9 Alabama Waterfalls
Give summer a last salute by paying a visit to one of these stunning Alabama waterfalls or by dipping your toes in a local swimming hole. There is no shortage of beautiful scenery here, thanks to the more than 77,000 miles of rivers and streams running through the state. What better way to spend an afternoon than with a tour of waterfalls located just a short drive away? Whether you’re looking for an epic adventure, want to take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life or just want to soak up the last glorious days of summer, there’s an area waterfall waiting for you. So pack your hiking boots, a swimsuit and a picnic lunch, and head to one of these don’t-miss scenic spots.
Location: Caney Creek Falls Trailhead, County Road 2, Double Springs
Drive time from Birmingham: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Caney Creek Falls, located just outside the Sipsey Wilderness in Double Springs, is a must-visit Alabama waterfall. A three-mile hike will take you to this lush, secluded area at the head of Caney Creek. Moss-covered rocks and evergreen trees provide lovely sights along your journey and create a perfect backdrop for the falls. After a heavy rain, you may even be lucky enough to find two curtains of water pouring from the ledge above. Take a break upon your arrival and splash around in the swimming hole at the foot of the falls before hitting the trail for home.
Location: 7104 Desoto Pkwy. NE, Fort Payne
Drive time from Birmingham: 1 hour, 48 minutes
Standing more than 100 feet above the beautiful gorge, DeSoto Falls is one of Alabama’s tallest and most-visited waterfalls. A short walk along the paved path will take you to the falls overlook, and a trip down a flight of stairs reveals a breathtaking view of the main waterfall. DeSoto State Park, located just a few miles down the road from the falls, contains several additional small waterfalls and offers an array of outdoor activities, including kayaking, fishing, wildflower expeditions and much more. If you’re looking to spend an afternoon in the great outdoors, begin your journey with a visit to DeSoto Falls.
Location: 472 Alabama Hwy. 35, Gaylesville
Drive time from Birmingham: 2 hours
This 45-foot waterfall is well worth the drive from Birmingham. Atop Lookout Mountain near Fort Payne, Little River Falls is one of the most easily accessible waterfalls in the state, making it the ideal destination for a simple, stress-free family trip. With water flowing year-round and an abundance of gorgeous scenery, this northeast Alabama gem marks the start of Little River Canyon and is part of the Little River Canyon National Preserve. Pack a lunch to enjoy at the park’s shaded picnic tables, or, if you’re feeling adventurous, take a dip in the nearby Little River Canyon swimming hole, where you may enjoy the water and take in the view.
Location: Mt. Hope
Drive time from Birmingham: 2 hours
Nicknamed the Land of 1,000 Waterfalls, the Sipsey Wilderness is oft-visited by Alabama’s hiking and camping buffs, and for good reason. In addition to an array of waterfalls you’ll find both along designated trails and off the beaten path, Sipsey’s 25,000 protected acres contain forested canyons, ravines and sandstone cliffs and formations. Kinlock Falls, Falls Creek Falls, Turkey Foot Falls and Feather Hawk Falls are among the dozens of waterfalls waiting to be discovered in the Sipsey Wilderness.
Location: 1600 Noccalula Road, Gadsden
Drive time from Birmingham: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Noccalula Falls in Gadsden has plenty to offer history lovers and outdoorsmen alike. The powerful, 90-foot waterfall is surrounded by Cherokee legend and even features a statue of the young Native American girl around whom the falls’ legend centers. Experienced hikers may head down the trails into the ravine for a chance to walk behind the falls and explore the nearby caves, where you’ll find historic carvings left behind by Civil War soldiers. Before you go, be sure to visit the charming pioneer village and park area, complete with a historic covered bridge and various other historical and fun sites.
Location: 2141 Bunker Loop, Delta 36258
Drive time from Birmingham: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Talladega National Forest is home to Mt. Cheaha, Alabama’s tallest mountain, and there you’ll find a lovely scene at Cheaha Falls. After flowing down the mountain in Cheaha Creek, 30 feet of water spills from rocks along Chinnabee Silent Trail. The falls are just a short, easy, three-quarter-mile hike from the trail’s parking area on Talladega Scenic Byway. Make the most of your trip and also pay a visit to Devil’s Den and High Falls, located nearby within Cheaha State Park.
Location: 901 Hwy. 8, Phil Campbell
Drive time from Birmingham: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Nestled in the Appalachian foothills of Franklin County, Dismals Canyon, a privately owned conservatory, offers visitors a chance to experience two waterfalls and some of the most unique terrain in the state. The cool, (sometimes 14 degrees below average temperatures!) 1.5-mile hike will take you on a tour through the canyon, past Rainbow Falls, Secret Falls and a true treasure trove of unique plants. An admission fee is required for entrance to the canyon, but rest assured this one-of-a-kind experience will be well worth the price ($10, adults; $6.75, under 12; senior discounts, group rates, overnight prices and tour packages also available).
Location: 617 Preserve Way, Hoover
Drive time from Birmingham: 20 minutes
Short on time? You don’t have to travel very far to visit an Alabama waterfall. Right in Birmingham’s backyard, you’ll find 349 treasured acres at Moss Rock Preserve in Hoover. Walk the five-mile trail and you’ll come across many small waterfalls along the tumbling waters of Hurricane Branch. Be sure to visit after a heavy rain for the optimal waterfall experience.
Location: 200 Terrace Drive, Pelham
Drive time from Birmingham: 30 minutes
A 65-foot, spring-fed waterfall at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham is ideal for hikers interested in a bit of a climb. Many of the park’s trails will lead you to Peavine Falls, but take the Peavine Falls Trail for the most direct route. With icy cold waters that are strongest after rainfall, Peavine Falls also provides a lovely spot in which to cool off after this challenging hike.
Before the warmer weather slips away, go for a hike to one of these Alabama waterfalls and you’ll instantly know that life is pretty darn good! After a long trek through nature, enjoy a refreshing shower under the falls or an invigorating dip in a cool swimming hole!