Set on the scenic plateaus of Lookout Mountain, the town of Mentone, Alabama is a hidden treasure that waits for the adventurous and daring.
It’s part of DeKalb County, which is near the borders that the state shares with Georgia.
Urbanity hasn’t made that much of an impact in this region, so everything remains pristine and natural.
These qualities, combined with the welcoming community and mountaintop ambiance, have made Mentone a favorite destination for those who want to escape their busy city lives.
The town has become a popular setting for summer camps, ski trips, river cruises, and other exhilarating nature-related activities.
So if you want an outdoor adventure like no other, make this town your top destination.
Here are the 15 best things to do in Mentone, AL:
Marvel at the Stunning DeSoto Falls
The gorgeous DeSoto Falls is the most iconic destination in town, a must-visit attraction for the whole family.
With a 104-foot drop, the majestic fall and its brilliant white waters contrast against the deep colors or the pool, rocks, and forests around it.
This creates a breathtaking view that is accentuated by the circular canyon that surrounds the pool.
It’s no wonder that landscape photography is such a popular activity here.
Surrounding the waterfall is a park with spacious grounds and modern amenities—an ideal place to spend time with your loved ones.
You can also visit the A.A. Miller Dam, an upstream structure fed by the waters of Little River.
It’s a gorgeous manmade destination, but its mild overflows pale in comparison to the raging torrents of DeSoto Falls.
Still, the uniform architecture is an ideal subject for photos, especially when fall comes and orange leaves float on the mirror-like surface of the reservoir.
Brave the Cold at Cloudmont Ski & Golf Resort
Lookout Mountain is well-known for its thrilling winter-related activities, and Mentone is no exception.
The town has Cloudmont Ski & Golf Resort, a ski resort nestled atop one of the spacious plateaus of the region.
It takes advantage of the gentle slopes of Little Mountain, providing an easy and fun skiing experience for beginners and professionals.
Since 1970, the facility has expanded to add more modern equipment, intermediate slopes, and safety measures that improve customer experience.
They even have professional instructors dedicated to teaching the basics of skiing to the most novice visitors.
During summer, the green hills are turned into a scenic golf course with well-maintained fairways and greens.
Play a few rounds on the undulating terrain while enjoying the views of Lookout Mountain.
Join the Scouts at Camp Comer Scout Reservation
For those with kids and those who are active members of the Boy Scouts, Camp Comer Scout Reservation is a must-visit destination.
The 1000-acre camp is well-known for its cool temperatures, excellent facilities, and tons of activities that will keep your child busy and engaged.
From learning programs to survival adventures, every Boy Scout will get to participate in activities that can help them earn merit badges.
It’s an experience of a lifetime for them to be away from parents and with fellow peers who can teach skills, pass on values, and share moments that they’ll treasure forever.
And if you’re a Scout Master, staying here would be your chance to impart your scouting experience to the next generation.
Not to mention the cool mountain climate and relaxing natural scenery that offers peace from your hectic life.
Watch the Sun Set at Brow Park
While it’s small, Brow Park provides the grandest view of Lookout Mountain.
Set beside a road and on top of a cliff, this park is one of the few public places where you can access panoramic sceneries of the surrounding region.
So bring your family over for an hour or two of sightseeing.
There are some picnic benches and a pavilion where you can stay and enjoy a snack, or you can simply park your car and walk towards the edge of the grounds.
You’d be treated to a blanket of green that only ends where the horizon meets the Alabama sky.
The best time to visit is during the late afternoon if you want to catch the sunset and stay for a little longer to see the stars emerge.
Join the Festive Mentone Colorfest
When fall comes and the foliage changes to hues of orange, yellow, and brown, throngs of people head over to Mentone to join the annual Colorfest.
It’s a celebration of autumn in the mountain town, with arts and crafts, local dishes, and live music all around.
Because of the clear mountain air and welcoming community, this festival has become a well-known event for the appreciation of fall colors—hence the name.
So you can expect vibrant sceneries that are alive with warm hues and enchanting feels.
While here, be sure to visit the boutiques, restaurants, and local shops of Mentone.
They usually offer specials, seasonal products, and other treats in line with Colorfest.
Fish for Freshwater Game at Republic Lake
While Republic Lake is mostly used by the Boy Scouts for their exercises, the areas away from Camp Comer Scout Reservation are great for fishing and other water-related activities.
Some of the creatures swimming in the cold depths of this mountaintop lake include crappie, striped bass, and catfish.
Shore fishing is preferred, with the docks serving as the perfect perch for you to try your angling skills.
