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Website:Desoto State Park
Things to do: Only a two-hour drive (traffic depending) from Atlanta, this park sits on top of Lookout Mountain in Northeast Alabama. And much like it’s nearby neighbor, Cloudland Canyon State Park, there are no shortages of hiking trails for you to choose from.
Just a short walk from the information center is the trailhead for a few different trails. On the left side of the street you can catch the Desoto Scout Trail (6.0 Miles) or the Blue Trail which is considerably shorter. You will pass Indian Falls on the way which is a great stopping place for the kids on the way to the river.
*Boardwalk to Blue Trail
On the right-hand side of the road you will see an entrance to a boardwalk which services the Blue, Orange and Red Trails. Depending on your mood these trails can range from 1 mile to 3 miles. I encourage you to pick up a trail map before starting because many of these trails don’t circle back around, instead they just join up with other trails that will bring you back to your starting place.
*Looking down Desoto Falls from the Dam
If you don’t want to hike there is plenty more to choose from. Just a short drive from the park center in one direction is Desoto Falls and in the other direction is Little River Canyon Nature Preserve. At any other time of year other than the weekend we visited, both these areas would be great for swimming and cooling off. We were told that Little River Canyon Falls was a favorite of the locals. Unfortunately for us, there had been so much rain in the previous days that the water flowing was many multiples of the normal amount, so they prohibited swimming to anyone until the water levels went down.
At the top end of the dam at Desoto Falls they do rent Kayaks and Canoes if you want to paddle along the river, or you can take a very short hike down to look at the falls from a viewing area on the side of the cliff.
*View of the falls at Little River Canyon
In addition to swimming and kayaking at Little River Canyon, if you have kids you may want to visit the Little River Canyon Center. They have information about the area and the kids can get sworn in as Junior Rangers and receive a Ranger badge for the park.
In addition to the falls there are many other local attractions, check out the park website for more details about the area as well as activities such as fishing, mountain biking and climbing.
In the summer months after a long day of hiking, you may want to check out the pool in the park. It stays nice and cool even on the hottest of days.
Campground Review: The recently upgraded campground sites are well laid out and depending on which loop you choose you may have more tree cover in some areas versus others. Feel free to check out my youtube video tour of the campground to get a feel for the layout of the sites.
In all they have 94 trailer and RV sites. There are a good number of pull thru sites, but the majority are back in with at least two buddy sites that I counted. Every site has the usual hook-ups, but each site also has sewer and cable hookups as well. I don’t care about the cable tv hook-ups, but the sewer hookups are always a welcome sight with three kids.
If you don’t want to camp they have cabins and even motels rooms to rent as well. There is even a restaurant at the Desoto State Park Mountain Inn if you get tired of cooking.
*Camp store and information center
The campground itself is clean and the campground hosts were pleasant and unobtrusive. The check in, camp store and the nearest playground are all about a ¼ mile away down a steep road with no good area to walk along so you will need to drive. The store itself has most of the amenities you would need but the shelves were pretty bare of trailer/RV supplies if you forgot something. They also sell firewood and ice.
Hook Ups: Yes. Water, 50/30. Sewer, cable