DeSoto State Park
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DeSoto State Park offers 15 miles of trails, ranging from easy to more challenging rough terrain, including an accessible boardwalk. Some of the trails can even be accessed via bike, as a result, the area is popular among nature lovers, hikers and cyclists. With large bodies of water decorating the area, one can also go fishing, kayaking, swimming or try climbing the large rocks in the park.
Visitors can follow multiple trails and visit the different falls along the way, this includes the Laurel Falls close to the orange trails and the Indian Falls close to the Azalea Cascade Trailhead, which is easily reached by following the wooden foot path. The Azalea Cascade Boardwalk Trail was built by the Alabama State Parks Maintenance Crew, thanks to hundreds of donations raised and grants. The boardwalk extends for 330 meters and can be used by people of all abilities. The boardwalk is surrounded by nature and wildflowers and leads to a 8 sided 20 foot deck overlooking a pool of water.
Similarly visitors can also hike to the 25 foot Lodge Falls, which are best appreciated after rainfall and can be reached by following the yellow trail and exiting close to the Lodge. At 5 feet high, Lost Falls get their name from the lack of water they face in drier seasons, this together with a rougher terrain makes them among the hardest to find. The most popular falls are the 104 foot DeSoto falls leading into a gorge, close to the Little River Canyon Nature Preserve.
DeSoto State Park is also popular for its bodies of water, Visitors can walk along Little River which flows down Lookout Mountain, before reaching Weiss Lake. The Weiss Lake covers 36000 acres and is open for fishing, offering 426 miles off the shore. DeKalb County Lake on the other hand covers 120 acres, and can be found on Sand Mountain.
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In the 1930s,The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), worked on improving the natural beauty of the area, to create a family oriented park. One can even visit their Museum. The area was previously used as a lodge of the CCC and a dance hall. One can still see some of the old structures. The stone of the original buildings was taken from a nearby quarry, which can be reached via the white trail.
Picnic tables and grills are located throughout the picnic area and can be used at $1 per day. There are also a Volleyball and Tennis Courts available. The park trails and picnic area are open from sunrise to sunset. There is a seasonal swimming pool open in summer, and various activities such as campfires talks and classes are organized from time to time. Visitors can also visit the Benefield Interpretive Center is an informative center offering information about mammals, reptiles and other creatures.
Visitors can spend the night in one of the lodging possibilities around the park, from chalets, to cabins, to motel rooms, or camp at one of the 20 different campsites, including an RV campsite. Going hungry is definitely not an option, as there is also a nearby restaurant. DeSoto State Park is a great way to spend a fun day outdoors surrounded by nature and it is even worth considering an overnight stay at the multiple facilities available. Regardless of one’s physical capabilities, DeSoto State Park has something to offer all year round.