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Talladega National Forest

     The Talladega National Forest covers approximately 377,000 acres. The Forest is comprised of 3 Ranger Districts; Talledega, Shoal, and Oakmulgee. The Talladega & Shoal Creek Districts cover approximately 220,000 acres in Talladega, Cleburne, Calhoun and Clay Counties. The Oakmulgee Ranger District is comprised of l56,804-acres located in west Alabama in Bibb, Chilton, Perry, Hale, Dallas and Tuscaloosa Counties.

Camping & Picnicing
     The developed campgrounds and picnic areas on the districts are listed below. No reservations are accepted; all areas are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Campsites will accommodate either tents or trailers. Drinking water is available in all developed areas. There is a small daily fee at the areas.

Coleman Lake Recreation Area:
     (Shoal Creek District) 39 campsites; 29 picnic sites; group picnic shelter; flush toilets; showers; swimming. Take U.S. 78 northeast from Heflin for 6 miles; turn left on Forest Service Road 553 for 8.5 miles; then right on Forest Service Road 500 for 1.5 miles to the lake.

Lake Chinnabee Recreation Area:
     (Talladega District) 14 campsites; 8 picnic sites; picnic shelter; flush toilets. Take Alabama 21 northeast from Talladega for 7 miles; turn right on County Road 96 for 12 miles; take entrance road 2 miles to lake.

Pine Glen Recreation Area:
     (Shoal Creek District) 35 campsites; trailer space; drinking water; pit toilets; fishing and hiking. Take U.S. 78 west from Heflin for 2.5 miles; then turn right for 8 miles on Forest Service Road 500.

Payne Lake Recreation Area:
     (Oakmulgee District) Tent or trailer camping; picnicking; swimming; fishing; boating; drinking water; sanitary facilities; hiking trail; trailer dump station. Take U.S. 82 west from Centreville for 2 miles; then south on Alabama 5 for 6 miles; then west on Alabama 25 for 15 miles.

     Primitive camping is allowed in the general forest area of the Talladega National Forest except during gun-deer hunting season, when camping is confined to the developed camping areas or hunter camps scattered about the forest. (Hikers may be permitted to primitive camp during hunting season with written permission from the District Ranger.)

Hunting And Fishing
     The Talladega National Forest includes the Hollins Wildlife Management Area, on the Talladega Ranger District, and the Choccolocco Wildlife Mangement Area, on the Shoal Creek Ranger District. Fish and wildlife resources are managed cooperatively by the Forest Service and the Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, Game & Fish Division. The district has numerous areas that provide excellent fishing. Deer and turkey are popular game species. Motorized vehicles are prohibited in wildlife openings. Some roads are closed to vehicles, continuously or seasonally, to benefit wildlife.

     Hunting and fishing regulations, including licenses and seasons, are set and primarily enforced by the state. For information call the Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, Game & Fish Division (205) 261-3469.

Shooting Ranges
     Henry Creek Shooting Range: located on the Shoal Creek Ranger District, this range allows visitors to test their skills with pistols or rifles. Approximately 0.1 miles north of Heflin on Highway 78, turn left onto the Edwardville Road, continue 2 1/4 miles to Forest Service Road 548, take a left approximately 1 1/4 miles.

Shepherd Branch Shooting Range:
     Located on the Talladega Ranger District approximately 8 miles southeast of Talladega off Highway 77, this range offers visitors several shooting booths with accommodations for pistols and rifles. Users should bring paper or cardboard targets only.

Oakmulgee Shooting Range:
     This shooting range has several shooting stations to accommodate pistols and rifles. Firearm users can practice their skills at distances up to 100 yards.

Wilderness

The Talladega District contains the 7,400-acre Cheaha Wilderness.

National Scenic Byway
     The Talladega Scenic Byway winds 23 miles along the backbone of the southern Appalachian Mountains and offers spectacular views of the Talladega National Forest. The Scenic Byway, which runs from near Heflin along Alabama Highway 281, climbs to an elevation of 2,407 feet at Cheaha Mountain, the highest point in Alabama, and ends at the Turnipseed Hunter Camp.

Off-Road Vehicles
     Operating an off-road vehicle without a valid motor vehicle tag on national forests is permitted only on designated trails.

Kentucky Mountain ORV Area:
     Located on the Talladega Ranger District, this system currently has 14 miles of open trail. Future plans are to construct an additional 15 miles of trail as funds and volunteer efforts are available.

Ranger District Stations:

Forest Supervisor
2946 Chestnut St
Montgomery, AL 36107-
(334) 832-4470

Talladega Ranger District
Highway 21 North
1001 North Street
Talladega, AL 35160
(205) 362-2909

Shoal Creek Ranger District
2309 Alabama Highway 46
Heflin, AL 36264
(205) 463-2272

Cheaha State Park
     Cheaha State Park is located near Anniston, Alabama, off I-20 between Birmingham and Atlanta. Cheaha State Park has the highest point in Alabama, Cheaha Mountain at 2,407'. The Park has motel rooms, cabins, chalets, a group lodge, a restaurant, and camping facilities. The Park is also located in the center of the Talladega National Forest which consists of Alabama's longest trail, the Pinhoti Trail. The Pinhoti Trail stretches over 80 miles north of Sylacauga to near Piedmont and is presently being extended to near the Georgia state line. Several connecting trails near Cheaha make that area a great place to hike or backpack. It has also been proposed that the Pinhoti will eventually connect with the Appalachian Trail. Cheaha also has mountain bike trails, although I ride often, I rarely bike on vacation, I would rather pack!

     Cheaha's wilderness area is very beautiful, unless you drive a RV, I would recommend camping there. The improved sites are very domesticated, and do not offer the "experience" the wilderness area has to offer. The restaurant has a very nice setting and view, although when I ate there, the service was rushed, the food was cafe' style for restaurant price.

     Cheaha has many beautiful trails within the park, which range from leisure garden trails, to scenic overlooks that are amazing. Pulpit Rock Trail is my favorite because the panoramic view over the Talladega National Forest, the trail leads to a huge rock which seems to be falling off the mountain. Bald Rock Trail is equally as beautiful, I enjoyed seeing where the creeks have carved the entire area into a puzzle.
For directions to Cheaha State Park click here!

Hiking   (Trail Information)
     The Pinhoti National Recreation Trail System runs through the districts from Chandler Springs to Dugger Mountain. There is one shelter between Adams Gap and Cheaha State Park, one between Cheaha State Park and Pine Glen and one between Pine Glen and Coleman Lake.
Several additional trail sections, that are part of the Pinhoti National Recreation Trail System, also provide outstanding hiking opportunities.
Pictures are complement of The Alabama Trails Association
Talledega links:

Alabama Highpoint Information
Cheaha Mountains Home Page
Cheaha State Park (V-Ten online)