Fort Payne, Ala. – Memorial Day weekend is the busiest weekend of the year at Little River Canyon National Preserve, and the National Park Service would like to give you the following tips to help you make your visit as enjoyable as possible.
The Little River Falls parking lot is usually full by 10:00 AM (CST), so those who would like to enjoy the view of Little River Falls or would like to hike the trail to Little Falls (aka: “Martha’s Falls” and “Hippie Hole”) should plan to arrive early. Jacksonville State University has graciously offered to open the Little River Canyon Center overflow parking lot as needed through the weekend. The parking areas at the overlooks along the Little River Canyon Rim Parkway / AL Highway 176 are 30-minute parking only, and parking at Blue Hole is only for visitors to that location.
Have a backup plan
Parking areas will have National Park Service staff and volunteers conducting parking control to help visitors in parking quickly and safely. Should your favorite area at Little River Canyon National Preserve not be available due to a full parking lot, please have a back-up plan in mind. Little River Canyon offers numerous recreational opportunities, many of which you can find on our website at nps.gov/liri.
Other opportunities can be found within a relatively short drive of Little River Canyon National Preserve, to include DeSoto State Park, Buck’s Pocket State Park, Lake Guntersville State Park, and Weiss Lake in Alabama, and Cloudland Canyon State Park and James H. Floyd State Park in Georgia.
The National Weather Service forecast for Little River Canyon National Preserve on Memorial Day weekend is calling for temperatures in the 75 ̊-80 ̊ range. Isolated afternoon thunderstorms are common this time of year and recreating outdoors within 10 miles of a thunderstorm can greatly increase your chances of being injured by a lightning strike.
Heavy rainfall, not just at Little River Canyon but as far up-river as the Chattanooga, Tennessee area, can result is rapid changes in the water level of the river with little or no warning. Flash flooding does not just increase the flow of the river, but can send large, harmful debris downriver with it. Visitors are highly encouraged to monitor weather conditions during their time at Little River Canyon.
While visiting Little River Canyon National Preserve, it is your responsibility to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 exposure. Little River Canyon National Preserve and the National Park Service have been taking extraordinary steps to implement the latest guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health agencies.
The CDC has made the following recommendations to help people recreating in parks and open spaces to prevent the spread of infectious diseases:
• Wear a mask if you are not fully vaccinated.
• Stay home if you don’t feel well or have recently been sick.
• Visit parks and recreation areas that are close to your home.
• Don’t visit crowded parks.
• Carefully consider the use of playgrounds, parks and facilities and help children
• Stay at least 6 feet (3 meters) away from people you don’t live with.
• Wash your hands often and don’t share items with people you don’t live with.
• Bring supplies for sanitation with you and pack out your trash.
Alcohol and controlled substances
Alcoholic beverages and controlled substances (to include marijuana & THC) are NOT permitted at Little River Canyon National Preserve.
The National Park Service works to reduce risks, but your safety is in your own hands. We here at Little River Canyon National Preserve would like visitors to come prepared, stay alert, and return home safe with memories of a wonderful visit.
For more information, please contact Park Ranger/Public Information Officer Matt Switzer at 256-845-9605.