Autumn is a magical time when the landscape transforms itself from the colors of summer greens to rich vibrant shades of red, gold, yellow and orange. Add a nip of cooler temperatures, mountainous woodlands, rippling streams and waterfalls and you have Autumn on Lookout Mountain. Part of the lower Appalachian Mountain chain, Lookout Mountain extends for 93 miles from Chattanooga, Tennessee into the northwest corner of Georgia, entering the NE corner of Alabama on its way to Gadsden, Alabama. The scenic byway traverses the rim of the mountain exposing at times exquisite valley views from the west brow of the mountain to the east brow. Nowhere are the views more majestic than in the middle, the heart of the picturesque 93-mile byway, at Mentone, Alabama.
Mentone is a tiny hamlet in the far northeast corner of Alabama perched mostly on the west rim of Lookout Mountain. The historic village once touted itself in the late 1880's as the tourist retreat with healing powers by virtue of springs that brought forth rejuvenating waters. The springs are no more but the mountaintop retreat still provides healing for the soul in the quiet country charm and fresh mountain air. This mountain resort is beautiful all four seasons but cannot be beat for it’s Autumn season when the healing restoration is most effective.
Autumn comes alive in dazzling shades as the foliage of the forested Lookout Mountain region begins the annual transition from varying greens to a palette of wondrous colors. Here one can explore the charm of downtown Mentone and it's shops and eateries, enjoy miles of nearby hiking and biking trails, rappel the height and zip line the width of DeSoto Falls, kayak and canoe the Little River, and a myriad of other recreational activities. Or, simply sit back and relax in the comfort of your well-appointed accommodations, all amid the splendor of fall foliage and crisp clean air.
Local attractions include historic downtown Mentone with antique and Appalachian craft shops like The Crow's Nest, the 104-foot DeSoto Falls, the Little River that forms and flows most of it's length on top of Lookout Mountain carving out a deep canyon with a 23-mile roller coaster of a drive along the rim of the Little River Canyon National Preserve, the historic churches of St. Joseph's on the Mountain and Sallie Howard Chapel, and miles of radiantly adorned scenic byway and country roads sure to delight leaf peepers from all around the globe.
Autumn colors in Mentone begin to turn in mid to late September with the auburn colors of the Dogwood leaves and firetruck red of the wild Sumac. As the season progresses into October so too does the fall color. One after another, the hardwoods' foliage takes on their designated colors painting the mountain as pretty as a patchwork quilt. Mid to late October into early November usually provides the most vivid colors of the season. Mentone and the Lookout Mountain Parkway has been heralded by many as the place for fall foliage. One visit and you will understand why. Just remember that Mother Nature decides when the leaves will turn so don't be disappointed if you plan a visit that does not coincide with Her timing. Enjoy the mountain hamlet as it is and return often. You will want to do just that once you visit and feel the healing powers held within the realm of this mountain retreat. Make Mentone, Alabama your Autumn destination for fall foliage.
Where to Stay:
The Mentone Mountain View Inn - on the brow of Lookout Mountain
Mentone Cabins - Cabin Rentals located throughout Mentone
Where to Eat:
The Hardware Cafe
The Wildflower Cafe
The Moonlight Bistro
The Rusty Fox
and many more fine locations
· Farmer's Market each Wednesday and Saturday
· Zip Lining, Rappelling, Guided Hikes, Rock Climbing and other recreational activities provided by True Adventure Sports almost daily and by group reservations
· Live Music at local restaurants and at Kamama Music Series
· The Mentone Colorfest held annually the third weekend in October
Mentone Mountain View Inn
- Photo2 by Patty Tucker