Northeast Alabama’s Lookout Mountain Parkway Scenic Byway, named by Reader’s Digest as one of America’s Scenic Drives, serves as a gateway to your imagination. Envision a land where real people bring the past alive, with historic town squares, pioneer villages, confederate ironworks, antique shops and Native American folklore and artifacts. Imagine a land of real places burgeoning with untouched natural beauty, with gorges, rivers, lakes, wildlife and scenic waterfalls. Picture a land ripe with recreational and cultural opportunities, from boating, fishing, skiing and hiking along miles of pristine trails to museums, opera houses and art galleries. All these dreams and more are here today and await visitors along Alabama’s Lookout Mountain Parkway Scenic Byway. Discover why it feels so right!
Beautiful places in rustic environments
This rustic corridor, filled with natural beauty, is home to farms and woodlands. Visitors should be sure to investigate Little River Canyon National Preserve. This canyon is one of the deepest gorges east of the Mississippi River and is often described as the “Grand Canyon of the East.” The geology and water resources in the region provide opportunities for educational programs at sites such as Cherokee Rock Village, Canyon Rim Parkway and DeSoto State Park. The corridor is also home to numerous caves and subterranean wonders, including those at Sequoyah Caverns, where visitors can take tours and try their hand at arts and crafts.
Recreational opportunities galore
The natural beauty of these sites in Northeast Alabama provides the setting for those who enjoy scenic wonders as well as adventure. Outdoor lovers can envision their own dream trip through the Lookout Mountain Byway and its many communities. Horseback riding, just one of the numerous outdoor activities, awaits those visitors to the 4,000 acre Shady Grove Dude Ranch, a unique establishment operational in the state of Alabama. Hiking enthusiasts can enjoy trails at multiple parks along the corridor. Fishing lovers have found a haven at Weiss Lake, often referred to as the “Crappie Capital of the World” due to its record quantity of 2-plus pound crappies, and numerous other game fish species. And snow skiers can take pleasure in the packed powder at Cloudmont Snow Skiing Resort, the southernmost skiing trail in the United States.
Cultural Sites to enjoy
The history of the Lookout Mountain Byway harkens back to Native American culture. Many different tribes once lived in the area currently traversed by the Byway, including the Cherokee, Coushatta, and Muskogee tribes. Numerous artifacts of these, and more, peoples’ past await visitors at the Fort Payne Depot Museum. Relics and legends of their civilizations still abound in the region. History buffs visiting the area will also be treated to northeast Alabama’s Civil War history. Sites like the historic Winston Place Bed and Breakfast and the Cornwall Furnace Park are just a few locations that still hint at the region’s rich history for imaginative visitors.
Festivals and events
Tourism has developed around yard sales and antique markets, due in part to the area’s rich history. These events allow for the passage of local folklore and history to visitors through direct interaction with natives of the region. Numerous local festivals dot the Byway, including the Collinsville Trade Day, Noccalula Falls Park Holiday Wonderland, and the World’s Longest Yard Sale, which has been featured on HGTV, in Southern Living, Country Living, USA Today, Newsweek and on The Tonight Show. These events offer visitors a unique perspective on a fading rustic American lifestyle along with the opportunity for great shopping!
Gateway communities amongst the hills
The cities and towns of Northeast Alabama serve as gateways to the scenic Byway. Local cities such as Gadsden, Fort Payne, Leesburg, Collinsville and Mentone (to name only a few) open the minds of visitors to quaint urban localities amongst the pastoral settings of the Lookout Mountain Parkway. These cities are home to museums, antiques stores and unique restaurants, as well as places to re-fuel the family car and rest on a long journey.
Rock ‘n’ Roll!
Country music lovers flock to Fort Payne to pay homage to one of the best-selling musical groups of all time, ALABAMA. The city is home to the official ALABAMA Band Fan Club and Museum which boasts personal items, awards phonographs and more. A short drive away, fans can visit ALABAMA band member Jeff Cook’s Sound Studios to complete their country music experience.
Whether they are families on an annual vacation, couples seeking a secluded getaway, nature lovers on the lookout for breathtaking scenery, or history buffs combing the museums and monuments for relics of a time long passed, if you can imagine it, you can discover it in this destination filled with Real People, Real Places!