Caney Creek Falls and Upper Caney Creek Falls in particular are thought by many to be the most beautiful waterfall trip in Alabama. It's a bit of a hike in, and the hike out of the ampitheater can be hard on the way out, but it's doable for larger kids and dogs. Just use some caution on the descent into the small canyon to see the falls. Be sure to read below about parking, cars have been towed!
At a Glance
- 1.7 mi round trip
- Nice View
- Kids OK
- Dogs OK
Must haves: a Bankhead National Forest map that doesn't need batteries 😉
Gear: Our favorite snacks (like these espresso energy bars) and camera gear
Gallery: Check out the pictures here
Caney Creek Falls - Trip Details
We hadn't been in Alabama for long before someone mentioned a trip to Caney Creek Falls for some fun outdoors and great pictures. After taking the trip, I'd have to agree that it's one of the better waterfall hikes in the state.
I have to extend a big thanks to Lane Leopard for sending over much better pictures than what I took!
Ready for a weekend away? Find a cabin to rent near Caney Creek
The OLD parking for the hike into Caney Creek Falls is on County Road 2 and shown in the picture below. There is a new owner of this spot that WILL have your car towed. You want to continue past this point and use the small gravl road on the right as the road turns.
Go to the end of this road where there is a home with signs straight back showing you where to park. It looks like you're parking at their home because you are! The man that lives here has been kind enough to keep this resource available to the public and will keep an eye on your car while it's parked here. They've also marked a new trail with orange flagging tape from this road to join with the old trail to head down to Caney Creek. The new owners are accepting donations in their mailbox, so PLEASE take some cash and consider supporting their decision to keep this beautiful part of Alabama open for visitors from all over the world.
Since the falls themselves are in Bankhead National Forest land, overnight camping is permitted as well.
The approach to the falls is a steep one, so keep a close eye on dogs and children.
If you continue downstream for about 20 minutes, you'll get to the lower falls, but you'll have to cross the creek to follow the trail to that point.
Hiking to Caney Creek Falls
The falls are a little under a mile from the parking area. On top of that, the walk up out of the small canyon and much of the way back to the car will be slightly uphill. So, prepare for a workout on the way back.
There is some poison ivy along the trail, so just be cautious with dogs and small kids if anyone has a sensitivity to it. The trail is wide except for a couple of short stretches, so it shouldn't be a problem going to the upper falls. The trail to the lower falls is less travelled but shaded by the hemlocks, so poison ivy is less of a problem.
Most of the hike follows a wide trail cut through upland forest which gradually descends to the creek and the falls themselves. In summer, you can enjoy hydrangeas blooming along the trail under the hardwood canopy. Our kids and I enjoyed seeing the Bigleaf Magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla) with its huge leaves (up to 36" long) and flowers up to a foot across. They are fairly common in eastern Mississippi and western Alabama, but it was our first encounter with the species. They bloom in late spring and early summer.
Once you begin to descend to the creek, you should use caution with you kids and dogs. While the trail is not treacherous, a fall down to the stream from the top of the canyon would be pretty serious. It's hard to judge in pictures, but here's a shot facing back up the trail to give you an idea of the approach:
The falls drop about 20 feet onto a rock ledge and run off into a shallow pool. At times of higher runoff, there is a second seasonal waterfall to the right.
Access behind the falls is easy, making for a fun spot to enjoy with the kids behind the falls.
The small canyon below the falls offers a great chance for a geology lesson with kids and beautiful moss-covered rocks along the creek bed, but be prepared to get your shoes a little wet crossing the creek if you don't have waterproof hiking boots.
If you have time and energy, the lower falls are also great to visit. Just be warned, the trail is marked well, but you will be walking along the creek and the canyon walls will force crossings at multiple points to avoid steep climbs. Take a look at the map, and you can see where you can trade some distance for a little extra effort.
The hike back to the car is a bit of a gasser, especially when alternating carrying 3 and 5 year olds! So, you'll appreciate a few minutes in the car when you get back out. But, all in all, this is a fun half-day trip and a gorgeous overnight camping opportunity.
More Waterfalls around Bankhead National Forest
As you might imagine, Caney Creek Falls is not your only option in the vast Bankhead National Forest and the Sipsey Wilderness area. Some other falls to visit are:
- Kinlock Falls - Enjoy this nice cascade with a deep pool at its base with an intertube, if you dare!
- Fall's Creek Falls
- Eagle Creek Falls
- Deer Skull Falls
- Little Ugly Creek Falls
We have also listed 10 of the best waterfalls that you can visit for a day trip here.
Caney Creek Falls Map, Directions, and Resources
GPS Coordinates34.245816, -87.433239
Places to StayThere is primitive camping available at Brushy Creek Campground close by. For those that are looking for something nicer, there are nice homes for reasonable prices nearby listed on Homeaway.
