DeSoto Falls in Alabama
A raging torrent of water flows over
the Upper Falls and down to the
main waterfall at DeSoto Falls in
Rainbow in the Mist
Sunlight and the mist from DeSoto
Falls combine to create beautiful
rainbows during the morning
DeSoto Falls - Mentone, 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
DeSoto Falls is a magnificent 100-foot
waterfall on the outskirts of the charming
town of Mentone, Alabama. Formed where
thet West Fork of the Little River plunges off a
Lookout Mountain cliff, the waterfall is one of
the most beautiful in the South.
(Note: Please click here if you are looking for
information on DeSoto Falls in Georgia.)
DeSoto Falls is one of the tallest and most
visited waterfalls in Alabama, Named for
Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto, the
waterfall is part of DeSoto State Park.
Located just off the Lookout Mountain
Parkway, the waterfall is reached 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
More than 100-feet high, DeSoto Falls has
been a landmark for thousands of years.
Native Americans frequented the falls long
before the arrival of the first European
explorers who, if old legends are to be
believed, may have come 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 hold that
Madoc landed on Mobile Bay in 1170 A.D.
before making his way inland as far as the
mountains of Alabama Georgia and
Most archaeologists and historians discount
the story, but believers fiercely defend it.
Archaeological research at Little River Falls
by Jacksonville State University determined
that the "Welsh fort" there likely was built by
American Indians of the Woodland era in
1000 B.C.-900 A.D.
Another legend holds that Spanish artifacts
from the 1540 expedition of Hernando de
Soto were found near the falls. Most
authorities believe the expedition passed
well to the south, but it is definitely possible
that men from either DeSoto's party or the
1559 expedition of Tristan de Luna explored
The waterfall was a special place to the
Cherokee Indians who once inhabited this
part of Alabama. The famed Cherokee
scholar Sequoyah lived at nearby Wills Town
in 1818-1823. It was there that he devised
the Cherokee Alphabet.
Union cavalry troops camped on the West
Fork of the Little River just above DeSoto
Falls in 1863 as Gen. William S. Rosecrans
advanced on Chattanooga. The XX Corps
crossed Lookout Mountain at Mentone during
the campaign, which led a short time later to
the Battle of Chickamauga. The area is rich
in stories of Civil War activity, many of them
detailing raids by irregular forces.
The waterfall is now one of the primary
features of DeSoto State Park. This beautiful
recreation era was established through the
hard work of the Civilian Conservation Corps
(CCC) during the Great Depression. The
main area of the park is a few miles south of
DeSoto Falls and offers cabins and chalets,
a motel, restaurant, store, picnic areas,
hiking trails, campgrounds and more.
The water that flows over the falls forms one
of the primary tributaries of the Little River.
The stream is unique in that it is one of the
few rivers in the nation that flow almost
entirely on the top of a mountain.
The Little River has carved amazing canyons
into the surface of Lookout Mountain. One of
these begins at DeSoto Falls and winds its
way through the state park. Little River
Canyon National Preserve, a national park
area located a few miles to the south, is
rightfully called the "Grand Canyon of the
More than 11 miles long, Little River Canyon
reaches depths of nearly 700 feet. The water
from DeSoto Falls later helps form Little River
Falls and the remarkable rapids of the
The DeSoto Falls site is open daily during
daylight hours. Visitors will enjoy a beautiful
lake, picnic area and other facilities.as well
as the waterfall.
The waterfall is at the end of DeSoto Falls
Road in Mentone, Alabama. From Lookout
Mountain Parkway, turn south on Highway
613 and follow it to DeSoto Falls Road which
ends at the parking area.
A number of smaller waterfalls can be seen
at the nearby main area of DeSoto State Park.
Azalea Cascade, Indian Falls and others join
the primary DeSoto Falls in feeding the Little
Please click here for more information on
DeSoto Falls and DeSoto State Park.
DeSoto Falls in Winter
The magnificent waterfall flows
year-round, but takes on
astounding power during the
winter months when the water is
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
|Copyright 2010 & 2014 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Last Updated: June 30, 2014
Great Places in Alabama
DeSoto Falls (Video)