Little River Falls - Little River Canyon National Preserve, Alabama
Little River Falls in Alabama
A paved path leads to an overlook
where visitors can enjoy the beauty
of Little River Falls. The waterfall is
part of Little River Canyon.
Little River Falls from Above
An second overlook on Canyon
Rim Drive offers a dramatic view of
the falls and head of Little River
Little River Canyon National Preserve, Alabama
Little River Falls
Water thunders over the powerful 45-foot waterfall
at Little River Canyon National Preserve. It is atop
Lookout Mountain near Fort Payne, Alabama.
Scenic Beauty in Alabama
Little River Falls is one of the most scenic
and accessible waterfalls in the South. It is
located atop Lookout Mountain near
Payne, Alabama.

A major feature of the
Little River Canyon
National Preserve, the waterfall runs
year-round and marks the head of what many
call the "Grand Canyon of the East." The
canyon is 12 miles long and reaches depths
of more than 600 feet.

One of its most photographed features, the
waterfall is located where Alabama Highway
35 crosses the Little River. The falls are less
than a 30-minute drive from Interstate 59 at
Fort Payne and can be seen from overlooks
on both sides of the river.

The most popular way to see Little River
Falls is via the access point just east of the
Highway 35 bridge. A paved but steep path
leads from the parking lot to an overlook near
the falls. Adventurous visitors can make their
way from there onto the rocks at the top of the

The second overlook is on
Canyon Rim
Drive. It provides a view of the 45-foot high
falls from the top of the canyon and is easy to
access by persons of all abilities.

Little River Falls has been a landmark for
thousands of years. Native Americans visited
the waterfall for centuries before the arrival of
Europeans. Spanish explorers Hernando de
Soto and Tristan de Luna passed nearby.

The falls quickly attracted the attention of
early settlers. An important road crossed just
upstream and both Confederate and Union
troops passed by during the War Between
the States (or Civil War).

The community of Edna Hill grew up around
Little River Falls during the late 19th and
early 20th centuries. Centered around a mill
that was built just above the falls where the
rushing water provided a power source to
turn the mill wheel, the community included a
store, church and homes.

The little settlement faded into history during
the 20th century and only photographs
survive today. An interpretive panel at the east
observation deck tells the story of Edna Hill.
Historic photos help visitors visualize the
area as it once appeared.

The waterfall is preserved in its natural state
and flows with impressive force throughout
the year. It is now part of Little River Canyon
National Preserve and is at the head of the
main section of the canyon.
Little River Canyon is 12 miles long and is
more than 600 feet deep in places. Formed
by rushing water like that pouring over the
falls, it is one of the most beautiful places in
Alabama and the South.

Local preservationists - including members
of the country band Alabama - led a fight to
have the canyon and falls declared a national
park area. They achieved success with the
designation of Little River Canyon National
Preserve in 1992. One of the nation's newest
national parks, it attracts thousands of
visitors each year.

Little River Falls is one of the most popular
spots in the preserve. The park on the east
bank offers picnic tables, restrooms and
hiking trails.  

There are no accommodations or campsites
at the falls, but nearby DeSoto State Park
offers a hotel/lodge, cabins, campsites and
more. Numerous hotels are also available in
Fort Payne and Mentone.

Numerous other waterfalls can be seen
along the Little River as it runs through the
canyon. Of special interest is Grace's High
Falls, a seasonal waterfall that is believed to
be the tallest in Alabama. It can be seen from
Canyon Rim Drive.
Little River Falls in Winter
The waterfall flows year-round but
takes on a striking appearance
during the winter months when the
Little River runs high.
Little River Falls in Summer
The waterfall remains picturesque
even during the summer months,
when lower water allows the
adventurous to approach the falls
on foot.
Copyright 2011 & 2014 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Updated: September 3, 2014
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