Desoto State Park is located on Lookout Mountain near Fort Payne Alabama
(home of the legendary country band "Alabama"). It's a rugged place with large
rock outcroppings and a mountainous terrain.
Bike riding is great
around the campground and on some of the trails. People tend to drive a
little fast on the main road going through the park making bike riding
there (on the road) a bad idea.
There is a pretty nice
playground, a seasonal pool, a board walk that winds back to a
intermittent waterfall, a pretty decent little country store, and a
jewel of a campground.
Desoto encompasses much of
Little River which snakes through the Little River canyon. The drive
along the canyon is absolutely beautiful and relaxing. Careful with
queasy passengers, it's a long and winding road.
A note of interest, and episode of
Man vs. Wild in Little River Canyon (search for it on
YouTube, but be warned, he kills a wild boar... that's tied to a tree).
If you see the episode, don't worry. It's unlikely any alligators will
get you (not a lot in North Alabama), and the weather isn't really that
unpredictable, and the canyon does not randomly flood.
If you get lost walking on the marked trail by the river, just take any
of the trails out to the road that's running along the rim.
Spookapalooza 2012 update coming soon. Keep
an eye on Facebook for update notices. See the new updated pictures to
Desoto Falls - click
for larger picture.
To plan this weekend,
I turned to the PB&J Calendar of Events. There were a dozen or so
events happening across the Southeast this weekend, but one little
cluster of "happenings" really caught my eye.
First, it was
the Desoto State Park's Annual
Spring Flower Saturday this weekend. May is beautiful at
Little River Canyon Center was hosting a Cinco de Mayo party that included lots
of fun and educational activities for kids and grownups
center was also presenting an amphibian interpretive program
that featured tadpoles and frogs, always a winner with kids.
We arrived Friday
evening and set-up camp. Desoto has full hookups, large sites, and
cable, so it's very comfortable. A fire and a peaceful, sparsely
populated campground made for a quiet evening. We were really
surprised that the campground wasn't packed this weekend. The
weather was beautiful! An episode of "Big Valley" closed our
Saturday morning, after
some outdoor play, we headed for the
Little River Canyon Center.
When we arrived,
the center's director met us at the door inviting us in to
eat. The building's entrance is beautiful, framed with
stacked stone and vaulted ceilings. The center of the
building is a breezeway that allows air to flow through
keeping the main area comfortable, We learned that the
building features a geothermal heating and cooling system,
and many of the materials are recycled. Very green!
After eating a
wonderful meal and bursting several pinata, we headed for
the activities. You can see by the pictures, there was fun
Soon it was time
for the amphibian presentation. The kids filed in, and filed
in, and filed in. The JSU professor seemed a little
surprised at the sheer numbers as well as the age group. We
could tell he was used to a little older crowd. However, he
did a fantastic job of adapting, and kept the kids' interest
for the entire session.
In all, we spent
about 3-4 hours at the center before heading back to camp at
Desoto State Park. We had a lot of fun, learned a lot, and
left with several tadpoles, including a rare albino.
The balance of Saturday
was spent playing at the campground and preparing Supper. Some of
our very good friends had joined us, and we chatted around the
campfire till well after dark.
Sunday morning was
pack-up time. After loading the camper and the jeep, we headed out
for the Azalea Cascade boardwalk. The boardwalk is a lovely path
that winds through the hardwoods to a small set of waterfalls. It
was a little early in the season I guess, because the flowers
weren't very brilliant. It was still awesome.
