Little River Canyon National Preserve Drive is an 11 mile canyon rim along AL 176. Numerous small waterfalls, sandstone bluffs, rock outcrops and forested uplands make up the landscape of this unique resource. The Preserve was established as a unit of the National Park Service in 1992. Along with Little River, this area forms one of Alabama’s extraordinary features. This incredibly scenic drive has 9 overlooks/pull offs that allow the visitor views down into the canyon with its rapids and boulders. As you drive, listen in the open fields for Yellow-breasted Chats and Prairie Warblers. Farther down in the canyon, Yellow-throated Warblers and Red-eyed Vireos can be heard calling from below, while Rough-winged Swallows and Chimney Swifts frolic overhead. Turkey Vultures soar through the canyon, taking ownership of the thermals. Just past the second of the overlooks, Lynn Overlook, is the trailhead for Beaver Pond Trail, a mile and a half of natural surface walking through mixed pine and hardwood forest to a pond created by beavers. Wood Duck nest here while woodpeckers take advantage of the numerous dead trees. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers nest in the trees along the trail, along with other woodland species. The canyon is at its best during fall migration when numerous migrating raptors soar along its rim. You’re most likely to see Red-tailed and Broad-winged hawks, but Peregrine Falcons and Golden Eagles have also been spotted around the canyon.
Site #48 Northeast Loop
GPS Coordinates: N 34.3510, W 85.6752
Amenities: Parking, Restrooms, Handicap Access, Canoeing, Hiking, Picnic Area, Visitor Center
National Park Service: Manager
2141 Gault Ave. N.
Fort Payne, AL 35967
From I-59, take Exit 218 and travel south on AL Highway 35 for 1.2 miles to US Highway 11. Turn left onto Highway 11 and head north for 1.2 miles to Highway 35/5th Street. Turn right onto Hwy 35/5th Street and drive south 8.6 miles to AL Highway 176. Turn right onto Highway 176/Little River Canyon Parkway and follow the northern rim of the canyon for 11 miles to the pull-out on the left.
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Enjoy both woodland songsters-Kentucky and Hooded Warblers, Scarlet Tanagers and Yellow-throated Vireos and displays of native wildflowers and blooming shrubs. The boardwalk is 360 yards long through wooded slopes and moist forest floor.