Other ResourcesPark Website
There are no restrooms on site and the nearest will be a 15 minute drive to Haleyville, so plan accordingly!
I want to Kno IF there Are Cabins or Camping Facilities at Caney Creek Falls
This is in a wilderness area, so no structures!
are you allowed to fly fish on the creek?
It’s public land, so you should be fine, but I’ve never seen anyone fishing so I couldn’t say how much luck you’ll have. I do know there is a section of the Sipsey below the dam at Smith Lake that is stocked with trout.
Is fishing allowed?
Nice article on Caney Falls, but you make a common mistake of not giving the reader a map orientation. A simple dot on a map of AL would be helpful, rather than saying it’s “in AL off Rte 2.” I know you can enlarge the location 6x to do that, but like I said, a dot is informative.
Hey, thanks for the input. Just to be clear, are you saying instead of the map at the bottom of the page, I need a small map of the state with a dot showing where in the state Caney Creek Falls are? I may be able to work something like that into the “At a Glance” section at the top of the page. Like that idea?
Any info on accommodations in the area?
There is tent camping at Brushy Lake Campground in the park nearby. Nearby Lewis Smith Lake also has Corinth and Clear Creek Rec. areas where you can camp.
Can you ride a horse to Candy creek?
I’ve never seen “evidence” of horses on the trail. The parking is pretty limited at the trailhead. But, there’s a large network of horse trails connected to Owl Creek Horse Camp not too far from this location. I’d leave the horses there and hike to the falls. 🙂
What is the nearest town to the Falls?
What do you mean by “town”? This is pretty remote, but Double Springs is nearby.
Is it on private property or open to the public?
The waterfall is on national park land.
The 2 falls at Caney Creek are so worth the hike,3 miles round trip to the upper fall then from the first fall to the second is 1.7 miles down stream to the lower fall,it is beautiful w had a 2 year old a 6 year old a 9 year old an 8 year old 14 year old they all made this hike to both, it was a wonderful time!!!
Wow, that’s quite a crew! Thanks for the update on the lower falls!
We are moving to Dauphin Island, Al in September. If I’m reading this map correctly, Candy Creek Falls is pretty far north? We have friends that just love waterfalls and could possibly plan a trip there. Because I have some issues, I can walk exactly 2 mph for exactly 2 miles. Am I reading correctly that I could only go to the first fall and they could go on and pick me up on the way back down?!? I think I could do that. Also, how would we go about getting lodgings? I saw that you said there were nice house nearby but can you give me a little more info on that? This seems like it would be a nice little trip. Thanx so much.
Hi Doris, Caney Falls is close to Jasper about 4.5 hours away from Dauphin Island. I actually grew up on the island, you guys are going to love it. I am now in Birmingham and go up to Smith Lake every weekend which is close to these falls. I dont think this is a trek you are going to want to make. Enjoy the Island!!
I would like to know where this is. Is this a national park? Is there Full hookups for RV’s?
It’s in Bankhead National Forest, but there aren’t full facilities for RVs.
Hi, I’ve run into an issue with several of the links to different waterfall directions. It takes me to google maps and then directs me via the coordinates, but it always says it’s 4+ hours away and in Georgia or NC or something. Could you possibly give me an alternate way to find this via GPS? Thanks so much! Love your site!
It looks like the data merge that I was using to pull in the GPS coordinates wasn’t set up correctly on this one. Thanks for pointing that out! It should be correct now.
Be aware that several people have reported folks getting towed for parking along the roadside, and I haven’t heard if a better solution for parking has been worked out yet.
The owners of the parking area are now towing virtually all cars. There’s much about it on the all trails site.
Hi there, couple of questions. If people are being towed, where would you suggest we park? Are they being towed on the private land or because they parked next to a road? Also, when you say you can camp here, about where would you be referring to (right next to the falls or somewhere in the woods)?
Hi Travis, I just updated this article with some new information about parking at the end of the dirt road just west of the old trailhead on County Rd 2. I’ll try to get the map updated with the new track shortly.
We had a very difficult time finding our way around this area. There is no place here to get information. No internet service with Verizon. The people of Double Springs are as kind as can be but don’t know much about the Forrest. Do your research and print directions before you go. We did find Natural Falls Park. It was well worth the drive to see.
From previous comment, should have said Natural Bridge Park
What is the distance from the Upper Falls to the Lower Falls?
About 1.5 miles
Ok. Just went this past weekend. What an awesome trip.
The low down is that you do need to go to the geo marked ‘new’ trailhead. The owner of the land has signage and asks for donations and my car was fine left for 2 days while we camped.
The trail is not as well marked due to recent storms I think but just follow the trailhead to the creek and then head downstream a mile or so and you can’t miss it. We never found the one that’s supposedly downstream from the main one. Maybe we didn’t go far enough.
Great trip and beautiful falls.