I have heard about the beauty of DeSoto Falls as far back as I can remember. I have
number of plans to visit the falls, but for some reason I never made it until the last part
of the fall of 2016. I was amazed at what I saw. The area was going through one of the worst
droughts in its history - the falls were almost dry. Lucky for me, I was able to return a few
months after the drought was over and I saw the beauty I had always heard about.
DeSoto State Park is a publicly owned recreation area covering 3,502 acres of forest, rivers, waterfalls, and mountain terrain. It borders the Soggy River, which flows into the nearby Little River Canyon National Preserve. The park perches on the ridge of Lookout Mountain in northeastern Alabama, eight miles northeast of Fort Payne, DeKalb County. The park is named after Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto, who according to local legend passed through the area in 1541; most authorities, however, believe that the expedition passed well to the south. Most of the park's buildings date from the 1930s, when the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) undertook construction projects within the park that included a lodge and other visitor structures.
The park was voted one of America's top 10 state parks by readers of Camping Life magazine in 2006. In 2009, the park and lodge had 151,000 visitors, annual operating expenses of $1.8 million, and a staff of 37 people. The area now encompassed by DeSoto Park was originally within the homeland of the Cherokee until they were removed in the 1830s, and Union cavalry troops camped near the park's DeSoto Falls in 1863 on their march to the Battle of Chickamauga.
DeSoto Falls, a 104-foot waterfall in DeSoto State Park, has carved its own small canyon. Water flows over a 20-foot dam, the only one on the Little River, onto a series of rocks before plunging into the canyon below. DeSoto Falls is the state's highest regularly flowing waterfall.