But if fishing isn’t on your list of things to do, you can simply roam the trails on the edge of the lake.
The tree-lined banks offer picturesque views that are mirrored on the lake’s surface.
You might also encounter some of the wildlife that call this place home, such as deer, quail, turkey, and various insects.
Make a Stop at Mentone Wedding Chapel
You don’t have to get married or be a part of one to visit the quaint Mentone Wedding Chapel.
But it’s such a beautiful and secluded attraction, you’re going to want to have your wedding here someday.
It’s set deep in the forests of Mentone, with Cloudmont Ski & Golf Resort as one the nearest landmarks.
Its relative isolation, the gorgeous scenery, and the wooden architecture of the chapel itself have made the attraction a favorite of would-be couples.
And while many people have tied to the knot inside the cozy chapel, it also serves as a venue for other special occasions.
From family reunions to dinner meetings, the chapel’s management keeps their doors wide open for various events.
Cruise the Gentle Waters of Little River
Little River is the source of water for A.A. Miller Dam and DeSoto Falls, and it’s an important body of water for the residents of Mentone overall.
It’s rich in fish and helps irrigate the surrounding lands, making it an economically vital resource in the region.
Aside from this, Little River is a premier tourist destination because of its beautiful waterways.
It’s gorgeous in every season, with banks surrounded by thick forests, turbulent rapids, and calm segments for cruises and fishing.
However, the best time to visit it is during fall, when the foliage falls on the water and adds a magical feel as your glide along the scenic bends.
If you want to experience these surreal adventures, you can book one of the pontoon boat cruises offered by local businesses in Mentone.
The pilots know the best spots for foliage appreciation, and they’ll bring you there in a jiffy.
Find Quality Produce at Mentone Farmers' Market
When looking for fresh vegetables, fruits, and other crops during your visit to the town, then make a stop at the weekly Mentone Farmers' Market.
It’s open all year round, serving as the source of nutritious and sustainable mountain produce for the town's residents.
Of course, visitors are welcome too.
Every Saturday, farmers and local businesses erect stalls and put their products on display.
You can shop for various fruit cultivars, seasonal vegetables, root crops, and other produce that are as fresh as the mountain air.
There are also other products like fragrant flower bouquets, baked goods, and artisanal products that can serve as the souvenir for your trip.
Visit the Sallie Howard Memorial Baptist Church
Another mountaintop religious destination in Mentone is Sallie Howard Memorial Baptist Church.
It was built in the 1930s by Colonel Milford Howard to recreate a church that he and his wife Sallie visited during a trip to Europe.
He gathered enough funds and materials to complete this memorial project, and today, the church has become a well-known landmark in town.
Most people come here to pray in the church as a sort of pilgrimage, but nonreligious folks are still welcome to visit and marvel at the design of the interiors.
The most prominent feature here is the altar, which has a large boulder that extends all the way into the exterior of the structure.
It’s actually a natural formation that was there before the church was built around it.
This unique feature makes it a one-of-a-kind destination that you shouldn’t miss!
Stay Awhile at Achunachi Lake
Achunachi Lake sits adjacent to Camp Comer Scout Reservation, and it’s a smaller body of water compared to Republic Lake.
However, this attraction offers the same mountaintop scenery and cool temperatures that make it an excellent alternative for smaller groups.
Since the Boy Scouts are usually more inclined to Republic Lake, you’ll mostly have the lake for yourself and maybe a few other visitors.
Shoreline fishing is a favorite activity here, with the same aquatic creatures found in Republic Lake swimming within its depths.
You can also explore the banks on a kayak or a small canoe to see the gorgeous and secluded scenery of the reservoir.
Sample the Menu of Wildflower Cafe
Wildflower Cafe is Mentone Institution, a popular spot set in the heart of town.
Upon arrival, you’ll immediately feel the cozy, mountain home ambiance that the establishment has created, from the vine-covered fences and walls to the bear sculpture welcoming you at the entrance.
The interior itself is like the home of a modern-day fairy, with twinkling lights, natural decorations, and novelty items on every corner and shelf.
So while most people come here for the food, the decor itself is something that makes your stay worthwhile.
The menu consists of American staples and Southern comfort foods, including pies, soups, and burgers.
On occasion, the restaurant holds live music concerts that elevate your dining experience.
Try Horseback Riding at Shady Grove Dude Ranch
Cross the river from Cloudmont Ski & Golf Resort, and you’d end up on Shady Grove Dude Ranch.
This place is frequently recommended for visitors as they offer horseback riding tours and lessons.
So if you want to explore the various destinations around Little River riding atop the majestic creatures, then this is the place to be.
