Summer has arrived! And with summer comes road trips. For us, because we have two dogs, and one does NOT travel well, we have to stay pretty close to home. Little River Canyon in Dekalb County, Alabama is a fantastic day trip. Literally. You will be here all day and still probably not see everything there is to see. From the falls at the top, to the falls at the bottom, and all the fun little places between, Little River Canyon offers a great day-trip for families looking to play in the water, the sun, hike, and explore.
While we have not stayed around to play in the water, mostly because there are just so many people and we aren’t crowd lovers, we always explore the roads and paths around the park. The visitor center offers a great opportunity to learn about the surrounding wildlife and to speak to locals who hang around and are eager to share their stories and, if you’re really lucky, the secret places where all the pretty flowers grow. I am a flower lover, and capturing them during a specific moment in the day is a project of mine. We were lucky enough to run into a local photographer who told us where we could possibly find some rarer floral specimens. So don’t be shy, talk to people! Most are nice. 😊
The roads to all the lookouts are very (very) curvy. So if you tend to get motion sick, be prepared for
that. Some of the lookouts have a lot of parking, and others only allow for two or three cars parked practically in the road, so watch your kids! Also, not all of the lookouts are small kid friendly. They don’t have guardrails and will drop straight down into the canyon below. If you have small children (or kids who simply don’t listen), I’d advise waiting until they’re older for some of the smaller lookout locations. My son and I tend to sit down on the boulders to take in the view and then scoot back before standing. Neither of us are graceful and if we happen to fall (a real possibility with us), we will at least land completely on rock. My husband uses something to balance on when climbing around these locations. We are a clumsy family to say the least… That’s okay, we admit it, and know our strengths and weaknesses in potentially dangerous situations.
Definitely stop and explore the boulder garden. You can’t miss it. The last time we visited this area, we’d just came from Cherokee Rock Village, so the boulders weren’t quite as
impressive, therefore I don’t have any pictures. BUT! Still go, get your pics, share them with me if you happen to explore, I can’t wait to see how much fun you have.
The waterfall is of course the biggest draw for this preserve. It’s one of the most impressive in our state. And it’s beautiful. Depending on how much rainfall we’ve had will determine how much flow you get, as is the case with any waterfall. It will also determine how close you can get. At one time you could crawl all over the top of the fall. Now, from my understanding, they have closed that down due to too many accidents, which is a shame. The little shallow pools were really fun for playing in. Also, it’s really not too often you get to play at the top of a waterfall, versus the bottom. I’m glad when we went over ten years ago, we were able to have that experience. Going to the water at the bottom is expensive as far as admission fees go. I believe the cost when we went last was $30 for the vehicle for a day use pass. This is a National Park, but my husbands lifetime park pass did not work for this area.
There are picnic tables and pit-toilets throughout the park, you just have to watch for signs. We packed
a lunch and ate at one of the tables. Be sure to have handwipes, the bathrooms (with the exceptions of the visitor center) do not have running water. There are hiking trails, but we haven’t planned a day hiking trip yet. If you do, you’ll have to let us know the best trails.
Here is a link to the website if you are planning a visit and would like more information - https://www.nps.gov/liri/index.htm