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Waterfalls have a natural magic. What’s not to love about the calm waters, stunning scenery and soothing sounds? As a nature lover, visiting waterfalls is simply one of the best ways to relax your nerves.
Watching water cascade from a rock face into a pool or river below is mesmerizing. Take a deep breath, close your eyes and succumb to the fascination of the majestic power of nature. The movement and mist offer a break from everyday stress and have a therapeutic effect.
Sure, you can search the web for the most beautiful waterfall pics and ASMR videos. However, there is nothing quite like seeing the mesmerizing beauty in person. So grab your camera gear and your favorite snacks and set off on an adventure.
There are thousands of waterfalls in the United States, from Niagara Falls to Yosemite and Havasu. In addition, the country is home to breathtaking waterfalls that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
you know what else You’re not too far from one of these great waterfalls. This is even more true when you are in Alabama. Yellowhammer State is fortunate to have a wide variety of beautiful waterfalls. Some are large and prominent while others are small and barely noticeable.
The southeastern state has a wilderness dubbed “The Land of 1,000 Falls.” A popular feature of the William B. Bankhead National Forest is its abundance of waterfalls, alongside its many stunning natural features. For this reason, the forest’s Sipsey Wilderness region is commonly referred to as the land of 1,000 waterfalls. So rest assured that there is no shortage of impressive hiking trails and waterfalls in the state.
The tallest waterfall in Alabama
Alabama’s tallest waterfall is Grace’s High Falls, nestled in Little River Canyon National Preserve. The waterfall offers a unique view as it plunges 40 meters into the gorge below. The 15,000 hectare canyon has earned the nickname “Grand Canyon of the East” for good reason. It is one of the largest and most beautiful canyon systems in the eastern United States, with some of the steepest valleys this side of the Mississippi.
However, Grace’s High is a seasonal waterfall that typically does not flow in the summer due to low rainfall. Visit throughout winter, the first few weeks of spring, or right after a heavy downpour for the best chance of seeing a waterfall in motion. The chances of seeing the falls with water in the summer months are slim.
When it rains heavily, a tour of Grace’s High allows you to see a significant number of smaller waterfalls and streams. Although seasonal, it is located on one of the beautiful waterfall trails in the Fort Payne area. Outdoor enthusiasts can fully experience the splendor of the Appalachian foothills in Fort Payne.
You can easily extend your visit to Alabama’s tallest waterfall by exploring hikes and other waterfalls in Little River Canyon. Proximity to Little River Falls and DeSoto Falls is an added benefit when visiting Grace’s High Falls.
DeSoto Falls stands approximately 107 feet tall and is located in Mentone, Alabama’s northeastern state of Desoto. The 45-foot cascade named Little River Falls is one of the 3 named waterfalls of Little River Canyon National Preserve. The waterfall is open to the public free of charge. The viewpoint is on a cliff of a narrow gorge.
Wildlife around Grace’s High Falls
Alabama typically holds one of the top spots in the country for its overall biodiversity richness. The variety of wildlife in Little River Canyon National Preserve is hardly surprising. The tallest waterfall in Alabama, positioned as one of the canyon’s trio falls, benefits from the diversity of wildlife.
According to the National Park Service, Little River Canyon has a diverse population of wildlife species. Mammals are represented with 35 species, 28 amphibians, 40 fish, 28 reptiles and 147 bird species. Please note that the number of species found in the park can change over time, much like the number and distribution of animals fluctuates throughout the year.
With over 30 species of mammals in the National Preserve, you will most likely see a few more common ones such as B. White-tailed deer or eastern gray squirrels. If you’re lucky you might see black bears and bobcats.
Nocturnal mammals show up at sunset. These include skunks, raccoons, gray and red foxes, armadillos and the 6 different species of bats found in Little River Canyon. In addition, the underground habitats promise smaller mammals such as rats, shrews, mice and moles.
Birds keep the National Preserve’s ecosystem in good health. Look for more than 140 species of birds in the forests, rocks and waters of the canyon. Songbirds, helmeted woodpeckers, bald eagles, gray herons, red-tailed hawks and turkey vultures? These and many others contribute to the ecology of Little River Canyon.
The Northeast Loop of the North Alabama Birding Trail includes 19 designated sites, including the Little River Canyon National Preserve. At the southern and northern ends of the Little River Canyon Rim Parkway (AL Highway 176), look for the signs to the North Alabama Birding Trail at Eberhart Point and the entrance to Jacksonville State University’s Little River Canyon Center.