The ranch itself has 800 acres of scenic wilderness that you’re free to explore.
At the same time, the owners organize tours that can bring you to key points of Little River and Lookout Mountain, including DeSoto Falls and the best lookouts that aren’t usually open to the public.
The Ranch itself has accommodations for those who want to stay longer in Mentone.
What’s great about these lodgings is that they don’t have telephones, televisions, or clocks.
So you can completely disconnect and free yourself from schedules while staying here.
Other Things to Do Nearby
After your Mentone Adventures, why not visit these other locations within the area?
Explore the Challenging Trails of Little River Canyon National Preserve
Farther downriver is Little River Canyon National Preserve, which offers more dramatic sceneries and larger forests for exploration.
This vast land is under the management of the National Park Service, which aims to preserve the pristine state of the country’s longest mountaintop river.
Since it’s a nature preserve, many activities are not allowed, such as hunting, backcountry camping, and net fishing.
However, you can still enjoy regular hook-and-line fishing, hiking, and landscape photography.
The last one is a favorite activity here, owing to the stunning canyons, seasonal waterfalls, and the rushing Little River itself.
Set Up Camp at DeSoto State Park
DeSoto State Park belongs to Fort Payne, just a few minutes’ drive from the town of Mentone.
This attraction is where most of the camping sites are located, with various spots for RVs, traditional tents, and cabins.
And within the borders of the park, there are many trails that you’re welcome to explore.
Some of these bring you to Little River and its many smaller waterfalls; some bring you to the ridges that offer panoramic views of the park.
Whichever routes you choose, you’re guaranteed an excellent nature experience.
Have a Picnic at A.A. Miller Dam
The A. A. Miller Dam is a part of Mentone's rich history.
Arthur Abernathy Miller, an electrical engineer, built the dam over the DeSoto Waterfalls in 1925 to power a hydroelectric generator, which served Mentone and the surrounding villages.
The geometrical concrete blocks that housed the generators for so long may still be evident today.
Here, boating has long been a favorite pastime, and you can rent a boat on the water.
Picnickers and nature lovers flock to this spot for its tranquility and breathtaking views.
Merchandise for visitors to the dam site includes refreshments and ice cream.
Only a short walk will take you to the DeSoto Falls.
Appreciate Local Art or Join an Art Class at Mentone Arts Center
This arts center in Mentone, Alabama, is a great place to go if you want to learn more about creating your art.
Appalachian cultural heritage is the focus of this center's activity.
It offers various educational and cultural opportunities to the local community and visitors.
These opportunities benefit both residents and tourists.
Drawing, Alabama ceramics, black and white films, and digital photography are just some of the lessons available.
Additionally, the facility offers a gift store and an art gallery for guests to peruse.
Pick Some Garden Additions from Moon Lake Trading Co.
Do you love gardening and landscaping?
Don't miss out on Moon Lake Trading Company.
You may get anything from plants to mulch to decorations at this store.
Aside from planters, t-shirts and many other knick-knacks are also available.
There are a lot of pretty flowers and plants to see.
Feel free to buy one for your landscaping project!
Moon Lake Trading Co. also has various culinary goods and quick bites.
See Unique Gourds at The Gourdie Shop
A modest shop that sells gourds, The Gourdie Shop has blossomed into one of the most unusual attractions in Mentone, Alabama.
Here, you may see hand-painted, signed, and date-stamped original gourds.
You'll also find various distinctive clothing and accessories, including shawls, scarves, and hats.
The Hitching Post was home to the Crow's Nest Antique Shop, now housing The Gourdie Shop.
Online reviews also praise the store's welcoming ambiance and friendly personnel.
Support Modern-Day Heroes at 1776 RV & Campground
If you've been to a lot of RV parks over the years, not only will you appreciate the unique peaceful vibe of 1776 RV & Campground but also its advocacy.
This campground is a veteran-owned business educating the next generation of Americans about the nation's origins.
Full hookup RV sites with stone fire-rings, picnic tables, and BBQ grills are available at this campground.
If you don't have an RV, the facility also has ten tent sites with electricity and water and RV rentals if you don't already own one.
You may also find clean, contemporary bathrooms near the park's babbling creek and pond.
Desoto Falls and Desoto State Park are just a short drive away from the campground.
High up on the mountains of northern Alabama, Mentone has established itself as a favorite high-elevation destination.
From majestic falls to colorful fall festivals, from quaint cafes to river cruises, there is something for everyone here.
So when planning your trip to this charming town, reference this list so you won’t miss the top spots!