Desoto State Park is one of our top ten favorite
destinations. We have spent several long holiday weekends here
because Desoto has all the positive aspects of a state park with the
conveniences of an RV Park. There is an abundance of nature and the
campsites are large like most state parks, but Desoto's campground
also features full RV hookup (30 & 50 amp electricity, water, cable,
and sewer). Amenities are abundant and the staff organizes some
really great events and activities.
adventure was planned around Spookapalooza, a weekend of Halloween
activities like outdoor movies, games, story telling, and trick or
treating. For the Richardson Tribe, it was the end of a very long
and trying week. John Micah had a fever of over 103 Thursday night,
and work was piled on everyone. The costumes we'd ordered hadn't yet
arrived (or so we thought, another story), and we got away from the
house late on Friday making our arrival at Desoto well after the
office had closed. Fortunately, the trusty security ranger had the
code and our paperwork handy. It didn't take long to get the camper
leveled and connected, and it was once again beginning to feel like
home. The psychology of being on Central time for a change made me
decide it was early enough for a fire, so I indulged.
Saturday went a little
differently than planned. We had our bikes and rode a little in the
morning, but didn't cover the distance I'd hoped. There was just too
much happening. We visited some good friends at a cozy little cabin
they rented that overlooked Desoto Falls. The cabin, nearly 70 years
old, was very rustic and quaint, but a newer structure just a short
walk away was even more unique. The cabin's owner has also built a
very nice screened chalet over the small lake formed from the dam at
the top of Desoto Falls. There is no glass in the structure. It is
completely screened, but has most of the comforts of home. Later in
the afternoon, we headed back to the park. Unfortunately, the cabin
isn't usually for rent, but there are others available. Google it!
We hadn't planned on
"trick or treating" because the kids had no costumes. Initially it
was working. The little guys helped entertain the trick or treaters
by posing as statues while Mommy played the "Candy Lady". But then,
with a stroke of genius, Lee Thomas created the costume of a Dumb
and Dumber Hobo Nerd! The rest of our crew followed suit, and were
soon a hit with the other trick or treaters and parents. It wasn't
the goofy way they dressed, it was how they acted and talked. They
REALLY got into character, especially the dumber part. They went
around our loop in the campground, and came back with grocery bags
loaded with candy.
We sat around the fire
for a very long time talking and laughing that evening before
retiring to the camper. We started a movie, but, as so often
happens, everyone was out well before the end. That's ok, 'cause we
have to get up tomorrow morning, pack-up, and head for Rome and the
Chiaha Art Festival, but that's another story...
Labor Day Weekend
We have camped at Desoto State Park enough to
really start to appreciate what it has to offer. On this
trip, we had some friends camping in the next site. In
addition to full hookups and cable, the fact that you can
reserve specific sites is a nice feature.
We visited the dam at the top of Desoto
Falls on the Little River. It was the first hydroelectric dam in North
Alabama. It's a little scary to stand at the bottom and look up.
The waterfalls are really beautiful when the water's flowing strong, but
it's been a little dry and the falls were not particularly spectacular.
Back at the campground the kids played some games, had a great scavenger
hunt, rode bikes, and generally burned energy.
Desoto is one of our favorite places to
stay. It's very remote and scenic, but easy to access.
Scroll down for more journal entries.
2009- Memorial Day Weekend
we had lots of fun this Memorial day weekend with
some close friends at Desoto State Park. We (the kids) went swimming in
the somewhat chilly pool. We also cooked using our new Dutch ovens, went
to a movie, saw lots of pretty azalea flowers, rode bikes, played on the
playground, and lots more. We really like this park now because there
is lots to do, and they have FULL HOOKUP!
Note- avoid the theater in
Fort Payne Alabama.
Spring Break (including Easter Sunday)
Well, we had just traded our faithful old motorhome "Homer" in on a new
Winnebago, and Desoto had a new improved campground, so we put the two
together for a weekend of fun. Some friends joined us for an
event-filled weekend that included a drive through the "Little River
Canyon", cooking by fire, dyeing Easter Eggs, riding bikes (a lot) and
Easter Egg hunting.
It was our first time staying in (even seeing) the campground at
Desoto. It had been closed for renovations and addition of new sites for
quite some time. We were We have plans to come back, but now we
know where the good sites are. We weren't real happy with our
pull-through site this trip. Pull-through sites tend to be narrower and
less private than back-in sites, but they're easier to access.
