Alabama's Mountain Country

While the leaves are turning, slip off for a weekend to the small towns of Fort Payne and Mentone (view map).
Tanner C. Latham
Alabama's Mountain Country
Unwind on the front porch at the Mentone Springs Hotel.

Sunday--Follow the Canyon
Go a little early to the 10 a.m. worship service at the Sallie Howard Memorial Chapel for a self-guided tour of this humble church, built in 1937 around a gigantic boulder. The dress is casual, and all denominations are welcome.

We've saved a scenic drive of Little River Canyon, the best part of the weekend, for last. From Mentone, take County 89 south to State 35, and head east. Your first stop is just over G. E. Hill Bridge, where Little River Falls spills 45 feet to the beginning of the canyon. Cross back over the bridge, and turn south on State 176, also known as Canyon Rim Drive, a 23-mile road that follows the ridge. The various overlooks along this route afford expansive views of the canyon spread below like a patchwork quilt--its yellows, oranges, and reds briefly interrupted by evergreen pines. Listen closely to the faint rush of Little River cutting her way through this furrow she's been working on for thousands of years. Soak up the serenity here to take home with you.

"Alabama's Mountain Country" is from the October 2003 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.