If being surrounded by the great outdoors, wildlife, meandering rivers and falls, enjoying a picnic or an outdoor adventure is your idea of a day well spent. The Little River Canyon National Preserve in Fort Payne, Alabama is an ideal spot to pay a visit. This a cheap and great way to spend a day outdoors with the family. Four legged friends are also welcome, on condition they’re kept on a leash at all times.
The national preserve is home to many birds, birds of prey, amphibians, reptiles, fish and rare fauna. There’s a 1 mile trail that you can take a trek on and if you’re lucky you’ll spot many of the local wildlife. The scenery is stunning and the photo above doesn’t really do it justice.
You may download wildlife checklists below before setting off on your adventure. Tick them off if you’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the many fascinating creatures. It’s a great way for adults and children to have some wholesome fun playing spot the creature. Or to run a fun competition to see who can tick off the most boxes. To avoid bickering I recommend a rule that at least two people must see it to qualify.
Download the checklists below in PDF format.
Anyone with a passion for the great outdoors won’t need reminding, however city dwellers visiting who may be less familiar please take note. Respect the local wildlife and keep your distance at all times, do not disturb or aggravate them. Particularly bears and snakes, some of which can deliver a potent dose of venom with a single bite. In my experience they won’t bother you if you don’t bother them.
I strongly suggest taking the time to read some general safety guidelines.
In addition to wildlife there is a beautiful selection of rare fauna, some of which is endangered so like the wildlife, do not disturb or damage local plant life.
Among many activities that are available hunting, fishing and horseback riding, kayaking, rock climbing are all permitted at the park, though you will require your own equipment.
Picnic facilities are available and once you’re finished spending your day on the preserve you can top it all off with a stunning drive which covers a larger part of the area, a final chance to tick off some wildlife on your checklist. Along the drive you can stop off at various view points for some breath taking scenery.
The park welcomes teachers to inquire about educational field trips which last 3 hours and are available for groups of up to 36 pupils for 4th-6th graders.
There is a visitor center and gift shop on site. Depending on which way you’re headed or coming from, you could also plan a trip to the Russell Cave National Monument in Bridgeport. It will take about an hour to drive there from Fort Payne.
For full unfettered access including Canyon Mouth there is a small $3 charge per vehicle which is valid for a full day. This essentially grants you access to the picnic area and Canyon Mouth. Otherwise access to all other areas is free of charge to the general public. This is another crown jewel of Alabama’s free attractions
The driving tours, viewpoints, river falls and general Backcountry areas can be visited during daylight. The picnic area is open from 9:00-19:00 while the visitor center and business office is open from 10:00-16:00. The office is closed for all major holidays.