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Hiking with Hailey: DeSoto State Park

Located in Northeast Alabama, DeSoto State Park draws in visitors from across the state, all wanting to experience the spectacular waterfalls.
Published: Aug. 15, 2021 at 5:40 PM CDT
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MENTONE, Ala. (WSFA) - You know that old song by TLC called “Waterfalls?” The lyrics in the chorus say “don’t go chasing waterfalls.” But, we actually didn’t listen to that. In fact, we did the exact opposite. For our season finale of Hiking with Hailey, we’re exploring the waterfalls at DeSoto State Park.

Nestled atop Lookout Mountain in Northeast Alabama, most people come to DeSoto State Park for one thing: the cascading waterfalls.

DeSoto State Park recently acquired 157 acres of new land that will provide additional space...
DeSoto State Park recently acquired 157 acres of new land that will provide additional space along the river for visitors to explore, enjoy, and protect.(Source: WSFA 12 News)

With more than 3,500 acres of protected land, the park was developed in the late 1930′s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC. Since then, DeSoto State Park has been a stunner for everyone who visits.

“The dam was actually built as the first hydroelectric power plant here in North Alabama,” said park director Josh Hughes. “It was operated by a man named A.A. Miller. His grandson actually still lives here nearby in one of the houses overlooking the falls. Above the dam, there’s a two mile stretch of flat water where we rent kayaks out so you can do kayaking trips, that are family friendly – no rapids or anything like that.”

In addition to the main falls, DeSoto State Park offers 25 miles of hiking trails, eleven of which are accessible to bikers. If you’re really interested in the waterfalls – you’re in luck: there’s five additional falls hidden among those trails.

Nestled atop Lookout Mountain in Northeast Alabama, most people come to DeSoto State Park for...
Nestled atop Lookout Mountain in Northeast Alabama, most people come to DeSoto State Park for one thing: the cascading waterfalls.(Source: WSFA 12 News)

“[DeSoto Falls] is obviously is the easiest one to get to, but there’s five other ones you can hike to,” said Hughes. “Most of those are seasonal though only during the spring and fall seasons.”

But don’t worry, even if you visit during the summer, the water is till spectacular, especially when you make it to the base of DeSoto Falls. Fair warning, though, it can be tricky getting down there. As Josh told us on the way down, this isn’t a flip-flop hike.

While DeSoto Falls are the main attraction at the park, there are five additional falls hidden...
While DeSoto Falls are the main attraction at the park, there are five additional falls hidden among the 25 miles of hiking trails.(Source: WSFA 12 News)

If hiking isn’t your thing, you can get excited about this – DeSoto State Park recently acquired 157 acres of new land that will provide additional space along the river to explore, enjoy, and protect.

“There was a lot of concern in the community that it would be developed and turned into a subdivision, and development causes erosion and a lot of other problems for the river, so it protected that piece of property and also protects the river and everything downstream,” said Hughes. “You gotta protect them or else the next generation isn’t gonna have them to enjoy.”

So as we wrap up another season of exploring Alabama, we’ll keep chasing waterfalls and see you next time on Hiking with Hailey.

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