Geography of DeKalb County, Alabama

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DeKalb County, Alabama, located in the northeastern part of the state, is a region characterized by its diverse geography, ranging from rolling hills and valleys to picturesque waterways. This area boasts a rich natural landscape, including rivers, lakes, forests, and caves, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. In this comprehensive overview, we’ll delve into the geography, climate, rivers, lakes, and other significant features of DeKalb County, Alabama.┬áCheck homethodology to learn more about the state of Alabama.


DeKalb County covers an area of approximately 779 square miles, making it one of the larger counties in Alabama. It is situated in the Appalachian foothills, bordering both Georgia and Tennessee. The terrain of DeKalb County is primarily hilly and mountainous, with elevations ranging from around 600 feet in the valleys to over 1,800 feet in the highest peaks. The county is part of the Cumberland Plateau region, characterized by its rugged topography and scenic vistas.


DeKalb County experiences a humid subtropical climate, typical of much of the southeastern United States. Summers are hot and humid, with average high temperatures in the upper 80s to low 90s Fahrenheit, while winters are relatively mild, with average lows in the 30s and 40s Fahrenheit. The county receives a moderate amount of rainfall throughout the year, with precipitation evenly distributed across the seasons. Snowfall is infrequent but not unheard of during the winter months.


One of the defining features of DeKalb County is its abundant waterways, including several notable rivers that flow through the region:

  1. Tennessee River: The Tennessee River forms the northern boundary of DeKalb County, separating it from Tennessee. This major river, which stretches over 650 miles, is a vital waterway for transportation, recreation, and wildlife habitat.
  2. Little River: The Little River, a tributary of the Tennessee River, meanders through the southern part of DeKalb County. Known for its scenic beauty and recreational opportunities, the Little River offers activities such as fishing, canoeing, and hiking along its banks.
  3. Big Wills Creek: Big Wills Creek is another significant watercourse in DeKalb County, flowing through the central part of the county before eventually joining the Coosa River. This creek provides habitat for various aquatic species and supports local ecosystems.


In addition to its rivers, DeKalb County is home to several picturesque lakes that enhance the region’s natural beauty and recreational offerings:

  1. Lake Guntersville: While only a small portion of Lake Guntersville extends into DeKalb County, it remains one of the largest and most renowned lakes in Alabama. This reservoir, created by the Guntersville Dam on the Tennessee River, is a popular destination for boating, fishing, and birdwatching.
  2. Weiss Lake: Weiss Lake, often referred to as the “Crappie Capital of the World,” is a man-made reservoir located primarily in Cherokee County but also extending into DeKalb County. This expansive lake offers excellent fishing opportunities and attracts anglers from across the region.
  3. Little River Canyon Lake: Formed by the damming of the Little River, Little River Canyon Lake is a scenic reservoir nestled within Little River Canyon National Preserve. Surrounded by dramatic cliffs and lush forests, this lake provides a tranquil setting for kayaking, swimming, and picnicking.

Natural Features:

Apart from its rivers and lakes, DeKalb County boasts several other notable natural features that contribute to its unique landscape:

  1. Sand Mountain: Running along the southern border of DeKalb County, Sand Mountain is a long, narrow ridge composed of sandstone and shale. This geological formation influences the county’s topography and provides a habitat for diverse plant and animal species.
  2. Little River Canyon: Often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” Little River Canyon is a spectacular gorge carved by the Little River over millions of years. This scenic wonder offers opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, and sightseeing amid its towering cliffs and cascading waterfalls.
  3. Caves and Caverns: DeKalb County is home to numerous caves and caverns, many of which remain unexplored or inaccessible to the public. These underground formations, formed by the dissolution of limestone over time, serve as important habitats for bats and other cave-dwelling creatures.


In summary, DeKalb County, Alabama, is a region blessed with a diverse and captivating geography. From its rolling hills and rugged mountains to its meandering rivers and tranquil lakes, the county offers a wealth of natural beauty and recreational opportunities. Whether exploring the depths of Little River Canyon, casting a line in Weiss Lake, or simply enjoying the scenic vistas of Sand Mountain, visitors and residents alike are sure to be captivated by the enchanting landscapes of DeKalb County.