Discover the Top Attractions: 10 Essential Things to Do in Mentone, AL

Discover the essence of adventure and tranquility with our guide to the best things to do in Mentone, AL. Whether you’re seeking thrilling outdoor activities or serene cultural experiences, Mentone’s diverse attractions promise an enriching travel experience for every visitor.

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Embrace the Charm of Lookout Mountain

Lookout Mountain, a prime destination in Mentone, boasts a variety of outdoor activities. Its stunning hiking trails and panoramic views make it a favorite among nature lovers. The mountain’s trails provide views that span across multiple states, allowing hikers to see landmarks such as:

  • The Tennessee River
  • Georgia and North Carolina mountains
  • Watts Bar’s cooling towers
  • Chickamauga Dam
  • The city of Chattanooga

The Cravens House, a Civil War-era structure, marks the beginning of several trails on Lookout Mountain. Each trail offers varied difficulty levels suitable for both beginners and experienced hikers. The paths are steeped in history, giving hikers the opportunity to walk paths once used by Native American tribes and famed explorers.

Every step on Lookout Mountain unveils a new adventure, underscoring the area’s compelling natural beauty.

Hiking Trails with a View

Historic railroads and picturesque bluffs are part of the panoramic vistas Lookout Mountain’s trails flaunt. Some popular trails include:

  • Cravens House to Point Park trail: a 2.2-mile hike with stunning overlooks accessible without a fee
  • Indian Rock House trail: a 1.5-mile hike that leads to a rock shelter used by Native Americans
  • Sunset Rock trail: a short hike that offers breathtaking views of the sunset
  • Bluff Trail: a 1.6-mile loop trail that takes you along the edge of the mountain

As you walk these trails, you’re not just hiking; you’re stepping back in time, exploring the very paths walked by indigenous tribes and renowned explorers.

For those seeking a bit more challenge, the Sunset Rock loop promises a thrill. The trail offers steep descents and technical paths over its 3-mile journey, making it ideal for experienced hikers. The trail to Sunset Rock also offers various climbing routes, catering to rock climbing enthusiasts of all skill levels. The journey grants climbers sweeping views of the valley as they approach Sunset Rock, making every step worth it.

Rock Climbing Excursions

Rock climbing forms a thrilling part of the Lookout Mountain experience. The mountain’s sandstone ledges provide a unique rock climbing experience, offering various routes that cater to all skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner looking for your first climbing adventure or an experienced climber seeking a new challenge, Lookout Mountain has you covered.

Spanning approximately 2.5 miles round trip, the journey to Sunset Rock is an adventure in itself. The trail offers a thrilling climb along the sandstone ledges, with each step revealing sweeping views of the valley below. As you reach Sunset Rock, take a moment to appreciate the panoramic vistas – it’s a sight that will make every drop of sweat worth it.

Picnic With a Panorama

Though adventure plays a significant role in the Lookout Mountain experience, the area isn’t just about adrenaline-pumping activities. For those seeking a more leisurely pace, Mentone, AL, offers serene locations perfect for a picnic amidst stunning panoramic vistas. The beauty of Mentone’s landscapes provides a memorable backdrop for a midday break during your visit.

Trails like the one leading to Sunset Rock offer natural scenic spots ideal for a peaceful picnic. Just imagine enjoying a meal at one of the picnic tables while taking in the glorious views of the surrounding landscapes. Whether you’re on a family outing or a romantic date, a picnic in these picturesque settings is sure to create lasting memories. Don’t forget to check the facilities’ requirements, such as fees or regulations, for using certain picnic areas.

Dive into DeSoto State Park’s Natural Wonders

Upper DeSoto Falls – DeSoto State Park

Another Mentone gem, DeSoto State Park, impresses with its 35+ miles of hiking trails and over 11 miles of mountain biking routes. The park offers paths that range from easy to strenuous, ensuring that adventurers of all skill levels can enjoy the natural wonders of this park. The park also offers magnificent views of DeSoto Falls, with accessible viewing spots near the upper falls and river trail leading to flat rock areas perfect for a scenic break.

