DeSoto State Park is most widely known for DeSoto Falls, which is an impressive waterfall in northeast Alabama. In a different area of the park, there are a number of other waterfalls that are smaller, but very enjoyable nonetheless. One of those is Laurel Falls.
The hike to Laurel Falls is very enjoyable. You first start down a boardwalk that leads to the Azalea Cascades. After passing the cascades, you begin your journey to Laurel Falls. It is not a difficult trail, but I do remember it being slightly confusing. Follow the red/orange diamonds to prevent yourself from getting lost.
After about 1/2 a mile, you’ll come to a rock on the ground that is pained with the name Laurel Falls. Take the short trail to the falls, and you’ll be impressed. The falls along this creek do seem to be highly dependent on the amount of rainfall. When I visited in December, the weather was amazingly comfortable, and the falls were flowing. I’m not sure that I would want to do this in the depths of summer!
1) From I-59, head toward DeSoto State Park. There are multiple ways to get there, and the way I took did not pass through Fort Payne. Other directions go through Fort Payne.
2) Follow the signs to DeSoto State Park, as they’re pretty clearly placed along major intersections.
3) You’re heading toward DeKalb County Road 89. You’ll drive for a ways on this road until you enter the state park.
4) From the direction I entered, I saw the gift shop first. I kept heading down C.R. 89, and if I had kept going, I would have gone to Fort Payne.
5) Locate the parking are for the Azalea Cascades Boardwalk and park here.
6) Head down the boardwalk past the Azalea Cascades.
7) To your right, there should be a trail heading uphill that is has red/orange diamonds posted on the trees. Follow this trail.
8) Pass the sign for the campground, continuing on the red/orange trail.
9) After a ways (1/2 of a mile?), you’ll pass a rock on the ground painted with the name Laurel Falls. Follow the short detour to the falls.
*If you keep hiking along this trail, you’ll also end up at Lost Falls.
Accessibility: 8/10 (in December, there were a number of large trees blocking parts of the trail)
Where in the World is Laurel Falls?: map