to reach
the mountains of Alabama, Georgia and
Tennessee. Most archaeologists and
historians discount the story, but it has never
been proved or disproved.

Legend also holds that Spanish artifacts
dating from the 1540 expedition of Hernando
de Soto were found near the falls. Most
authorities believe the expedition actually
passed well to the south, but it is possible
that men from either DeSoto's party or the
later expedition of Tristan de Luna explored
the area.

Union cavalry troops camped on the West
Fork of the Little River just above DeSoto
Falls in 1863 and the U.S. 20th Corps
crossed Lookout Mountain at Mentone on its
way to the
Battle of Chickamauga. The area
is rich in stories of Civil War activity, many of
them detailing raids by irregular forces.

DeSoto Falls are now one of the primary
features of DeSoto State Park, a beautiful
recreation era established through the hard
work of the Civilian Conservation Corps or
CCC during the Great Depression. The main
area of the park is located a few miles south
of the waterfall and offers cabins and chalets,
a motel, restaurant, store, picnic areas,
hiking trails, campgrounds and more.

The water flowing over the falls is one of the
primary tributaries of the Little River, one of
the few rivers in the nation that flows almost
entirely on the top of a mountain.
Over thousands of years the river has carved
magnificent canyons into the surface of
Lookout Mountain. One of these begins at
DeSoto Falls and winds its way through the
state park. The most noteworthy, however, is
now preserved as
Little River Canyon
National Preserve, a national park area
located a few miles to the south.

Often called the "Grand Canyon of the East,"
Little River Canyon is more than 11 miles
long and reaches depths of nearly 700 feet.

The park at DeSoto Falls is open daily during
daylight hours. In addition to the spectacular
waterfalls, the area features a beautiful lake,
picnic area and other facilities. The falls are
located just off Lookout Mountain Parkway on
the western edge of the town of Mentone. The
route to the waterfall is well marked by signs
in both Mentone and along Alabama Highway
35 as it leads south from Interstate 59 at Fort
Payne.
DeSoto Falls in Winter
The magnificent waterfall
flows year-round, but takes on
astounding power during the
winter months when the water
is running high.
Alabama's Little River
DeSoto Falls is formed by a
100-foot drop of the West Fork
of Little River. Known for its
waterfalls and rapids, the river
flows atop Lookout Mountain.
Little River Falls
Just a few miles downstream
from DeSoto Falls, Little River
Falls is one of the most
popular spots at Little River
Canyon National Preserve.
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