Mountain biking enthusiasts are well catered for with several loops, including:

  • The 2.5-mile Family Bike Loop
  • The 3.8-mile Never-Never Land Loop
  • The roughly 5-mile CCC Quarry Bike Loop
  • The 3.5-mile Gillam Bike Loop

These trails offer a unique and exciting way to explore the beauty of DeSoto State Park.

Kayaking Adventures on Little River

Yet, the adventure doesn’t end with the trails. The West Fork of Little River that flows through DeSoto State Park offers its own brand of adventure. With rapids ranging from Class II to Class III, and the adventurous Class IV rapid near Lake Howard Dam, kayaking in these waters promises a thrilling experience.

Your kayaking adventure can be as challenging or as relaxing as you want it to be. The river’s navigability and the presence of surfing waves and holes are significantly impacted by rainfall, which adjusts the water level and alters the kayaking challenge. Whether you choose a journey of 6, 9, or 12 miles, you’re guaranteed a memorable experience amidst the park’s stunning natural beauty.

Trailblazing Fun

Returning to land, DeSoto State Park relentlessly offers a host of thrilling outdoor activities. The park provides trails that cater to both hikers and mountain bikers, ensuring year-round outdoor adventure opportunities. Trail maps are readily available at various locations within the park, including the Lodge, Country Store, & Nature Center, to aid in trail navigation.

For mountain biking enthusiasts, the DST Exits offer amenities such as bike racks and benches, along with access points to the Little River for additional activities like kayaking. With a wide range of trails and routes, DeSoto State Park ensures a trailblazing experience that is both fun and challenging.

Discover Serenity at Little River Canyon National Preserve

Offering a serene escape from the bustling adventures of Lookout Mountain and DeSoto State Park, Little River Canyon National Preserve stands out. This preserve is a sanctuary for wildlife, birds, and picturesque waterfalls, making it a haven for nature lovers.

With over 140 species of birds, including the Pileated Woodpecker, Red-Tailed Hawk, and Northern Cardinal, the preserve is a paradise for bird watchers. The preserve also serves as a critical habitat for various birds that contribute to maintaining healthy ecosystems through pollination, hunting, and scavenging.

Wildlife Watching and Bird Spotting

With its diverse array of wildlife and birds, the Little River Canyon National Preserve becomes an irresistible destination for nature enthusiasts. From Great Blue Herons and Belted Kingfishers at Canyon Mouth Park to Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles within the canyon, every visit is a new opportunity for wildlife watching and bird spotting.

The preserve is a highlighted stop on the North Alabama Birding Trail, with markers along the Little River Canyon Rim Parkway. Whether you’re an avid birder or a casual observer, the diverse species and peaceful environment provide a truly enriching experience.

Waterfall Wonders

The preserve doesn’t just offer a wildlife spectacle; it’s also home to three prominent waterfalls, including the most visited waterfalls, and various unnamed seasonal cascades that flourish in winter, spring, or after heavy rainfall. Among these visited waterfalls, the 45-foot high Little River Falls, in particular, offers picturesque views and swimming opportunities, especially in summer when the water flow is optimal.

Visitors can enjoy the following at Little River Canyon:

  • Easy access to the falls through an ADA accessible boardwalk
  • Reach the popular swimming spot Little Falls by a short hike and descending stone stairs
  • Graces High Falls, cascading at 133 feet, stands as the tallest above ground waterfall in Alabama, offering a seasonal spectacle best viewed from a dedicated platform on Little River Canyon Rim Parkway.

If you’re planning for a picnic, a picnic area with several tables and barbecue grills is available near the waterfall. There are also restrooms and a 100-car parking lot accommodating large vehicles. The waterfall wonders of Little River Canyon National Preserve add another layer of beauty to the Mentone experience, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers.

