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Little River Canyon
Credit: National Park Service

Fall is an ideal time for a getaway to the Alabama mountain town of Mentone whether you want to escape for just a day or for the weekend. There's no shortage of small-town charm or breathtaking views of fall color. Located in northeast Alabama, Mentone is conveniently located less than a two-hour drive from Birmingham, Atlanta, and Chattanooga. You'll see the first signs of fall color on your tree-surrounded drive up Lookout Mountain, and you'll know you've reached town when you see the stone welcome sign on the left-hand side of the road.

Desoto State Park
Credit: Desoto State Park Staff

What To Do

The main attraction during the fall is the scenery and for that, DeSoto State Park is a must-visit destination. Hints of color will begin at the end of September and last into November with the peak historically hitting anywhere from the third week of October into the beginning of November. Take a stroll down the Talmadge Butler Boardwalk trail and you'll find yourself surrounded by leaves of every color. A short drive from the main area of the park, just off the Lookout Mountain Parkway, you'll find DeSoto Falls. As you walk along a paved pathway to the 107-foot waterfall, you'll see beautiful fall scenes reflecting off the water below.

Little River Falls
Credit: National Park Service

Located approximately 30 minutes from downtown Mentone, Little River Canyon National Preserve offers an 11-mile scenic drive that has a series of overlooks for viewing fall foliage. Picnic tables along the route also provide a good spot to enjoy a packed lunch. You'll also want to visit the boardwalk just off the State Route 35 bridge that will lead you to Little River Falls.

In addition to the parks, take a stroll down main street to enjoy the scenes and shopping that Mentone has to offer. Lastly, at sunset, you'll want to make plans to enjoy the view from Brow Park, located about a quarter mile from the town center. It offers unobstructed views of the sun setting over the brow of Lookout Mountain.

Wildflower Cafe
Credit: Jenna Sims

Where To Eat

For a hearty breakfast before setting out to the parks or a midday lunch break as you're walking around town, stop into Mentone Market. The Market also offers Mentone memorabilia as well as a selection of grocery items. If you need a snack or afternoon pick-me-up while you're strolling in and out of the shops, stop into Tip Top Bake Shop for an afternoon treat and cup of coffee.

And finally, a trip to Mentone won't be complete without a stop at the Wildflower Café. The one-of-a-kind café offers a unique dining experience that you can only get in Mentone. If you'd like to visit during dinner, you'll want to make a reservation before you go. And don't leave without trying the tomato pie.

Desoto State Park Cabin
Credit: Desoto State Park Staff

Where To Stay

Originally built in the 1920s, the Mentone Inn is located right in the middle of the action. Sit on the porch and take in the scene as you enjoy your morning coffee. When you're ready to visit shops and restaurants you're just a few steps away.

If you prefer to stay in a more remote location, DeSoto State Park offers lodge rooms, cabins, cottages, and chalets in addition to campsites. You can make reservations online at AlaPark.com. Private cabin rentals are also available at Vrbo.com and Airbnb.com, but you'll want to make sure to book as far in advance as you can for the peak fall season because reservations will fill up quickly.

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