Intentionally private, Dismals Canyon - in keeping with its pristine surroundings - offers a quiet and unspoiled oasis in Alabama’s last secret hiding place. A secluded wilderness filled with natural phenomena tucked deep within the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
Dismals Canyon - located in Northwest Alabama - is an 85 acre Natural Conservatory privately owned and operated. It is not a State Park or National Park. However, it was designated a "National Natural Landmark" in 1975 by the National Natural Landmarks Program. NNLs are administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
"Encourage and support the voluntary conservation of sites that illustrate the nation's geological and biological history, and to strengthen the public's appreciation of America's natural heritage."
by Brent Holman
Through the heart of the canyon flows "Dismals Branch", a winding stream that enters the canyon with a roar through "Rainbow Falls".
A 1.5 mile hiking trail on the canyon floor follows the stream through skyreaching boulders, past thundering waterfalls, into a secret world of mossy-green and pearl gray filled with ferns and giant trees.
Bluff by Daryl Forester
Summertime finds Dismals Canyon cool and inviting. The temperature on the canyon floor runs some 14 degrees below Alabama's summer average. There are no mosquitoes, flies, or poison oak.
Guided night tours allow visitors to view the glow-in-the-dark creatures known locally as Dismalites.
Development has been designed for tranquility and serenity and does not include big concrete RV pads/parking, man-made swimming pools, or Goofy Golf Courses, etc. Recreation is exploration of the natural environment.
Your visit is a step back to a time when the earth was clean and the water was clear. Aside from the necessary clearing of the trails, the canyon is now - as it has been for centuries - completely natural.
offered by appointment year round.
Full body massage $75 | Upper body massage $60
Available to day guests as well as cabin guest.
U.S. Gulf Coast States Geotourism Stewardship Council Recognizes Dismals Canyon.
A momma Buzzard has taken roost in the canyon. She had babies last year and has laid 2 eggs so far this year. Those eggs have hatched and there are two Buzzard chicks. This momma will protect her nest. So please use caution if you see her or her chicks.
Photo by Michael Woodard (2013)
You'll likely work up an appetite after you've hiked the canyon floor, and we'll be glad to serve you and your taste buds during your visit.
The Soda Fountain & Grill is conveniently located in the Country Store, on your way out of (or into) the canyon.
Soda Fountain hours
Mon ~ Thurs: 11-5
Holiday extended hours:
Soda Fountain hours
In 2006 a Hellbender (giant Salamander) was found at Dismals Canyon. It is currently the most recently encountered hellbender in Alabama, and one of only three specimens that have been found in the state in the past twenty years. It's about 2 feet in length.
The organization Alabama Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (www.alaparc.org) has initiated a conservation effort (Alabama Hellbender Initiative) to assess the status of hellbenders in Alabama.
26 miles of the best canoeing in Alabama. Only 3 miles south of Dismals Canyon. They open on Memorial Day weekend. Canoe rentals can be obtained through Dismals Canyon. Call now to book your trip 205-993-4559.
Located about 30 miles east of Dismals Canyon in Bankhead National Forest. The Sipsey Wilderness area is one of only two designated wilderness areas in the state of Alabama. It covers approximately 25,000 acres, making it the third largest east of the Mississippi River.