Appalachian Highlands | Cherokee | Best Seasons: Fall | Spring
Little River Canyon Mouth Park is situated at the lowest point in Little River Canyon that is accessible by car. This compact park borders the rushing Little River, where you may observe Yellow-throated Warblers and Northern Parulas in trees along the banks from late March to September. The trees bordering the river offer especially good birding during migration and in dry spells, when a wide variety of birds come to the river to drink. Look for Louisiana Waterthushes along the river from spring to early fall, and for Belted Kingfishers throughout the year. There are often Winter Wrens present from October to March. From this open vantage point, check the skies above the canyon and the river; you may see Red-tailed Hawks, and Black and Turkey Vultures throughout the year. Broad-winged Hawks breed in the area from spring to fall, and you can find almost any of the migratory birds of prey in spring and especially fall. Bald Eagles are regular visitors, and Golden Eagle, rarely seen in Alabama, can occasionally be seen in the park.
The picnic areas have scattered hardwood trees, and these are best birded in spring and fall for the wide variety of migrants they may attract. Good birding opportunities also can be found as you leave the picnic area and survey the dense second-growth woodlots beyond as you work your way up-river. Look for White-eyed Vireos, Common Yellowthroats, Indigo Buntings, and even some Wood Thrushes, Yellow-breasted Chats, and Hooded and Prairie Warblers in the warm months. These birds give way to Song, White-throated, and Fox Sparrows, as well as some Hermit Thrushes and House Wrens in winter. Continue upstream along a narrow stream-side path to enjoy extensive views of the river and the steep, wooded canyon slopes. There are Pileated Woodpeckers in the larger woods up the hill.
Although the gate to the park only allows entry during daylight hours, the clearings near the entrance road are great for spotting Whip-poor-wills, Chuck-will’s-widows, and Eastern Screech-Owls at dawn and dusk. The park is a popular daypark for swimming, hiking and family adventures.
Don’t miss a visit to nearby Little River Canyon Scenic Drive for excellent vistas of the canyon–and lots of soaring birds.
GPS: 34.2867162 -85.6838
4322 Little River Trail NE
Fort Payne, AL 35967
There are multiple opportunities to enjoy the park's accessible areas with relatively easy access to the Little River for viewing. The large shade trees provide some relief in summer, and excellent places to watch birds from the picnic tables and paved parking area.
From I-59 in DeKalb County, take exit 205 (Collinsville) and follow AL 68 east. There is lodging, food, and fuel stations available just minutes ahead in Collinsville, Leesburg, and Centre. Follow AL 68 for approximately 10 miles and turn left (north) on AL 273. Proceed north on AL 273 for 8.6 miles, and turn left on the narrow, winding AL 275. The park entrance is 1.2 miles ahead on the right. An entrance fee is required. Check the National Park Service site (below) for details, as the price changes periodically. The park gate closes daily at dusk.
From AL 68 in Centre or Leesburg in Cherokee County, take AL 273 north for 8.6 miles then turn left on AL 275 for 1.2 miles. The park entrance is on the right.
Amenities Available: Picnic Tables, Restrooms, Wheelchair Accessible
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