New series of trails in the works for Lookout Mountain

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FORT PAYNE, Ala. (WHNT) -- Outdoor enthusiasts could find themselves covering new ground in DeKalb County in the coming years with a series of trails across Lookout Mountain.

DeKalb County tourism officials are in the middle of planning out the Lookout Mountain Gateway Trail. It will be a series of trails leading from Fort Payne to downtown Mentone. Tourism officials say the project will benefit these communities and bring in visitors to the area.

"We've gotten the first grant, we're after the second one, and the first piece of it will be to get us up the mountain from Fort Payne," President & CEO of DeKalb Tourism John Dersham explains, "It will start, that will be at Wills Creek Recreation Center will be the parking lot for it. It will go up the mountain there and it will connect to trails that already exist at DeSoto State Park."

Then it will connect to Little River Canyon National Preserve and eventually end in Mentone. The trail is aimed at encouraging visitors to stay longer, increasing money spent in the area.

"Sixty miles of hiking, biking, some equestrian, people are going to stay at that for days," Dersham says, "They're also going to spread the money around the community when they go out to eat, go out for entertainment, and enjoy their evening."

It's in the planning stages now, but when the trail is done, officials say it will benefit the community and encourage even more visitors to come and stay for a while.

The goal is to have the first trail open within the next couple of years.