The Alabama Mountain Town You Need to Visit This Fall

Fall is an ideal time for a getaway to the Alabama mountain town of Mentone.

Little River Canyon
Photo: National Park Service

Fall is an ideal time for a getaway to the Alabama mountain town of Mentone, whether you want to escape for a day or the weekend. There's no shortage of small-town charm or breathtaking autumn leaves. Less than a two-hour drive from Birmingham, Atlanta, and Chattanooga, Mentone, Alabama, is conveniently located. Drive through the fall leaf-covered trees on your way to Lookout Mountain, and visit the town marked by a stone welcome sign.

Desoto State Park
Desoto State Park Staff

Where to Observe Nature

The fall scenery is the main attraction as DeSoto State Park is a must-visit destination. Hints of color begin at the end of September and continue 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 park's central area, just off the Lookout Mountain Parkway, you'll discover DeSoto Falls. You'll see beautiful fall scenes reflecting off the water below as you walk along a paved pathway to the 107-foot waterfall.

Little River Falls
National Park Service

Located approximately 30 minutes from downtown Mentone, Little River Canyon National Preserve offers an 11-mile scenic drive with a series of overlooks for viewing fall foliage. Picnic tables along the route provide an excellent spot to enjoy a packed lunch. Visit the boardwalk near the State Route 35 bridge to lead you to Little River Falls.

Where to Shop

In addition to the parks, the main street has beautiful scenery and shopping. Find an eclectic gift at The Groovy Goat or The Gourdie Shop, where every gourd has a unique personality and story. 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
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 and a selection of grocery items. Stop at The Hatter Cafe for a sandwich and some iced tea.

A trip to Mentone wouldn't be complete without stopping at the Wildflower Cafe. The one-of-a-kind cafe 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 going–and don't leave without trying the famous tomato pie.

Desoto State Park Cabin
Desoto State Park Staff

Where To Stay

Initially 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. You're just a few steps away when you're ready to visit shops and restaurants.

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

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