Cane Creek Canyon

Location: southwest of Tuscumbia, Alabama
Date: October 30, 2015

Cane Creek Canyon from the point

Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve is a private nature preserve in northwest Alabama encompassing a 350-foot deep valley that is ringed by cliffs and several waterfalls. The preserve is open to the public free of charge during daylight hours, and you can get maps and trail guides at the parking area.


There are over 11 miles of trails in the preserve, and they start at the house of the preserve's owners. From the parking area it less than a half mile to the preserve's most accessible waterfall, a two-step 60-foot falls that was nearly completely dry when I visited. From the waterfall it is a short climb up a hill and about a quarter mile to "the point" where you can get the best vista of the canyon.

This is an outdated map of the preserve. Note that the large new part of the preserve at the northwest end of the map that includes Delony Hollow, part of Wagon Mountain, the Fin, a few waterfalls, and other features is not shown.

Aside from the main waterfall and the point, the only parts of the preserve that are relatively easily accessible (you don't have to walk down into the canyon) are the "tree fern" cave, the trail along canyon rim, and a pond near the parking area. I hiked from the point down the "steep trail", which is the shortest route to the bottom of the canyon, but as its name suggests, is quite steep. This trail passes through the boulder garden just before it reaches the East Cane Creek Trail near the canyon bottom. I followed the trails along the base of the bluffs on the east side of Cane Creek until I reached the "tractor cave" rock shelter.

The upper section of the first waterfall. The second drop is much higher.

From the rock shelter, I turned up Devil's Hollow, which includes several waterfalls (all completely dry), which area concentrated in its upper reaches. After reaching Karen's Falls at the end of Devil's Hollow, I turned around, hiked out of Devil's Hollow (not before passing a few more dry waterfalls) and then hiked up to "the fin," which is a relatively narrow ridge that reaches a point on a rock cliff where you almost have a view. Unfortunately, while it is only about one third of a mile one way to the end of the fin, there are not really any views along the way and it requires you hike up and out of the canyon. Then of course you have go back into the canyon to continue on, but you might be able to see further in winter when the trees don't have leaves.

Tree fern cave

The pond

After descending from the fin, I continued into Delony Hollow where there are more dry waterfalls before turning around and passing through the old beaver pond area. This area seemed to have quite a few trails withe their intersections poorly marked. I traversed my way along Cane Creek (which did have water) to the "blue hole" and "narrows" sections. This section of Cane Creek was dominated by boulders. In the narrows, the stream was relatively narrow, of course, but consisted mostly of riffles with some deeper pools, particularly at its end where there was a giant boulder in the middle of the stream. The blue hole is a very deep point in Cane Creek where a few huge boulders form the banks of the stream.

Karen's Falls

The narrows

The blue hole

After leaving the narrows I hiked up the canyon and out of it at tree fern cave before walking back along the canyon rim to the point and then returning to the parking area. There area has more trails in the preserve that I did not hike, and some parts, including the sphagnum bog area on Wagnon Mountain are closed part of the year, including when I was there. The owners put drinking water out at several of the more heavily used area of the preserve so that you don't have to carry a lot with you. However, while there were quite a few people there when I was there, the majority of the activity was along the canyon rim and it seems that most of the rest of the preserve is very lightly used.


© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.









Stock Photos from 123RF

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