Alabama Travel Articles
Telladega National Forest - Alabama
The Talladega National Forest is divided into three Ranger Districts: Oakmulgee District lies in the central part of the state, east of Tuscaloosa in Hale, Tuscaloosa, Bibb, Perry, Chilton and Dallas Counties. The Shoal Creek and Talladega Districts are located in the northeastern part of the state in Cherokee, Calhoun, Cleburne, Talladega and Clay Counties. The Talladega and Shoal Creek Divisions of Talladega National Forest topography is comprised of upland hills and low mountains with predominantly moderately steep slopes. Oakmulgee Division of Talladega National Forest consists of level to moderately sloping, broad ridges with stream terraces and broad floodplains.Recreation at Oakmulgee Ranger Activities offered at Oakmulgee Ranger District - Talladega National Forest: You may want to take a dip in some cool water or just enjoy sunbathing on the beach, you'll find Payne Lake the place to be. Swimming, fishing, picnicking, and hiking are just some of the recreational opportunities available to you. Payne Lake Recreation Area: Offers outdoor enthusiasts solitude, a scenic lake, and picturesque campsites. Payne Lake Recreation Area has two swimming beaches and bathhouses for users of the recreation area. Each bathhouse has restrooms and showers. Camping is permitted at 76 developed sites along the shoreline of the 110-acre Payne Lake. Each site has a picnic table, cooking or fire circle, and tent or trailer pad. Payne Lake Recreation Area is open year round and offers boating, nature trails, fishing, picnicking and swimming opportunities for Forest users. A trailer dump station is located in the campground. Hunter Camps If you're looking for a true camping experience, then you're looking for primitive camping. There are 8 campsites available for year-round primitive camping. Campers are urged to be careful with campfires and always adhere to Smokey's message to make sure fires are dead out. Hiking See the Forest from a different angle as you walk the one and one-half mile nature trail along Payne Lake. The trail offers a view of the wetlands and a chance to see the area's waterfowl. Step back in time, as you follow the trail along a ridge for a glimpse of how the area looked prior to European settlement. See the remains of an early settler's home and some of the area's most unique ferns and plant life. Special tours of this area are available upon request from the district office. ORV / ATV Trails Licensed off-road vehicles (ORV) are permitted on all national forest roads that are open for public travel. Vehicle drivers must be licensed and conform to all State laws. Unlicensed ORV's are permitted only on designated trails. Information regarding ORV trails can be obtained from any local district office. History The National Forest commission created the Oakmulgee Purchase Unit, located south of Centreville, January 21, 1935. The area was first settled in the early 1800's. At that time, stands of timber were cleared for agricultural purposes and to build homes. What is now known as the Oakmulgee Ranger District was about 60 percent cut-over land.
Shoal Creek Ranger District Activities offered at Shoal Creek Ranger District - Talladega National Forest. Campgrounds Users have a choice of two developed campgrounds, shelters along the Pinhoti Trail, and several primitive hunter camps. Primitive camping is also allowed throughout the forest except during the gun deer season when it's restricted to the camping areas. Special permission to camp during gun deer season can be obtained from the local district office. Coleman Lake Recreation Area: The newly renovated Coleman Lake Recreation Area is peacefully nestled into the Talladega mountains. For recreationists who want to get away from the crowds, but want a few modern conveniences, Coleman Lake Recreation Area is your place to be. There are 39 campsites with water and electrical hookups, bathhouses, a sandy beach, 29 picnicking units, a 21-acre lake and access to the Pinhoti Trail. Two new comfort stations and seven camping sites are fully accessible for the physically challenged. Most sites will accommodate recreational vehicles up to 35 feet in length. A picnic shelter that seats 40 is available on a first come, first serve basis, or it can be reserved for $10. Pine Glen Recreation AreaThis popular area is adjacent to a mountain stream and offers 31 campsites, cooking grills, sanitary facilities, picnicking, fishing, hiking, and access to the Pinhoti Trail. Pine Glen Recreation Area is a favorite with hunters because it is centrally located in the Choccolocco Wildlife Management Area. Warden Station Horse CampThis camp is convenient for horseback riders and provides an opportunity for hiking and 45 campsites with sanitary facilities. Warden Station Horse Camp is open year round. Hunter Camp Enjoy the forest and the wonders of nature in primitive camping surrounding. Hunter Camp has sanitary facilities, is centrally located and is open year round. Hiking The Pinhoti Trail includes more than 100 miles of hiking trails that runs from Piedmont, its northern terminus, to a point south of Talladega. The trail winds through rugged pine and hardwood forests, runs along ridgetops, passes through shady hollows and along mountain streams. The Pinhoti Trail meanders through mountains and valleys which are rich in history and legend. It's a land where Creek and Cherokee Indians fought over the disputed boundary between their nations and a land visited by De Soto in his exploration of the New World. Side trails in the Cheaha Wilderness and Cheaha State Park are a part of the Pinhoit Trail System. They include the Nubbin Creek, Odum Scout, Cave Creek, Skyway Loop, and Chinnabee Silent Trails. Wilderness The 7,245-acre Cheaha Wilderness offers high elevations, with numerous overlooks for panoramic views of east-central Alabama. Cheaha Wilderness is named for the nearby Cheaha mountain, which rises to a height of 2,407 feet and is