Have you ever given directions and used the words "it is out in the middle of nowhere"? Well, in north Alabama we've got some amazing attractions that are literally out in the middle of nowhere, but they are definitely worth the drive to see their amazingness (we just made up that word). (cover photo by North Alabama Ambassador Lane Leopard)
Here's a list of our favorite places that are out in the middle of nowhere:
Bankhead National Forest
Bankhead National Forest is one of Alabama's four national forests. It's a beautiful forest that's located in Lawrence and Winston counties, and it's a paradise for waterfall hunters. Kinlock Falls and Turkey Foot Falls are on our North Alabama Waterfall Trail, but there are many, many other named and unnamed falls that you'll find on a hike through the forest. There are four recreation areas that provide camping, hiking, picnicking, swimming, and kayaking opportunities. (photo by North Alabama Ambassador Lane Leopard)
Bethel Springs Nature Preserve on the Land Trust of North Alabama
Bethel Springs Nature Preserve on the Land Trust of North Alabama is a new trail to open up, and it’s absolutely beautiful when you reach the top of the mountain and see the three waterfalls rushing! There are two different trails you can take to get to the waterfalls. The Mill Trail is the shorter trail and is about 2.5 miles round trip. The trail at times can be a little strenuous; it’s a moderate hike. After it rains, parts of the trail are quite muddy so wear appropriate shoes. The address to the parking lot is 2641 Cherry Tree Road in New Hope.
Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve
Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve is a 700-acre, privately-owned natural area in southern Colbert County outside of Tuscumbia that has 15 miles of hiking trails that lead to Lacefield Falls, which is also on our Waterfall Trail. There are beautiful views, it's open year-round, and it's free to enter. (photo by North Alabama Ambassador Hannah Sumner)
Cathedral Caverns State Park
Cathedral Caverns State Park is located down a winding road off of Highway 72 in the Woodville community. The Caverns is a massive cave that dates back to prehistoric times and has a stalagmite forest and frozen waterfall. A tour is a must!
Cherokee Rock Village
If you want to see an amazing view of Weiss Lake in Centre as well as three states, then the top of Cherokee Rock Village is where you need to be! In addition to the breathtaking views, there's miles of trails, crags, and places to camp or have a picnic. Also, a fun fact is that the rock climbing scene in the movie Failure to Launch with Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew McConaughey was filmed here. (photo by David Parham)
Coon Dog Cemetery
The Coon Dog Cemetery in Cherokee (just outside of Tuscumbia) is a cool, quirky place to visit. It's the final resting place for hundreds of certified coon dogs. The cemetery was created in 1937 by Key Underwood, who buried his beloved coon dog Troop. There's a Labor Day celebration there each September.
Oh, you will be so glad you drove out in the middle of nowhere to catch a glimpse of this gorgeous and massive waterfall! DeSoto Falls is one of the most visited waterfalls, and when you visit you'll see why. (photo by North Alabama Ambassador Hannah Sumner)
When you hike down into Dismals Canyon, you'll feel like you've gone to another world. There's a trail through the canyon that makes a giant loop. You'll hike across streams, see waterfalls - including Rainbow Falls that's on our North Alabama Waterfall Trail - walk through tight places, and see such beauty not seen anywhere else. You can also take a guided night hike and see glowworms, also known as the Dismalites.
High Falls Park
High Falls Park in Grove Oak is a beautiful park with a magnificent waterfall! This waterfall is 35 feet high and 300 feet wide, and is really gorgeous after a good rain. Located just south of Lake Guntersville, the park has hiking trails, picnic pavilions, and a playground - the perfect place to spend the day. You can even splash around in the water several yards up from the falls. It's also on our North Alabama Waterfall Trail
Jesse Owens Museum
Out in the middle of nowhere in Lawrence County in a community called Oakville is the Jesse Owens Museum. Owens, who was born in the small farming community, was a four-time Olympic gold medalist in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The Museum and replica house stand as a testament to this courageous man's amazing athletic and humanitarian accomplishments.
LaGrange College Site
Out in Colbert County is LaGrange College Site, Alabama’s first chartered college, which quickly became known as “The West Point of the South” following its establishment in 1830. The attractions holds annual events such as ReCall LaGrange and Christmas in the Country. (photo by North Alabama Ambassador Lesia Bevis)
Mardis Mills Falls
Mardis Mills Falls is on our North Alabama Waterfall Trail and is out in the middle of nowhere in Blount County. The Falls is gorgeous and peaceful and the perfect place to sit and relax and even have a picnic. (photo by North Alabama Ambassador Robert Posey)
Natural Bridge Park
Natural Bridge Park in Winston County is a 148-foot sandstone bridge that towers 60 feet above winding pathways, and it's the longest natural bridge east of the Rockies. It's definitely a majestic sight to see. (photo by North Alabama Ambassador Lesia Bevis)
Oakville Indian Mound Park and Museum
Just right down the road from the Jesse Owens Museum is another hidden gem in Oakville - the Oakville Indian Mound Park and Museum. This park is home to two mounds that date back thousands of years ago: a burial mound and a ceremonial mound. The Museum houses artifacts that are native to the area, and the park is situated around part of the Oakville Pond. You don't want to miss the Indian Festival that takes place each May at the Park either. (photo by North Alabama Ambassador Coty Alred)
Orbix Hot Glass
Blowing your own glass ornament at Orbix Hot Glass is just a must! They offer other classes throughout the year, such as create your own paperweight, sculpt your own flower, and blow your own tumbler. You can also tour the facility and purchase lovely items from their gallery.
The Rattlesnake Saloon is a restaurant that you will forever remember visiting! Located miles outside of Tuscumbia, the Saloon is situated under a bluff where Native Americans took shelter hundreds of years ago. When you arrive at the Rattlesnake Saloon, you'll park and then are taken down into the cavern in a flatbed truck, which is an experience in itself. Known for their burgers, they have other food such as snake eyes - fried jalapenos - that's delicious. It's family-friendly until after five on the weekends when they feature live music.
Russell Cave National Monument
For hundreds of generations, Russell Cave provided shelter for the Southeastern Tribes of Indians. Today, you can hike around the cave and learn about the national significance of this archeological site, which is a National Park Service Unit. (photo by North Alabama Ambassador David Parham)
Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament
The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament is definitely a sight to see located outside of Hanceville. The Shrine is a place of peace open to people of all faiths and walks of life. The grounds are home to the beautiful Romanesque-Gothic Church and Monastery of Poor Clare Nuns. The Shrine includes a castle and one of the largest religious gift shops in the South.
Tigers for Tomorrow at Untamed Mountain
Oh, you will not be disappointed to make the trek to the middle of nowhere to see the magnificent creatures that call Tigers for Tomorrow home. Tigers for Tomorrow is a wild animal park and environmental education center that is home to over 130 animals. You will be able to get up close and personal with more than 70 big cats, wolves, and bears than ever before in a safe natural setting. Children can also interact with barnyard animals at their contact yard.
So get out in the middle of nowhere and explore these amazing places!