Accessed by a variety of short trails, DeSoto Falls is actually a series of three small waterfalls named for the Spanish explorer who ‘discovered’ them. All three of the approaches (see map and descriptions below) offer a unique perspective on the falls and a different way to explore the area.
DeSoto Falls via the Canyon Floor
This 1.28-mile out-and-back along the canyon floor is normally traveled by fisherman and rock climbers, and it offers hikers seldom-seen views of DeSoto Falls. The hike leads to the aquamarine plunge pools of DeSoto Falls, meandering through the lush, ecologically diverse environment of the canyon floor. Be ready to scramble over rocks and climb over fallen trees while exploring spectacular views of the canyon walls.
DeSoto Falls Canyon Rim Overlook
For a shorter hike (0.68 miles roundtrip) that offers its own panoramic views of the falls and pools, take the DeSoto Falls Canyon Rim trail. This lesser traveled route along the rim of the canyon, passes by lichen, moss, huge boulders, as well as views of the canyon and river below.
DeSoto Falls Overlook
For a quick jaunt to the falls overlook, take the paved walkway that begins near man made DeSoto Lake. This popular area offers a variety of picnic spots and canoeing on the lake.
–Mapped by Scott Sanders, GroundedGraphics.com
- Distance: 3.5
Location: 34.551705, -85.596239
The DeSoto Falls Canyon Rim Overlook trail begins here.
Location: 34.548962, -85.593051
The trail ends at an overlook.
Location: 34.551712, -85.596281
The DeSoto Canyon Floor trail begins at a parking area pull-off on the road down to Desoto Falls Lake (look for the “no camping” sign). The trail runs downhill along the power line and to the left, below the boulders.
Location: 34.550775, -85.597824
From a boulder field, turn left onto the old dirt path.
Location: 34.549201, -85.596789
Turn left at an easy-to-miss three way junction and begin following the river east towards the Falls. Pay close attention to the trail on the return trip, or you may over shoot this turn.
Location: 34.549172, -85.591782
The trail ends at the overlook point.
Location: 34.549249, -85.590127
Viewing area at top of DeSoto Falls.
Location: 34.549205, -85.590271
Upper DeSoto Falls
Location: 34.549196, -85.590411
Check out the views from the top of DeSoto Falls.
DeSoto Falls from Canyon Rim
Location: 34.548917, -85.593072
Location: 34.551807, -85.596204
The DeSoto Falls Canyon Rim Overlook trail and the DeSoto Falls Canyon Floor trail are accessed from this parking area pull-off. The Canyon Rim Overlook is the more obvious trail, while the Canyon Floor trail resembles a rock climbing trail and requires some searching.
Beginning of the Canyon Rim
Location: 34.551352, -85.597143
Continue descending. Ahead, the narrow hiker’s trail joins a dirt road.
Location: 34.548975, -85.595974
Location: 34.547906, -85.594032
Little River View
Location: 34.548454, -85.59341
Location: 34.549143, -85.591822
Boulders Below the Rim
Location: 34.55112, -85.596698
Location: 34.550391, -85.596212
Little River View
Location: 34.549472, -85.594866
Start of the Trail
Location: 34.549417, -85.589982
Dam at DeSoto Falls
Location: 34.549167, -85.590084
Location: 34.549132, -85.590883