Dismals Canyon

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It was a perfectly lovely and sunny long weekend here, and on Saturday Kev and I took a quick drive over to check out the secluded and mysterious Dismals Canyon. It’s only a few hours south of our house, but with our 9th anniversary coming up (it’s today!), we decided to make a short trip out of it and stay the night nearby.

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We grabbed a hotel, and look at this cheerful room! Can you guess what hotel this is? This was our room for the night at the Holiday Inn Express, if you can believe it. We stayed in Florence, Alabama, and it was such a cute little town. There was a seriously good sushi restaurant just across the street from the hotel, and even a doughnut shoppe and cupcake bakery right on the way to canyon. Heaven!

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The canyon walking path was gorgeous and Miley and Howie got right to exploring.

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The trail is a short 1.5 mile loop that follows a quiet stream, but you could easily spend all afternoon exploring the canyon.

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Loved the beautiful high canyon walls covered in moss that would “weep” like a slow, trickling rain drops.

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The trail was filled with plenty of fun stairs and stepping stones. Although I guess Howie prefers a more direct approach by cutting straight through the stream!

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It was pretty hot outside, but the canyon is shady and cool.

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Time for a swim!

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There were even a few very narrow passageways to squeeze through!

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Loved these fiery walls.

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At the end of the loop, a fallen tree had been turned into a bridge to cross to the other side of the stream.

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The trail made its way back to the beginning of the canyon, crossing one final swinging bridge leading to the entrance.

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What makes Dismals Canyon so unique are the mysterious Dismalites. The canyon is home to these rare and tiny phosphorescent “glowworms” that light up the canyon bluffs like a thousand stars on a dark night. The canyon offers guided twilight tours to see these unique creatures, and is a completely magical experience. Dismals Canyon was such a fun day trip, loved spending the afternoon here and meeting the Dismalites.

Happy 9th Anniversary, Kev!


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Kristen May 31, 2011 at 2:31 am

Love the pictures, as always! Looks like the pups had a great time. I have two pugs, and I wish I could get them to be as adventurous as yours!


Nic's Notebook May 31, 2011 at 2:35 am

Oh wow it looks fab there, our 2 pups would love it too :) Lovely pics xx


Angie May 31, 2011 at 4:40 am

What a great looking place!! Your pictures capture the beautiful surroundings making me want to drop everything and go check it out!! =)


Shelby May 31, 2011 at 6:35 am

Happy Anniversary!! :) That hotel doesn’t look like a Holiday Inn Express! I love the new design. It looks like the pups had fun. We will definitely have to add that canyon to our list of places to check out.


Debbie May 31, 2011 at 6:39 am

These photos are just beautiful. I adore the “time for a swim” photo! Warming to see true pet lovers taking the ‘kids’ along for the getaway. Dismal Canyon is breathtaking!


Debbie May 31, 2011 at 6:41 am

What a beautiful location for an anniversary celebration. Adored the “time for a swim” photo!! Dismal Canyon sure doesn’t match it’s name. WOW what a gem.


Susan Kay May 31, 2011 at 6:46 am

Loved the photos and the adventure. As usual, your pups are precious. Thanks for sharing.


Leah May 31, 2011 at 6:50 am

Beautiful photos, as ever! It looks so lovely there. Happy anniversary! I’m getting married next year on the 9th anniversary of meeting my fella, which also happens to be my birthday ;)


MARGA FABBRI May 31, 2011 at 6:55 am

Loved the photos, thank you! all my best from Buenos Aires


Alice May 31, 2011 at 7:02 am

Happy Anniversary,
Beautiful place to go, looks like the dogs enjoyed it too.


Stefany May 31, 2011 at 7:07 am

WOW!!! Beautiful!!!! Your dogs get to go more places than I do…. jealous!!! :o)


Jessica May 31, 2011 at 7:10 am

yay more Howie & Miley.. and the photos were cool too. looks like you had a fabulous weekend


Melissa May 31, 2011 at 7:17 am

Happy Anniversary!! Wish you many, many more to celebrate! And thanks for the beautiful pix.


Kaye May 31, 2011 at 7:26 am

Absolutely gorgeous. We have lots of stunning canyons in Utah, but I love the lush moss and broad leaf plants in your photos! Ahhhhh. . .


