7104 Desoto Parkway NE
Fort Payne, AL 35967
Phone: 256-845-5075/Toll Free: 1-800-252-7275
Desoto State Park is located in northeast Alabama. We visited the campground March 31st-April 4th. At the time, only some of the trees and flowers were blossoming. We stayed at site #19, though there were other sites that caught our attention, such as #33. One unique aspect to this state park was that all sites were full hookup. This included electric, water, sewer, and cable. At the shower houses, Wi-Fi was accessible. Without leaves on the trees, we were able to connect to the Wi-Fi from our campsite. We have not come across state parks that offer such a full line of services. Because of these additional services, Desoto charges $34/night during the week and $38/night on weekends. We felt this was fairly reasonable. There is also a $3 reservation fee. When you make a reservation you are unable to choose a site. However, when you arrive you may choose any available site. Being used to choosing our own site ahead of time, we found this discouraging. Cell phone service (Verizon and At&T) is pretty limited. The camp store had a reasonable amount of supplies including basic food items, souvenirs, and firewood. Firewood cost $5 bundle or five for the price of four. They were decent size bundles and burned well. The staff at the store was very friendly and helpful.
The campground consists of paved roads, gravel pads, and grassy side areas. Many of the sites are full sun, however, there are partly shaded sites in the front and back of the campground. For the most part, the sites were well-maintained. Having visited in the early spring, there were downed trees and branches in the wooded areas around the sites. There was not much in the way of flower beds and beautification within the campground. Each sites included a charcoal grill and a rock fire ring.
Rating: (1-5 lanterns with 5 being the best)
The main attraction for us was the amount of hiking. Desoto contains 25 miles of hiking throughout the park. The trails were mainly flat yet challenging due to the rocks and roots. Smaller waterfalls were located along some of the trails. Mountain bikes trails are also available. One particular trail was a boardwalk that showcased the parks flowers and birds. Again, being there in early spring, we did not see the flowers and encountered few birds. The boardwalk offered a pavilion/gazebo for relaxation and bird watching. As with the campground, there were downed trees throughout the trails which created a less than attractive view. Later in the spring and summer may make a big difference in this regard. A decent playground, volleyball court, and baseball field exist, however, they are located near the store, which is quite a hike from the campground. During the summer, there is an Olympic pool, which requires a fee. As dog owners, we were discouraged by the lack of a dog park. A small outdoor theater is located in the lower section of the campground. Adjacent to the store is a nature center. There is a display of the various animals that are found at Desoto (taxidermy). Some live animals, such as snakes and rabbits, are part of the collection as well as local plant species.
Desoto State Park is located between Desoto Falls and Little River Canyon. Each of these scenic areas are within 10 miles from the park. Desoto Falls is a small park/picnic area near the dam, with a close view of the falls. There is no need to hike to see the view – it is a short foot path. Little River Canyon has a scenic driving trail (approx. 20 miles long) with numerous pull-off areas for viewing and photos. This was our favorite part of the trip – the views did not disappoint. The park at the end of the trail has a $3 entry fee. Visitors can swim in the river, and we were told it is a nice spot for fly fishing.
The town of Fort Payne, a ten minute drive from the campground, is not much to speak of, but does have some restaurants and grocery/convenience stores. Fort Payne is the sock capital of the world and also the hometown of the musical group Alabama. There are museums for both if that is of interest. Some locals recommended the Wildflower café in the town of Mentone. It is known for its quality food and arts and crafts. (7104 Desoto Pkwy NE / 256-845-5075)
The facilities were newer, with tiled walls and floors and stainless steel doors. In our opinion, there were not enough shower houses for the size of the campground. many sites were a good walking distance to the rest rooms. Some nice features included a laundry room ($1.50 for washer, $1.50 for dryer) and a dishwashing station. The dish sink was not working – no water- when we were there. It may not have been turned on for the season. The restrooms were kept clean and well-stocked. The showers were warm to hot depending on volume/use and had good pressure. They were not timed showers, which is always nice. There was one hook per shower stall, a small separate dressing area with a bench, and one small ledge for soap inside the shower.