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Birmingham, AL: DeSoto State Park

Wander a 4.2-mile figure 8 that tours rhododendron clusters, rock formations, and serene cascades in a diverse hardwood forest near the Alabama-Georgia state line.

Rating

This 4.2-mile figure 8 in DeSoto State Park is one of Alabama’s best kept trail secrets. Starting on the wooden walkway from the parking lot, the eastern loop combines the Red, Orange, and Blue trails for a 2.4-mile loop that explores a mixed deciduous forest on gentle terrain. This loop is highlighted by the serene cascades of Laurel Falls and Lost Falls, as well as the curious rock formations along the way.
Call it a day back at the trailhead or cross DeSoto Parkway for the eastern loop (on the Yellow and Green trails). The start of this 1.8-mile overlooks Indian Falls before dropping down a rhododendron-lined valley to the West Fork Little River. The yellow-blazed trail runs parallel to the river before hiking up a short-but-steep switchbacking stretch. At the crest of the 160-foot climb, the green-blazed trail turns back west for the return trip to Indian Falls. Stay on track by following the green blazes past various spur trails and watch your footing on the intermittent rock-hopping sections.
-Mapped by Scott Sanders

To Trailhead

Take I-59 northeast for approximately 90 miles to exit 218. At the end of the exit, turn right on AL 35. In 1.1 miles, turn left to stay on AL 35. Go another 1.1 miles, and turn right on 5th St./AL 35. In 0.4 mile, turn left to continue on AL 35. In 2 miles, turn left on DeSoto Pkwy. NE. Go 5.6 miles to trailhead parking.

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