Mary Anne Tomlinson May 31, 2011 at 7:32 am

Hi Amanda,
I’ve been following your blog recently and really enjoy it, when time allows. I found you as I was searching for ideas for organizing my Newly Built Scrap Book Room! (yay!) I love your photography and I enjoy all those recipes. We recently tried the souped up mac & cheese. I printed out that awesome chocolate chip cookie, Oreo and brownie concoction, but haven’t made that yet.
Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your report on The Dismals. The Dismals is actually owned by my best friend’s sister-in-law, Beverly. Small world, huh?


Sandy May 31, 2011 at 8:03 am

Great pics. ALWAYS enjoy pictures of your dogs. They are SO darn cute. Their pictures always make me smile. Now, tomorrow you can officially start planning your big trip for your 10 year anniversary. It’s a big one, gotta do something big…….


Erin May 31, 2011 at 8:06 am

Ooo that’s not too far from where I live, looks amazing! I may need to go there :-)


Diane@Longaberger Lifestyle May 31, 2011 at 8:12 am

Congratulations Amanda and Kevin! And best wishes for 50 more!!

Thanks for sharing your Dismals experience. For me and my guy…that would be a perfect day/experience. We love relishing in God’s wonderful creation.


The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh May 31, 2011 at 8:21 am

What a perfectly lovely trip with the family! It does look like a cool, refreshing respite from the heat. Happy Anniversary to you both and many more years of happiness!


Lori May 31, 2011 at 8:22 am

Very cool and love the Dismalites!!


Natalie @ Queen of Whirled May 31, 2011 at 8:24 am

WOW. Really beautiful. We might have plan a little road trip.


Laura May 31, 2011 at 8:28 am

Wow! It is so beautiful! Last year I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was! The decor was so fresh and modern!


Marilyn May 31, 2011 at 8:32 am

Loved the pictures! I’ve only been there once, about 15 years ago and would love to go back sometime. I can still “feel” the coolness of the canyon and the little glowy bugs are so cool! I’m thinkin you can get fined for touching/taking them.


AnitaK May 31, 2011 at 8:34 am

The photos are beautiful….looks like a very fun getaway.


Urban Wife May 31, 2011 at 8:50 am

Congratulations on your anniversary and best wishes for many, many more years! :) Thank you for sharing Dismal Canyons with us. It looks like such a lovely place and your pictures captured everything wonderfully. If we ever make it out to northwest Alabama, we’ll be sure to stop there! Have a great day.


jenna May 31, 2011 at 8:57 am

i’m going to have to add this to my travel to list! this place looks so relaxing and fun!


jenna May 31, 2011 at 8:58 am

Happy Anniversary!!

Lindsay May 31, 2011 at 9:01 am

Happy Anniversary–it’s mine today, too! Three years. Time flies.


Sandy_in_MD May 31, 2011 at 9:07 am

Happy Anniversary! Dismal Canyon looks like a great place to visit – love your pics – esp. the glowworms!


Rachel J. May 31, 2011 at 9:22 am

Ohhhh…how neat! I live in Florence, but have never made it to Dismal Canyon. Glad you guys had a great time. :o)


ARLENE AND THE DOGS May 31, 2011 at 9:22 am

We here in Utah, have beautiful canyons with lots of water..but we can’t take our dogs because it is a water shed…so sad.

tell us about the harnesses your dogs are wearing.


Beth M. May 31, 2011 at 9:34 am

We lived in Florence for 6 months at the beginning of our marriage and I never knew this place existed. Good grief!


Darla @ Bakingdom May 31, 2011 at 9:47 am

I’m new to your blog and I just have to say how beautiful this post is! Stunning photos and your pups are adorable! Thanks for sharing everything…next summer we transfer (military family) and we’re hoping to head west. We plan to drive it, so this would be a great stop along the way!


Jessica May 31, 2011 at 9:53 am

What a fun trip! That place looks amazing and I’m glad the doggies got to join too! :) Happy Anniversary!