Horseback Riding at Shady Grove Dude Ranch

Horseback riding at Shady Grove Dude Ranch presents an excellent alternative for those seeking a different kind of adventure. The ranch offers horseback riding experiences that cater to riders of all skill levels, from beginners to the more experienced. To ensure a safe riding experience, the ranch provides riders with helmets and skilled trail guides.

As you ride along the picturesque trails of Lookout Mountain, you’ll enjoy views of rock formations and the Little River. These trail rides are more than just a horseback ride; they’re an opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Mentone, making for an unforgettable experience.

Winter Thrills at Cloudmont Ski Resort

The charm of Mentone, located in northeast Alabama, pervades the winter season as well, offering thrilling experiences at Cloudmont Ski Resort. As the southeastern most ski resort in the United States, Cloudmont offers a unique skiing experience in Alabama. The resort features two beginner-intermediate slopes, each extending a thousand feet with an elevation of 1,800 feet and a 150-foot vertical rise, where snow is maintained even in warmer periods with grooming equipment.

Whether you’re a skier or a snowboarder, the resort has got you covered. Skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels can benefit from group lessons using the fun and social American Teaching Method, or opt for private tuition to advance their skills. With daily and nightly operating hours, weather permitting, Cloudmont Ski Resort promises a winter thrill like no other.

Mentone’s Artistic Pulse: Local Crafts and Culture

Mentone is more than just outdoor adventures and natural beauty; it’s also a hub of vibrant arts and culture. The Mentone Arts Center is a hub for cultural and artistic expression, dedicated to preserving and promoting the heritage of Mentone and the Lookout Mountain areas. Visitors can explore an art gallery and gift shop featuring a rich assortment of local crafts, including Orbix Hot Glass works, books, candles, paintings, pottery, woven works, and more. Additionally, the Mentone Log Cabin Village offers a unique experience for those looking to immerse themselves in the area’s history and charm.

The Gourdie Shop: A World of Creativity

One of the standout features of Mentone’s arts scene is The Gourdie Shop. This unique shop is renowned for its hand-painted, signed, and dated original gourds, known as ‘Gourdies’. Each Gourdie can be personalized to reflect individual preferences, with themes tailored to:

  • gender
  • hobbies
  • occupations
  • other personal interests

The Gourdie Shop operates on a seasonal basis, and its creations have garnered popularity among both visitors and collectors. Each Gourdie is registered with the U.S. Patents and Trademark office, underlining their distinctive craftsmanship and the innovation involved in their conception. If you’re looking for a unique memento of your visit to Mentone, a Gourdie is a perfect choice.

Downtown Mentone’s Artisanal Offerings

Downtown Mentone also offers a variety of artisanal offerings. Here, you can find shops featuring:

  • unusual musical instruments
  • decorative nick-knacks
  • hand-blown glass
  • handmade pottery

The artisanal stores in Mentone enrich the local crafts scene with exclusive wax melts and candles capturing unique scents of the area.

The welcoming atmosphere in Mentone’s artisan shops is enhanced by friendly and helpful staff, making it a delightful place for visitors to shop for special gifts and souvenirs. Whether you’re a fan of handcrafted items or unique art pieces, downtown Mentone’s shops are a treasure trove waiting to be explored.

Savor the Flavors at Wildflower Cafe

After a day filled with outdoor adventures and shopping, hunger is likely to strike. That’s where Wildflower Cafe comes in. This charming cafe provides an array of dining options to cater to all tastes, including:

  • vegan
  • vegetarian
  • gluten-free
  • kid-friendly menus

The cafe becomes a musical haven with live performances on Friday and Saturday nights, and special Sunday afternoon sessions featuring artist Adair Arthur at the country music hall.

Wildflower Cafe is not just about good food; it’s about creating memorable dining experiences. The cafe’s dedication to serving fresh, carefully prepared dishes is evident in its standout favorite, the Tomato Pie. With its delicious dishes, live music, and cozy atmosphere, Wildflower Cafe is a must-visit destination in Mentone.