the highest point and a prominent landmark in Alabama. Elevations within the Cheaha Wilderness range from 1,100 feet, along the bottom of the eastern slopes, to Odum Point with an elevation of 2,342 feet. Over 1,000 acres are above 2,000 feet in elevation affording hikers the challenge and solitude that is a vital part of the true wilderness experience. Plant life in the wilderness is diverse and corresponds to the local soil types and moisture conditions. Chestnut oak and Virginia pine, with scattered longleaf pine, are found on the main ridge line and side slopes of the higher elevations. Longleaf and loblolly pines grow on the lower elevation ridges, while the drainages and northern settings are homes for oaks and hickories. The rock bluffs, outcrops and cliff lines have Virginia pines, many of which are dwarfed. The small trees evolved over eons of weathering from the wind, rain, snow and sleet. Some places look like the bonsai garden of a giant. In the spring, flowering mountain laurel make their showy appearances from the drainages and north slopes. The remaining areas have very little understory, except for scattered patches of huckleberry on the southern exposures and scrubby hardwoods along drainages in high elevations. The beautiful sights offered by the plant life are at their height in the spring and again in the autumn. Majestic pines and the delicate yellow-green of new leaves provide the backdrop for spring blossoms of dogwood, redbud and flowering shrubs. Nature has her fling when red, gold, crimson, brown and yellow blend in a carpet of color as the hardwoods don their fall dress. ORV / ATV Trails Licensed off-road vehicles (ORV) are permitted on all national forest roads that are open for public travel. Vehicle drivers must be licensed and conform to all State laws. Unlicensed ORV's are permitted only on designated trails. Information regarding ORV trails can be obtained from any local district office. History
On July 17, 1936, President Roosevelt, by proclamation, created the Talladega National Forest out of the Talladega and Oakmulgee Purchase Units. The Talladega National Forest, at one time, consisted of four ranger districts: Oakmulgee or the Cahaba Working Circle, Tuscaloosa or the Pondville Working Circle, Shoal Creek and Talladega. The Talladega Unit was divided into two districts October 1, 1945, with the northern district, Shoal Creek Ranger District, headquartered in Heflin. Thirty percent of the Shoal Creek/Talladega land was cut-over, cultivated and vacated farmland.
Talladega Ranger District– Campgrounds Trailers and motor homes are permitted in all developed recreation areas. Generally, most of the recreation areas in the forest will accommodate trailers up to 22 feet long. Primitive camping is allowed in the national forest unless posted otherwise. Permits are not needed for primitive camping, except during gun deer hunting season. Campers are responsible for your fire and any wildfire that results from a spreading campfire. Remember to leave your campfire "dead out". Lake Chinnabee Recreation Area Due to recent storm damage, this site is closed until further notice. Call the district office for more information at 256-362-2909. Not far from Cheaha State park is Lake Chinnabee Recreation Area. This 17-acre lake and small campground are tucked into a pastoral valley of peacefulness. Lake Chinnabee Recreation Area has 8 campsites and offers camping, hiking, picnicking, fishing and the Chinnabee Silent Trail connects the campground to Cheaha Wilderness. Turnipseed Camp Enjoy nature at its best especially during the fall when mother nature dazzles you with an array of vibrant colors. This primitive camp is located near the Cheaha Wilderness Area and offers camping and hiking. Turnipseed Camp is open year round and has sanitary facilities. Hunter Camps If you're a natural for the outdoors, this is the place to be. Enjoy the forest and the home of many wild game species. Hunter Camps are open year round for users. – Hiking This 6-mile trail, in the Talladega National Forest-Talladega Division, goes by waterfalls near Lake Chinnabee Recreation Area, and near the Talladega Scenic Drive. Lake Shore Trail A two-mile nature trail around Lake Chinnabee in the Talladega National Forest-Talladega Division. Cave Creek Trail A four-mile trail in the Cheaha Wilderness Area located in the Talladega National Forest-Talladega Division. Nubbin Creek Trail This four-mile trail traverses the eastern slopes of Talladega Mountain in the Cheaha Wilderness Area. Odum Trail This trail is about 4.7 miles long in the Cheaha Wilderness and located in the Talladega National Forest-Talladega Division. Skyway Loop Trail This 6-mile trail provides wilderness-like solitude in the upland forests of eastern Alabama. Skyway Loop Trail is located in the Talladega National Forest - Talladega Division. – ORV / ATV Trails Kentuck ORV Trail This trail is designed for motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATV), and mountain bikes. Kentuck ORV Trail is located in the Talladega National Forest- Talladega Division NOTE: Kentuck ORV Trail is closed due to wet weather and to do repairs/maintenance. It is scheduled to reopen June 30. Call 256-362-2909. You may consider Flint Creek Multiple Use Trail in the Bankhead National Forest. Call 205-489-5111 for more information. History On July 17, 1936, President Roosevelt, by proclamation, created the Talladega National Forest out of the Talladega and Oakmulgee Purchase Units. The Talladega National Forest, at one time, consisted of four ranger districts: Oakmulgee or the Cahaba Working Circle, Tuscaloosa or the Pondville Working Circle, Shoal Creek and Talladega. The Talladega Unit was divided into two districts October 1, 1945, with the northern district, Shoal Creek Ranger District, headquartered in Heflin. Thirty percent of the Shoal Creek/Talladega land was cut-over, cultivated and vacated farmland. USDA Forest Service
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