Alabama’s DeSoto State Park Blends History, Nature

DeSoto State Park, located atop Lookout Mountain near Fort Payne, Alabama, in the state’s northeast, offers visitors a chance to learn about the history of the area while enjoying a region of remarkable scenic beauty.

The Civilian Conservation Corps Museum offers insight into the Park’s history.

In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps, a Federal agency created to offer employment to young men during the Depression, contributed to the preservation and improvement of  state and national forests, parks and campgrounds. The CCC developed DeSoto State Park, then known as State Park #5, building roads, cabins, trails, a golf course and a group lodge. They built to last; today, cabins, trails and the group lodge they built stand as  monuments to their hard work. The park’s Civilian Conservation Corps Museum, open Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. April through November, includes exhibits highlighting the work of the CCC.

Yoga on the Mountain programs help visitors relax while enjoying the scenery.

DeSoto State Park offers a number of ways to explore and enjoy nature, including kayaking, fishing, and biking. Undoubtedly the most Zen approach to nature in the park is the Yoga on the Mountain program. On June 24, the DeSoto Falls Yoga Hike—Dusk to Dark leads visitors in an adventure combining yoga poses with hiking along the beautiful trails near the park’s DeSoto Falls.

Yoga Instructor Destin Padgett and Park Naturalist Brittney Hughes will lead the group through a twilight experience down to the West Fork of the Little River and upstream to a view of DeSoto Falls.

For visitors who can’t get enough nature after dark, June 25 sees a Campfire Talk and Owl Prowl.

Campfire Talks introduce visitors to the park’s residents.

The park’s Campfire Talks,  a series of informational and entertaining programs, are held outdoors many Friday and Saturday evenings from June through October at the improved campground’s campfire ring. For the June 25 program, naturalists Jamie Rogers and Brittney Hughes will lead an information program followed by a  search for the park’s resident owls. A night hike through the woods gives an opportunity to listen for the sounds of night in the park.

For more information on visiting DeSoto State Park, check the website at

photos courtesy B.M. Hughes

Kathie Farnell
Kathie Farnell
Freelance writer Kathie Farnell lives in Foley, Alabama, ten miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, with her husband, photographer Jack Purser, and a flock of cats. She has written travel articles for print and web publications since 1992, and also produces programming for public television and radio through her nonprofit corporation, Artemis Media Project. The couple enjoy exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations and spending time on the Gulf beaches.

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