Hawk’s Glide and Crow Point, two observation points on the rim of the gorge, are related to birds. Crow Point is 0.39 miles from Grace’s High Falls, the tallest waterfall in Alabama.
reptiles and amphibians
28 species of reptiles including 18 snakes (three of which are venomous), 7 lizards and 3 turtles can be found in Little River Canyon. Some include the Midland water snake, eastern sand lizard, broadhead skink, six-lined racer, and common snapping turtle.
The park is home to 13 species of salamanders, including the green salamander, a protected species. There are also 15 species of toads and frogs. Northern cricket frog, eastern narrow-mouthed toad, dark-spotted salamander, jumping peeper, and Cope’s gray tree frog are some examples.
The reserve contains some of Alabama’s purest rivers and is home to about 40 species of fish. You can find species like Alabama Hog Sucker, Blue Shiner, Largemouth Bass, Channel Catfish, Black-Banded Darter, Speckled Madtom, and Southern Studfish.
Visit to Little River Canyon National Park
Let’s say you’re from Atlanta, Birmingham, Chattanooga, or Huntsville. In that case, Little River Canyon is a great place for a road trip, weekend getaway, or stay. It’s one of the best local attractions to enjoy while staying in a cabin on Lookout Mountain, Gadsden or anywhere else in Northeast Alabama or Northwest Georgia.
Alabama legislatures named the canyon a State Wild and Scenic River in 1969 near Fort Payne. Until it was declared a national park in 1992, the canyon was managed by nearby DeSoto State Park.
The Little River flows almost entirely on Lookout Mountain in northeast Alabama. The river separates DeKalb and Cherokee counties in Alabama. You can find creeks like Bear Creek, Wolf Creek, Johnnies Creek, Yellow Creek and Wolf Creek.
Although Canyon Mouth Park offers a soccer field, picnic areas, and easy access to the river, there is a daily usage fee. A fee is charged only in that specific area of the reserve. Every other location is open and free to use.
The $15 non-transferable Canyon Mouth Park Day Pass entitles all passengers in a single private, non-commercial vehicle.
Place cash only (in denominations no greater than $20) in the fee machine to participate. Then place the pass on your car’s dashboard with the front side clearly visible and visit the tallest waterfall in Alabama.
More attractions around the Little River Canyon National Preserve
The beautiful Grace’s High Falls are well worth a visit, especially when there isn’t a dry spell. However, it would be a great detriment to your adventurous side if you missed an opportunity to explore other areas along the Rim Parkway. The additional visits can last as little as an hour or two, depending on your interests. We recommend making a prioritized list of places and planning a route before you leave home. This will help you get the most out of your trip.
Crow point view
Crow Point is approximately 6.5 miles off Highway 35 at Canyon Center. Once you’ve parked near the sign and descended the hill to the lookout, you can see where Bear Creek and the Little River converge by looking down the 300 foot cliffs. Bear Creek runs between Crow Point and Eberhart Point.
The two lookouts below the Eberhart Point sign offer stunning views of the river. It’s fairly easy to do the tour in reverse if you’re coming from the south and not via Hwy 35. Unfortunately, after this point there are no views of the Rim Parkway, which continues on County Rd. 148 south of Eberhart Point.
Here you’ll find that the scenery steadily improves as the gorge deepens at lookout points along the first 12 miles of the Rim Parkway. There are gravel parking lots and nice big signs at every attraction. Each lookout has a fence of rocks and posts to discourage tourists from getting too close to the edge. Please refrain from scaling them.
Parking attendants strictly enforce the speed limit as the parkway features roller coaster-like hills and curves.
The Blue Hole is a fantastic swimming spot that is accessible all summer. It is located a quarter mile east of Little River Falls on Alabama Highway 35. With its calm, easy-flowing water and close proximity to the parking lot, this is a great location for families with children or summertime beginners.
There is little space for parking; hence it is not crowded here. Picnic tables and permanent charcoal grills will be added to upgrades in the future. However, you cannot currently use a personal charcoal grill.
Usually the parking garage fills up quickly on late spring and summer weekends. Then park workers will seal it off until more spaces become available. Do you have a backup plan in case the car park is full and that area is not available.
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