Kelly May 31, 2011 at 10:03 am

This is so beautiful. I think I know where we will have to go for our next vacation. :)


Lisa May 31, 2011 at 10:14 am

Loving all the pup pics and the beautiful room – gives me inspiration for colours in my room :)

Happy Anniversary!


JOAN PRATT May 31, 2011 at 10:20 am

What fun! Definitely put that on our list of cool places to visit. How nice it is dog friendly. It take my Boston swimming in the creek everyday now that the weather is nice. Cant keep her out of the water! I love seeing pictures of your cute pups.


Dori May 31, 2011 at 10:22 am

So beautiful! I will add Dismals Canyon to our must visit list for sure!


marywithgarden May 31, 2011 at 10:40 am

I love places that offer nightime hikes. We took a full moon hike in Madsion, WI at the nature center and watched the full moon rise, walked the trails without flashlights, tested the sparking power of Wontergreen mints and heard our guide recite moon themed poems and tell folk stories. Certainly one of our favorite memories. This one looks like a winner, too! Glad you had such a lovely time.


Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) May 31, 2011 at 11:08 am

Amanda, your photography is beautiful (as usual!)

Glad you and your hubs had such a wonderful excursion and thank you for sharing these gorg photos :)


rani May 31, 2011 at 11:35 am

wow! gorgeous pics! Your posts make me want to get me and the family out more this summer with hiking! There are some beautiful hikes along the Big Sur and San Simeon Coast that we are going to hit for sure!! Thanks for the inspirations!


Kelly @ Dare to be Domestic May 31, 2011 at 11:47 am

Girl I wish I would have known you were coming into Florence. That is where I live :) Thank you for the images inside the hotel there too – we are planning our wedding and knowing that it is THAT cute inside is a perk I will definitely put that on our list of places guests should say. The Dismals look amazing we’ve been wanting to get out there to visit. Thanks for the pictures! Next time you drop by Florence let me know! I’m so happy you enjoyed UMI – we had it this weekend as well :)


Lizzy May 31, 2011 at 11:56 am

Happy Anniversary! You must have gotten married on a Friday night as my 9th anniversary is tomorrow! I wish you many more years of happiness and good health. The pics are beautiful. I wish we lived closer to check it out.


Trece May 31, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Congratulations on 9 years of happiness. May you have many more!


Barbara May 31, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Wow, beautiful. It’s so amazing to discover little gems like this. Beautiful pics and it looks like the dogs had a blast. Thanks for the tour!


ana May 31, 2011 at 1:01 pm

gah. such a great post & photos. & happy anniversary! :)


Heather May 31, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Hi – These are some great pics! I was wondering about the pink and blue vest/harnesses that the “kids” are wearing. What are those??


mc@nu-trio May 31, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Wow! Those pictures are gorgeous. It looks like a wonderful, relaxing way to spend an anniversary. Those moss-covered canyon walls remind me of a spot near us, the narrows of the beautiful Chattooga River.


Lindsey May 31, 2011 at 3:28 pm

I love Dismals Canyon! Great pictures!


Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) May 31, 2011 at 4:53 pm

WOW! Those pictures are amazing!!


Misti May 31, 2011 at 5:49 pm

What a beautiful area! Makes me miss the Appalachian Trail and that area a bit!


Liz (Little Bitty Bakes) May 31, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Looks so enchanting! Thanks for sharing another fun trip, Amanda!


Vera May 31, 2011 at 10:00 pm

What a wonderful magical place to spend your anniversary in, congratulations! Amazing how your dogs could accompany you too.


Christina May 31, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Happy anniversary!!! Your pictures are great, looks like a wonderful little getaway!!


Jessica June 1, 2011 at 9:18 am

Happy Anniversary! What a beautiful place! It’s going on my list of places to see. I’m super excited that it’s not too far from where we are. Thanks for sharing – I might never had known about it if I hadn’t visited your site. :-)


Jessica June 1, 2011 at 10:50 am

Happy Anniversary! and lovely pictures… as usual!


Shirley Larsen June 1, 2011 at 12:14 pm

What great photos, Amanda!!!
Thanks for sharing!


Star Hughes June 1, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Aw happy anniversary!!! Looks like such a fun trip – how beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing!

PS any hike with a cupcake shop near the entrance is my kind of place!!