Sunset Spectacles at Brow Park

When day turns into evening, Brow Park emerges as the perfect spot to be. Renowned for its serene atmosphere, Brow Park serves as an ideal setting for visitors to witness picturesque sunsets. The panoramic views from Brow Park allow for an unobstructed sight of the valley, which is particularly stunning during the golden hour.

Photographers flock to Brow Park for:

  • The sublime beauty of the sunset, which provides excellent lighting for a magnificent backdrop
  • The perfect spot to capture the changing colors of the sky
  • A peaceful moment amidst nature’s beauty

Just remember to arrive a bit earlier before sunset time to fully capture the beauty of Brow Park.

Family Events and Festivities

Mentone’s allure also lies in its community events and festive celebrations. The town hosts a variety of events that celebrate its rich heritage and foster a close-knit community atmosphere. Some of these events include:

  • The Rhododendron Festival, which showcases local artists and craftsmen, live entertainment, and the sale of potted rhododendron plants
  • The Mentone Eggfest, where participants cook and sample various egg dishes
  • The Mentone Colorfest, a vibrant celebration of fall with live music, food vendors, and arts and crafts

These events are a great way to experience the unique charm of Mentone and connect with the local community.

The Fall Colorfest is another community event in Mentone that includes:

  • Storytelling
  • Sing-alongs
  • Dancing
  • Live entertainment
  • Parade

These family events and festivities provide a glimpse into the vibrant community spirit of Mentone, making them a must-experience part of your visit.

Golf Amidst the Mountains

Mentone also caters to golf enthusiasts. The town offers distinct golfing experiences at Lil’Mole Run Golf Course and Saddle Rock Golf Course. Both courses offer a unique golfing experience amidst the mountains, offering a refreshing twist to your typical golf game.

Lil’Mole Run Golf Course offers the following:

  • A variety of green fee options
  • Cart rentals for different play lengths
  • Weekly specials and discounts
  • Events like a two-man scramble on designated Wednesdays, catering to golfers over the age of 50

Whether you’re an avid golfer or a beginner, teeing off amidst the mountains is an experience you won’t want to miss.


In conclusion, Mentone, AL, is a treasure trove of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, artistic charm, and community spirit. From panoramic hiking trails on Lookout Mountain, serene picnics with a view, thrilling kayaking adventures in DeSoto State Park, and wildlife watching at Little River Canyon National Preserve, to unique shopping experiences in downtown Mentone and delicious dining at Wildflower Cafe, there’s something for everyone. So, whether you’re planning a family vacation, a romantic getaway, or an adventure-filled trip, Mentone, AL, promises an unforgettable experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Mentone AL worth visiting?

Yes, Mentone AL is worth visiting for its charming small town vibe, funky arts scene, natural beauty, and friendly community spirit. Whether you’re drawn to its serene landscapes, rich cultural heritage, or summer camps, Mentone offers a rejuvenating experience without a doubt.

How do I spend a day in Mentone Alabama?

You can spend a day in Mentone, Alabama by visiting downtown for shopping, exploring the Mentone Log Cabin Village, and checking out attractions like Cloudmont Ski Resort and the Old Union Crossing Covered Bridge. Enjoy your day exploring the town’s unique stores and outdoor activities!

What outdoor activities are available in Mentone, AL?

Mentone, AL offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, rock climbing, picnicking, kayaking, wildlife watching, bird spotting, horseback riding, and skiing. So there’s plenty to choose from for nature lovers!

Where can I enjoy a picnic with a view in Mentone?

You can enjoy a scenic picnic in Mentone at Lookout Mountain, particularly at spots like Sunset Rock for a tranquil outdoor experience. Enjoy!

What wildlife can I expect to see at Little River Canyon National Preserve?

You can expect to see over 140 species of birds and various wildlife at Little River Canyon National Preserve, including Pileated Woodpeckers, Red-Tailed Hawks, Northern Cardinals, Great Blue Herons, and Belted Kingfishers. Enjoy your wildlife watching!