The Best Places to Photograph in Alabama

Sipsey Wilderness by Michael Hicks / CC BY-ND 2.0

Alabama may not be the first state that comes to mind for landscape and nature photography, but you may be surprised by the natural beauty that exists within the state. There are plenty of great opportunities for nature photographers in Alabama, and on this page we’ll look at some of the most noteworthy destinations. The interactive map below shows the location of each spot mentioned on this page.

This page will continue to be a work in progress, so please feel free to leave a comment with your own suggestions of great places to photograph.

Find great places to photograph in any state! We have similar guides for each state to help you find all of the best places to photograph. See the index page to find the guides for each state.

Little River Canyon

The Little River Canyon National Preserve is located in northeastern Alabama. On top of Lookout Mountain the Little River runs through one of the deepest canyons in the southeast. There is an 11-mile scenic drive along the west side of the canyon that includes several overlooks. Little River Falls, at the beginning of the canyon, is one of the main points of interest. The scenic drive includes an overlook for Littler River Falls. Later in the drive there is another stop for Grace’s High Falls, but typically there is a very low volume of water flowing here. Still, it is Alabama’s highest waterfall at more than 130 feet.

The Best Places to Photograph in Alabama

Little River Canyon by Alby Headrick / CC BY 2.0

The Best Places to Photograph in Alabama

Little River Canyon by Jody Claborn / Public Domain

DeSoto State Park

DeSoto State Park is adjacent to Little River Canyon National Preserve on Lookout Mountain. This park features beautiful mountain scenery with 25 miles of hiking trails to explore. There is a lodge and cabins, restaurant, and campsites at the park. The main draw for photographers is beautiful 100-foot DeSoto Falls. It is reachable by a short paved pathway that leaves from the parking lot.

The Best Places to Photograph in Alabama

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DeSoto State Park by Jody Claborn / Public Domain

Dismals Canyon

Located in northwestern Alabama, Dismals Canyon is a privately owned and operated nature preserve in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The sandstone gorge features two waterfalls and six natural bridges. A 1.5 mile hike along the creek will take you through the canyon and provide plenty of photographic opportunities along the way. Cabins and campsites are available.

The Best Places to Photograph in Alabama

Dismals Canyon by Ronnie Harris / CC BY-SA 3.0

Noccalula Falls

Noccalula Falls in located in Gadsden, northeastern Alabama. The 90-foot waterfall is the centerpiece of the 250-acre Noccalula Falls Park.  A gorge trail winds through the basin, and views are easily accessible from the top of the falls.

The Best Places to Photograph in Alabama

Noccalula Falls by Thejammer / Public Domain

Cheaha State Park

Cheaha State Park in eastern Alabama, in the Talladega National Forest features Cheaha Mountain, the highest point in Alabama. Bunker Tower, a stone observation tower, sits at the top on the mountain. Several trails provide hiking opportunities, as well as scenic views for photographs. The wooden walkway of the Bald Rock Trail provides a nice view. The park also has a hotel, cabins, and a restaurant.

The Best Places to Photograph in Alabama

Cheaha State Park by Dixielicious / CC0

The Best Places to Photograph in Alabama

Cheaha State Park by Amann09 / Public Domain

Talladega National Forest

Talladega National Forest covers almost 400,000 acres in eastern Alabama, at the edge of the Appalachian Mountains. Two wilderness areas within the forest, the Cheaha Wilderness and the Dugger Mounatin Wilderness, preserve parts of the forest.

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The Best Places to Photograph in Alabama

Talladega National Forest by Chris Hartman / CC BY 2.0

William B. Bankhead National Forest, Sipsey Wilderness

The William B. Bankhead National Forest lies in northwestern Alabama and includes the Sipsey Wilderness. This area is popular for hiking and canoeing, and it features several streams, limestone bluffs, and many waterfalls. There are several different trails available within the wilderness, ranging from 3 miles to 12 miles. Information and directions to the trailheads can be found on this page.

The Best Places to Photograph in Alabama

William B. Bankhead National Forest by Toby Gray / Public Domain

The Best Places to Photograph in Alabama

Sipsey Wilderness by Michael Hicks / CC BY-ND 2.0

Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge

Located along the Tennessee River in northern Alabama, the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge provides a habitat for wintering and migrating birds. It stretches for about 20 miles on both sides of the river. About half of the area is land and the other half water. The visitor’s center has an overlook, and another observation tower is located at the northern side of the refuge. There are also a few different trails for viewing and photographing the landscape and wildlife.

The Best Places to Photograph in Alabama

Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge by Bill Gates / CC BY 2.0

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge includes 5 separate, small units along the Gulf coast near Mobile Bay. Protected habitats include beaches, sand dunes, swamps, and marshes. It serves as a resting and feeding area for migratory birds. In the Perdue Unit there are a few trails worth exploring. The Jeff Friend Trail is a one-mile loop that gives you a view of the forest, wetlands, and Little Lagoon. See more information about the trails here.

The Best Places to Photograph in Alabama

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge by Jereme Phillips / CC BY 2.0

The Best Places to Photograph in Alabama

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge by USFWS / CC BY 2.0

Ruffner Mountain Nature Center

Ruffner Mountain Nature Center is in central Alabama, northeast of Birmingham. This 1,000-acre privately-owned nature preserve includes 14 miles of hiking trails that will provide you with opportunities for beautiful photos without venturing far from the urban setting of Birmingham. The trails range from 0.2 miles to 1.7 miles, and you can see a trail map here.

The Best Places to Photograph in Alabama

Ruffner Mountain Nature Center by Rain0975 / CC BY-ND 2.0

The Best Places to Photograph in Alabama

Ruffner Mountain Nature Center by Rain0975 / CC BY-ND 2.0

Moss Rock Preserve

Moss Rock Preserve is a 349-acre nature preserve south of Birmingham. It features a boulder field, forests, streams, waterfalls, and 12 miles of hiking trails to experience it all. Like Ruffner Mountain, Moss Rock Preserve is a great place for experiencing nature in an urban area.

The Best Places to Photograph in Alabama

Moss Rock Preserve by Elizabeth Perkins / CC BY-ND 2.0

Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores is located on the east side of Mobile Bay, near the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. Gulf Shores is known for its beautiful beaches, which also provide great opportunities for photographers.

The Best Places to Photograph in Alabama

Gulf Shores by John Tuggle / CC BY 2.0

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The 67-acre Birmingham Botanical Gardens is a great place to photograph flowers. There are 25 different gardens with more than 12,000 plants, and several miles of paths to experience the gardens. Admission and parking are free.

The Best Places to Photograph in Alabama

Birmingham Botanical Gardens by Alby Headrick / CC BY 2.0

Bellingrath Gardens

The 65-acre Bellingrath Gardens is located near Mobile in southern Alabama. It features several gardens, an observation tower, a lake, and beautiful pathways. The gardens are beautiful year round, although the specific plants vary by season.

The Best Places to Photograph in Alabama

Bellingrath Gardens by Carol M. Highsmith / Public Domain

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