Little River Canyon National Preserve

Use the park page to learn about local hiking, nature, trailheads, trail and route maps, and groups that meet here. If you know something about this area. Please feel welcome to write about it here.

General Information

Little River Canyon National Preserve features forested areas, waterfalls, canyon rims, bluffs, pools, boulders, and sandstone cliffs. This park is a great place where natural and cultural heritage of the Southern Appalachians come together.

Other than hiking, recreational activities at the park include camping, picnicking, horseback riding, and even hunting.

Right now, there is ongoing work at the park to help build trails. Please see the group that was set up and check for upcoming trail-building events. Refreshments and even prizes are provided by park staff.


Trailhead Name: Desoto Scout Trail Backcountry Trailhead

Trailhead Description: This is the Desoto Scout Trail Backcountry Trailhead. It is the midway point of the trail. It is also the site of the Little River Canoe Trailhead. It is accessible by LRCNP Backcountry road 5. From Fort Payne AL: AL Hwy 35 South. At the top of the mountain turn left on CR 89 (Desoto Parkway after about 4 miles. turn right on CR 476 (Oakhill Road) After about 2 miles turn left on Dunn Road. This road will turn to dirt and ou will need some ground clearance to get to the trailhead. Go about 3 miles and the trailhead is on the left just as you see the river. If you come to a creek crossing you have gone too far.

Parking is available at this trailhead

Parking spots: 10

Parking is NOT free at this trailhead

Access to trail is NOT wheelchair accessible

Restrooms available: YES

Trailhead Name: Eberhart Trail

Trailhead Description: Eberhart Trail is a steep trail into Little River Canyon. It is the main access to the canyon floor. There are a few benches to take rest along the trail and some nice overlooks. At the bottom of the trail there are several picnic tables and a nice swimming beach. There are remnants of the "Deep Canyon Trail" at the bottom, but those are very poorly maintained and "bushwhacking" is required. Despite the steepness, this is a popular kayak put in as well

Parking is available at this trailhead

Parking spots: 20

Parking is free at this trailhead

Access to trail is NOT wheelchair accessible

Restrooms available: YES

Routes and Trails You Can Travel

Route Name: DeSoto Scout Trail: Backcountry Trailhead to Straight Creek

Route Description: This is an easy trail down to the future site of the New Bridge over Straight Creek.

Distance: 0.85

Total elevation gain: 51

Total elevation loss: 60

Route Name: Eberhart Point to Little RIver

Route Description: there and back.

Distance: 0.69

Total elevation gain: 389

Total elevation loss: 386



Climate and Weather

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The park and general surrounding area climate is mild. There are four seasons with an average temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The average annual rainfall for the Little River Canyon area is approximately 54 inches.


Little River Canyon National Preserve was established to protect and preserve the natural, scenic, recreational and cultural resources of the area and to provide for public enjoyment of those resources. It was made a unit of the National Park System by Public Law 102-427 on October 21, 1992.

The area history is also part of the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865) history when Streight's Raid through Cherokee County was the place of one of the most dramatic episodes of the Civil War.

A 67-mile local historic trail through the Coosa River Valley commemorates the actions of "Citizen-Soldier" John Wisdom.

Wisdom rode from Gadsden to Rome to warn citizens of the impending Union Raid. Near Cedar Bluff, Alabama, on May 3, 1863, Confederate General Nathan B. Forrest pursued Union Colonel Abel D. Streight and forced him to surrender 1,600 troops to General Forrest’s smaller force of 600 men. Later in 1863, but prior to the battle of Chickamauga, elements of Union General Rosecran's army were sent across Lookout Mountain in an attempt to cut off Braxton Bragg's army from its supply lines to Atlanta.

In the 1930’s, President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal provided an impetus for developing the economic potential of the Upland South and through that, work began on constructing parks in the area.

In 1934, Alabama established DeSoto State Park on Little River in DeKalb County. In 1937, the Alabama State Commission of Forestry and the National Park Service wanted to see the DeSoto State Park and the May's Gulf area (Little River Canyon) located in DeKalb and Cherokee Counties combined into one substantial state park unit. Forestry personnel thought it was essential to the development of the project to connect the two areas.

In 1967 the State of Alabama and the Alabama Power Company finally entered into an agreement for a cooperative wildlife management and public hunting area, whereby, the State of Alabama leased approximately 10,000 acres of land from Alabama Power Company for $1.00 per year.





Other Plants

Camping Possibilities

Camping is limited to three sites (one group per site).

Other Information


Driving Directions

Here are address and contact information:

Little River Canyon National Preserve
4322 Little River Trail NE, Suite 100
Fort Payne, AL 35967
E-mail Us

Superintendent's Office
(256) 845-9605

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Park Map

Photos From This Park

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Hiking or Walking Groups Nearby

Group Name: Hoofing Hikers

Group Description: Hiking in local areas surrounding Lafayette, Ga. on Fridays, Saturdays, or Sunday afternoons. Preferably within 30 mile radius of Lafayette. Any age or skill level as long as health will not prevent hiking. Hiking may be mainly walking or more strenuous, depending on the group\'s choice of sites. If interested in joining such a group, call Linda at 423-304-5441.

Group Name: Little River Hiking Club

Group Description: This is a group to hike and promote the trails of Little River Canyon and surrounding areas. We have a treasure of good trails in the area that need to be traveled, maintained and enjoyed. We will be scheduling hikes and trail maintenance days every week or so. Join us, Invite your friends! Trail list so far: DeSoto Scout Trail Eberhart Trail Deep Canyon Trail Powell's Trail Canyon Mouth Trail Beaver Pond Trail YCC Trail All trails at: Little River Canyon National Preserve DeSoto State Park. Cherokee Rock Village Yellow Creek Cloudland Canyon State Park Lake Guntersville State Park Buck's Pocket State Park The Pocket Recreation Area Chickamauga Keown Falls and Johns Mountain Scenic Area Lula Lake Pigeon Mountain Also: Talladega National Forest Cheaha State Park Dugger Mountain Sipsey Wilderness Bankhead National Forest

Group Name: Birmingham Hiking

Group Description: A social group for people who like to walk and hike and live in the area of Birmingham Alabama.

Upcoming Hikes

There are no upcoming hikes. Be the first to start one!

Past Hikes

eberhart hike | 6.4 km away

Date: Thursday, 6-30-2011

Description: it is eberhart!

Hike around Bear Mountain in Alabama in search for the hidden cave | 73.7 km away

Date: Saturday, 7-30-2011

Description: We will walk around the mountain and make a big loop. If the hikers are up for it, we will go higher or lower in elevation. Part of the hike theme will be to find a prehistoric cave that is rumored to be in the area.

Girlfriend Getaway: Fall on the Appalachian Trail, North Georgia | 84.7 km away

Date: Saturday, 10-29-2011

Description: A week long backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail. Our journey will lead us to warm, breezy vistas and nights will be umbrellaed by skies full of stars. There is also the opportunity to catch the sites of beautiful waterfalls, the changing of the leaves (leaf peeping), black bears, and other wildlife. You will walk away from this experience with a better knowledge of the outdoors, and newfound hiking partners.

Amicalola Falls to Blood Mountain (Appalachian Trail) | 79.1 km away

Date: Saturday, 6-2-2012

Description: http://www.georgiatrails.com/gt/Georgia_Appalachian_Trail_Sections_and_Access