DeSoto Falls is a beautiful and magnificent 100-foot waterfall on the outskirts of the charming little southern town of Mentone, Alabama.
It is also one of the tallest and most visited of all the waterfalls in Alabama, and it is also one of the most beautiful.
It is named for Hernando de Soto; the Spanish explorer and it is a key attraction in the DeSoto State Park.
Mentone is a small town close to Fort Payne and is just off of old US Highway 117 and Highway 11.
Mentone is 72 miles south of Huntsville, 109 miles east of Birmingham, and 194 miles northeast of Montgomery.
Because of its location, it makes it one of the most popular of the Alabama backroads day trips.
DeSoto Falls is also located just off of the Lookout Mountain Parkway, and the waterfall itself is reached via a paved pathway.
This pathway is just a few hundred yards from the parking lot down to the railed outlook, making very easy to reach by foot.
Because of this, it is accessible even for wheelchairs.
However, in order to reach lower or main waterfall of DeSoto Falls, it requires a walk down a set of concrete stairs to the overlook.
DeSoto Falls is more than 100 feet high and has been a landmark for over a thousand years for people in this part of the country.
The Native Americans have visited this fall for years as well, and if the legends are true, so have the Europeans.
The rumors are that this was a favorite visiting spot of Europeans even before the arrival of Columbus.
However, this is just the beginning of the folklore surrounding DeSoto Falls, as the rumors are that the small caves below the waterfalls were part of a fort.
The fort was built by the Welsh and was led by Prince Madoc.
Prince Madoc supposedly landed in Mobile Bay sometime in the year 1170 AD, before making his way up to the central part of the South.
However, most archaeologists as well as the historians do not believe this folklore, but those that do, firmly stand behind it.
Most of the academics believe that the “Welsh fort” was actually built by the Americans Indians of the Woodland era.
But that is still not the end of the folklore, as legend still advocates that the Spanish artifacts found in in the area were from Hernando DeSoto.
However, this is disputed as well by the academics, as they believe that DeSoto went well south of this area.
It is possible however, that the 1559 expedition that was led by Trisan de Luna, did explore this area.
DeSoto Falls was a very special place for the Cherokee Indians who once lived in the area.
Union Calvary troops were also said to have camped on the West Fork of the Little River, directly above the falls on their way to the Battle of Chickamauga.
In fact, the entire area is extremely rich in Civil War as well as Spanish history.
DeSoto Falls is now one of the main visitor attractions of this breath-taking recreational area.
The park was established by the hard work and toil of the CCC, the Civilian Conservation Corps, during the Great Depression.
It is now one of the top tourist attractions not only for Alabama, but for the entire South.
Here are the areas that are a “MUST SEE “associated with DeSoto Falls.
While DeSoto Falls is beautiful any time of the year, it is absolutely breathtaking in the winter months.
When there is any type of snow fall or additional rain, the waters are much higher, making the waterfalls simply astounding.
DeSoto Falls is actually formed by a 100-foot drop of the West Fork of the Little River.
The Little River is best known for its rapids, and it is these rapids that feed this river that flows atop of Lookout Mountain.
One other “must see’ is the Little River Falls that is only a few miles downstream.
It is one of the most popular of all the tourist spots at the Little River Canyon National Preserve.
Because of all of its pure and natural beauty, DeSoto Falls is a “must see’ on your list of Alabama backroads day trips.
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