9 waterfalls to hike, each less than 2 hours from Bham! Image by Pookie_NY via Flickr CC

9 Alabama waterfalls to hike, each less than 2 hours from Bham! Image by Pookie_NY via Flickr CC

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.

Upper Caney Creek Falls

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.

Caney Creek Falls in Alabama

At Caney Creek you’ll find the perfect swimming hole in which to cool off and enjoy the mist of the waterfall. Just one Alabama waterfall of many to explore! Image by GRYGRGN via Flickr CC

DeSoto Falls

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.

DeSoto Falls in Alabama

The beautiful rock formations that surround DeSoto Falls add to the waterfall’s beauty. Image by Stanislav Vitebskiy via Flickr CC

Little River 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.

Little River Falls in Alabama

No matter what time of year you visit, the waters at Little River Falls are sure to leave an impression. Image by Pookie_NY via Flickr CC

Sipsey Wilderness Waterfalls

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.

Sipsey Wilderness - William Bankhead National Forest, AL

Bee Branch Falls is among diverse array of beautiful waterfalls in the Sipsey Wilderness. Image by Michael Hicks via Flickr CC

Noccalula Falls

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.

Noccalula Falls in Gadsden, AL

The waters of Black Creek drop 90 feet over the cliff face at Noccalula Falls. Image by Pookie_NY via Flickr CC

Cheaha Falls

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.

Cheaha Falls in Alabama

Cheaha Falls cascades down the highest mountain in Alabama! Image credit: alapark.com

Dismals Canyon Falls

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).

Dismals Canyon Falls in Alabama

Lush greens and diverse plant life at Rainbow Falls in Dismals Canyon will make you think you’ve been transported to a different time and place. Image by Steve Driskell via Flickr CC

Moss Rock Preserve Waterfalls

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.

The babbling Moss Rock waterfalls create a soothing backdrop for a lovely hike. | Image courtesy Miles Hudson

The babbling Moss Rock waterfalls create a soothing backdrop for a lovely hike. Image courtesy of Miles Hudson

Peavine Falls

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.

SB_BHM_Waterfall-Peavine

Peavine Falls is named for the way the water twists and turns—like the tendrils of a pea vine! Image courtesy of Maria Morales Payne

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!

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