The beautiful and historic DeSoto State Park sits atop Lookout Mountain in northeastern Alabama. Located just eight miles northeast of Fort Payne, this mountainous wilderness area provides year-round hiking, water sports, camping, and an array of sites to explore. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built this 3500-acre park in the 1930s, which is just one of the many interesting historical features park visitors will discover. Expect temperatures to hover around the 90s during the summer months with high humidity levels. However, cooler weather begins in late September, just in time to see early signs of the area’s fall color transformation.

01Take the Scenic Route

Sunrise from Wolf Creek Overlook along Little River Canyon. James Deitsch / Getty Images

Chosen as one of the most scenic drives in America, the 93-mile Lookout Mountain Parkway passes through three states, starting in Gadsden, Alabama, and ending in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The mountaintop city of Fort Payne is the largest Alabama city on the route and only a short distance from the DeSoto State Park. Surrounding the parkway is a landscape of Rhododendrons, along with poplar, dogwood, maple, and hickory trees, creating the perfect atmosphere for a leisurely drive. There are plenty of restaurants and historic sites to discover along the way if you need to stretch your legs.