Cookin' Canuck June 1, 2011 at 1:15 pm

What a gorgeous spot! It reminds me a lot of the Pacific rain forests in B.C. (Canada) – lush, green, ferns everywhere. You’re making me miss home. Happy Anniversary to you and Kevin.


Lori @ RecipeGirl June 1, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Simply a gorgeous spot to celebrate your anniversary!


Tracy June 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Happy anniversary!! Such a lovely place…and looks like the pups had fun too. :-)


Pam June 1, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Happy Anniversary Amanda & Kevin! Loved your pics. Florence is my hometown!


Lisa @ Happy Pacas June 1, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Happy Anniversary, you two! The dogs are so adorable ~ have you seen the cute, ON SALE Boston Terrier cards at Expressionary.com? Go to http://www.expressionery.com/line.aspx?lineid=311&pg=2&perpg=20. (By the way, I have no ties to Expressionary.com, other than as an online window shopper!)


kelly June 2, 2011 at 4:26 pm

isn’t it amazing what is out there when you go searching?! that is simply beautiful!!


Vi June 2, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Hello, Amanda! This isn’t exactly relevant to this post, but I wanted to thank you for all that you do. All of the fonts, crafts, recipes, reviews, tutorials, stories, and ideas are very much appreciated. Even though we may have different tastes at times, I feel that you are such an inspiration. I hope to one day spread joy in this world as you have. Thank you!


Aimee @ Simple Bites June 2, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Happy Anniversary! Wow, you guys got married two weeks after Danny and I did. We celebrated 9 years married while we were in Atlanta for Blogher Food.

Congratulations! Looks like a marvelous getaway.


Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker June 2, 2011 at 9:52 pm

What a beautiful place! And happy anniversary!


Sara Johnson June 4, 2011 at 12:59 am

That looks like a heavenly place to be! I love how green it is and the contrasts with the different kinds of rocks with the greens and browns all around! Completely gorgeous!
I have been wanting to go hiking up the canyons here in Utah and gosh dern it, there is still alot of snow up there and we keep getting snow. I am not to kean on going hiking in areas where there is alot snow and avalanche danger! YIKES! It is June and we are still getting winter showers up there! Want to come go for a hike and check out our snow?!


Kerry June 6, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Beautiful photos, and happy anniversary. And you were courageous to risk sushi in Alabama.


Jamie June 6, 2011 at 3:10 pm

absolutely stunning!!! the pups look so adorable!!
happy 9th anniversary! that’s awesome-way to go!!! :)


Amber June 6, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Next time yall go to Florence, you have got! to try Trowbridge’s. They have the most delicious Pimento Cheese ever! And the ice cream is all home-made. McGraw’s is right down the street and it is a cute little bakery with wonderful espresso!


Amber June 6, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Next time y’all go to Florence, you have simply got! to try Trowbridge’s. They have the absolute best Pimento Cheese sandwich, and all of their ice cream is made in house! They cherry-vanilla is awesome!


Jen @ The Decor Scene June 9, 2011 at 2:28 pm

What gorgeous pictures! Thank you for sharing Amanda!


Pinky June 9, 2011 at 7:49 pm

What GORGEOUS pictures!!! I am visiting from I Heart Organizing and had to say hi! I can not believe how organized you are!!!! OH, Happy Anniversary, a little belated! I’ll be back for sure. XO, Pinky


Robin Larson June 26, 2011 at 5:58 pm

I would try the vinyl. I also like the tattoos my grand daughters would love them.


Kim Brooks August 2, 2011 at 8:12 pm

I’ve been following your blog for a couple years now and was surprised to see that you came to Florence and the Dismals. They don’t seem to be well known in other parts of the state so it’s nice to see other people are hearing of them as well. I live just outside of Russellville which is just north of the dismals. Next time you are in Florence, you should check out Cupcake & Co. or Yummies in Tuscumbia. Tuscumbia and Florence are truly amazing little towns that have a lot to offer. And also, Happy Anniversary!! My husband and I will celebrate our 10 year next month. Thanks for the great post!!


Jenn June 27, 2013 at 6:37 pm

I have wanted to see those little Dismalites for years now. Gotta make it happen. Looks like everyone had fun!


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