"An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day."
- Henry David Thoreau
Have you been to an Alabama State Park lately to enjoy the scenery along the many miles of hiking trails? Thanks to the amount of rainfall we received during the end of March and beginning of April, many of our waterfalls are flowing and the wildlflowers are really beginning to bloom! With so many parks and trails to choose from, it can be overwhelming to make your hiking plans. Never hesitate to contact parks staff with any questions you may have about the trails and what you may see along the way. Below, you will find a few suggestions from some of the parks which are known for their waterfalls.
Cheaha State Park in Delta, AL
Nestled against the Talladega National Forest, Cheaha State Park sits atop the highest point in Alabama and provides access to an expansive trail system including those within Cheaha Wilderness. For those wanting to see the cascading waters of High Falls, there is a High Falls Parking Area which provides access to the Odum Scout Trail. For viewing Devil's Den and Cheaha Falls, you may consider parking at Lake Chinnabee or the Turnipseed Parking area which provide access to the Chinnabee Silent Trail. Please keep in mind that these parking areas and trails are located within the Talladega National Forest and use fees may apply for parking. Also remember that these trails can be accessed from Cheaha State Park, but make sure you check the map before you go because a hike of this length would require some planning. For more information about the trails at Cheaha State Park, email the park naturalist Mandy Pearson or reach the park by phone at (256) 488-5111.
DeSoto State Park in Fort Payne, AL
DeSoto State Park is full of beautiful trails with flowing waterfalls this time of year. This park is also known for the many fragrant wildflowers that provide colorat along the trails. Details about how to access the waterfalls from the trails can be found on the park's Waterfalls webpage. Also, mark your calendars for the 23rd Annual Wildflower Saturday coming up May 1-2, 2015! On your next visit, you can also explore the trails and waterfalls of the Little River Canyon National Preserve, located just 10 miles from DeSoto State Park. For more information about the trails at DeSoto, email the staff or call the park office at (256) 997-5025.
Monte Sano State Park in Huntsville, AL
Located just outside of town, Monte Sano State Park is the perfect place to escape to fresh air. With a well-developed trail system for hiking and biking, you are sure to find the perfect trail to explore for wildflowers. During and immediately following rain events, there are several beautiful waterfalls that can be seen just off of the North Plateau Loop, not far from the lodge. For more information about the trails at Monte Sano, stop by the park office to pick up a map or check out the Hiking and Biking Trails page. You can also reach the front office by calling (256) 534-3757
Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, AL
Peavine Falls is a faorite attraction of Oak Mountain State Park, and is especially beautiful after rain events! Plan to take a hike on the Blue or White trail next time you visit the park as they both connect to the Peavine Falls trail which takes you to the top of the falls. You can also read more planning suggestions on the Oak Mountain Trail Recommendations page, and you may also find the Trail Map useful. For additional questions, contact the park by email or phone at (205) 620-2520.
We hope you will enjoy the scenery of all of the parks in the coming weeks! These were just a few suggestions to get you started. Please remember that many of the waterfalls in our parks are seasonal and will not be flowing during the summer months or after periods with little to no rainfall. Please also be sure to check with each park regarding guidelines for trail use.
Photos from Left to Right, Top then Bottom Row:
(1) Mountain Laurel photographed by Brittney Hughes on the Aqua Trail at DeSoto State Park; (2) DeSoto Falls photographed by Brad Lackey for the 2013 Outdoor Alabama Photo Contest; (3) Catawba Rhododendron photographed by Brittney Hughes on the Aqua Trail at DeSoto State Park; (4) Spiderwort photogrpahed by Phillip M. Burrow for the 2015 Outdoor Alabama Photo Contest; (5) Cascade at Monte Sano State Park photographed by John Hornsby near the North Plateau Loop Trail; (6) Quaker Ladies photographed by Brittney Hughes at DeSoto State Park
Header photo: Little River Falls (near DeSoto State Park) photographed by Lauren Calvert for the 2015 Outdoor Alabama Photo Contest