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Little River Canyon National Preserve
Travel Guide – Alabama

Little River Canyon National Preserve Travel Guide

Waterfalls, canyons, pools and cliffs abound in Little River Canyon National Preserve in Alabama. The natural beauty of the area is one of the main reasons to visit, but it is also filled with a strong cultural heritage. Little River Falls provides a scenic backdrop for a quiet picnic or family photos no matter what time of year it is. During the fall, the drive through the colorful trees is stunning and the many overlooks provide beautiful views of nature. The preserve was established in 1992 as it has long been recognized as an area with important natural resources.

Things to see and do in Little River Canyon National Preserve

Little River Canyon National Preserve, Alabama

DeSoto Falls

Historians will find significance in Little River Canyon National Preserve. A 67-mile historic trail commemorates the actions of Citizen Soldier John Wisdom who rode to warn citizens of an impending Union Raid during the Civil War. This allowed Confederate General Nathan B. Forrest, who led a force of 600, to pursue Union Colonel Abel D. Streight, forcing him to surrender his 1,600 troops, known as Streight’s Raid. General W.T. Sherman skirmished in the area during his March through Georgia. You can travel the trail and visit the same areas where American history took place.

Swimming, fishing and rock climbing are popular activities in the preserve as is world-class whitewater paddling. The Little River Canyon offers many opportunities to relax, enjoy the solitude and beauty of nature. There are many wild animals that call the preserve home, giving you the opportunity to see them in their natural habitat. Camp in the backcountry, sleeping under the stars and enjoying the natural scenery of northeastern Alabama.

The scenic drive along Highway 176 offers beautiful views of the area, so a relaxing drive is a great way to spend the afternoon travelling the eleven-mile tour. Hike the Eberhart Trail which takes you to the bottom of the canyon. It is a strenuous hike, so beginners may want to try the Beaver Pond Trail which is a one-and-a-half-mile loop rather than a three-quarter mile steep hike. There are ample opportunities for photography with the many overlooks in the area.

Little River Canyon National Preserve, Alabama

Waterfall at Little River Canyon National Preserve in northern Alabama.

Climate conditions

The climate is mild with four distinct seasons. The average temperature is 60 degrees and the average rainfall is around 54 inches. January is the wettest month while October is the driest. There is about three inches of snowfall each year. From October to November, the trees are the most colorful with leaves turning the brilliant fall colors. Winters are mild, but the temperature does fall below freezing during the night and can remain that low for a few days, leading to occasional icicles and frost on trees. Summers are usually long and may have warm days with cool nights. Water levels are higher in winter and spring, but often too low for kayaks in the fall and summer.

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