DeSoto State Park: Laurel Falls Trail, CCC Quarry Trail, and DeSoto Scout Trail (CCC Trail Shelter to Lodge), Fort Payne, Alabama
As one of Alabama's first state parks, DeSoto State Park was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s, and much of their work can still be seen throughout the park today. Located on Lookout Mountain, the park is positioned on the west side of the West Fork of the Little River, conveniently close to the town of Fort Payne. A network of hiking trails visits as many as five waterfalls on tributaries of West Fork Little River. You will also see some views of the Little River gorge and some of the CCC's work on this moderate mountaintop hike. This hike occurred on Saturday, April 2nd, 2016. After completing a short hike to nearby De Soto Falls, I drove down to DeSoto State Park with a plan to make a loop out of several of the park's trail. First, I would take the Talmadge Butler Boardwalk to Azalea Cascade. Then, I would take the Azalea Cascade Trail to the Laurel Falls Trail. I would follow the Laurel Falls Trail to the Lost Falls Trailhead, making sure to make the side trips to Laurel Falls and Lost Falls. After the Lost Falls Trailhead, I would continue on a mountain bike trail that would take me past the CCC Museum and to the CCC Quarry. From the CCC Quarry, I would follow the CCC Quarry Trail to its terminus near the DeSoto State Park Visitor Center. After this, I would cross the park's Picnic and Play Area and follow an access trail to the DeSoto Scout Trail. I would follow the DST north for a little bit to the CCC Trail Shelter and views of the Little River, before turning south and finishing the hike at the park's lodge, passing Indian Falls and Lodge Falls in the meantime. A bit of roadwalk would be necessary to return back to the parking area.
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