The Richardson Tribe
Amicalola Falls State Park
Beaches of South Walton.
Cataloochee Ski Area
Cedar Creek Park
Charlestown State Park
Chattahoochee Bend State Park
Cherry Hill Park
Chester Frost Park
Cloudmont Ski and Golf
Consolidated Gold Mine
Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort
Desoto State Park
Doll Mountain Campground
Enota Mountain Retreat
Etowah Indian Mounds
Fall Creek Falls State Park
Florala State Park
Franklin D Roosevelt State Park
Fort Mountain State Park
Georgia Mountain Fairground
Georgia Veterans State Park
Gold n Gem Grubbin'
James H Floyd State park
James Island Park
Jellystone Park- Cave City, KY
John Tanner Park
Lake Sidney Lanier
Little River Canyon Center
Live Oak Landing
Lula Lake Land Trust
Mammoth Cave National Park
Moto Mountain Powersports
New Echota - Cherokee Capitol
Noccalula Falls Park details and pictures
Old Stone Fort Archaeology State Park
Pine Moutain RV
Red Top Mountain State Park
Ridge Ferry Park
Rocky Mountain Recreation Area
Rock Town - Pigeon Mountain
Salt Springs Recreation Area
Stone Mountain Park
Tannehill State Park
Tellus Science Museum
The Southern Museum
Topsail Hill Preserve
US Space and Rocket Center - Details and Pictures
Vogel State Park
Wild Animal Safari
World of Coke
Alabama's State Parks website is
a very clean easy to use design. I wish it had an
interactive map feature like Georgia's State Park website
does. While better than many , they could still use more
pictures of campsites and amenities.
Rate - $27.50* - This park has
one very key feature from the RV camping standpoint, the
campground has 94 full hookup (sewer) sites, so an extended
stay is painless. Most of the Sites are very wide
(especially the back-ins) and shady. You cannot reserve a
specific site at Desoto, but we have never been disappointed
with the selection when we arrived. There is an abundance of
nice sites. Watch for ants! This campground is almost
a 10, but only a 9 because there is no playground in the
campground area. It's a pretty long walk and you have to
cross a road (on which people drive too fast).
& Events at Desoto State Park
Desoto has a number of events and programs
throughout the year, especially on holidays. Because the
campground has full hookup, long holiday weekends are much
more enjoyable. There is usually something special happening
on holidays, like a flag making contest and a parade on
Brrrrrrr! The water is kind of chilly for me,
but the kids don't care. It's big with multiple diving
boards. There is a fee, which frustrated me because we are
camping there. I tend to believe things like the pool should
be included. In was a nominal fee, but even a little fee of
$2-$3 each adds up when there are six of us.
There is a playground across from the camp
store, but it's a long way from the campground. You
certainly wouldn't want to send the kids down to play by
themselves. The equipment is older, but the kids don't care.
Check out the CCC built pavilion at the campground.
Geocaching at Desoto State Park
Geocaching is available, but we didn't have a chance.
Click here for the park's page dedicated to the subject.
GPS Quest is a game of hide-and-seek using a GPS unit to
find markers located throughout the park. Find the markers
and record the letter on your scorecard. Once completed,
visit this website and enter the correct letters to print
your certificate of completion.
have found mostly sandstone, but there are sometimes fossils
in the rock. There is an old CCC rock
quarry in the park we need to visit next time..
Mentone, Fort Payne,
Museum (the band),
*Note: We rate
only the amenities we have personally reviewed.
**Accommodation pricing is based on 2010
Alabama State Parks website pricing.
No financial consideration or favor has been received for
listing in PB&J Adventures' website. We are in no way
affiliated with this facility or any other facility we
review. Any paid advertising seen on this site was arranged
after the destination was reviewed. You can trust the
reviews to be unbiased.