History of Desoto State Park

DeSoto State Park is located on top of Look Out Mountain about 8 miles from Ft. Payne, Alabama. It borders the Little River Canyon which is 12 miles long and 600 feet deep in some areas making it the deepest canyon in Alabama and one of the deepest east of the Mississippi River.

With many waters falls including the 104 foot high DeSoto Falls, the area is known for its unique beauty and rare and endangered plants.

Hernando DeSoto discovered the area in 1540 as he explored through the Georgia and Alabama area looking for gold. He followed the Chattooga River into the Coosa River area. He camped for a month in what is now called Cedar Buff, AL and sent out a small party to explore and look for gold. Gold was not found but the beautiful Little River Canyon was. The small party’s historian noted that the area was quite beautiful and had “lofty hills and stupendous rocks”

By the 1940’s, with FDR’s work programs, CCC Company 2436 arrived at DeSoto Falls  to begin improvements to the area. Their work projects included construction of the DeSoto Parkway, telephone line installations, an aviation landing field, numerous roads and trails into the park areas, a picnic shelter and cabins.

Today, DeSoto State Park is a popular destination with extensive hiking trails and numerous opportunities to enjoy spectacular scenery including DeSoto Falls.