The Talladega Scenic Drive is a must-see day trip for you and your family, as there are numerous natural as well as historic sites to see along the way.
This beautiful drive will take you to the highest point in Alabama and gives you a terrific view of the beautiful Appalachian Mountains.
This gorgeous drive is just slightly over 26 miles in length and can easily be one of your Alabama backroads day trips.
This beautiful drive is also known as State Route 281 in Alabama, and finding it is very easy.
It starts at the intersection of US 78 and SR 281, just west of the town of Heflin.
To take the entire 26 plus mile day trip, you simply follow SR 281 through the Talladega National Forest, as well as the Cheaha Wilderness area.
It ends where the pavement ends when SR 281 meets up with Adams Gap Road and Forest Road 600.
The Talladega Scenic Drive runs along the Crest-line of the Talladega Mountains, which are the highest mountains in the State of Alabama.
It was originally an unpaved route that was also known by the name of Skyway Motorway.
It connects traffic to the Cheaha State Park, which sets on the highest point in the state at 2,407 feet.
When it was first built, it also had yet another name, as it was referred to as SR 49 and the SR 49 spur.
In the early 1900’s, this very narrow country road was extended further to the south, so it ran along the western side of the mountains.
When you take the Talladega Scenic Drive, you will get an up-close view of the beautiful Appalachian Mountains.
The air at this elevation is much crisper and cleaner, and you will find that this drive has had several new updates added.
You will find very nice and developed areas where you can picnic for the afternoon, and just enjoy the scenery.
There are two very special places that you visit on this beautiful drive, and they include the following.
The Talladega Scenic Drive will
take you through Cheaha State Park, which is a publicly owned recreation
It is roughly 2,800 acres that includes Cheaha Mountain with the highest elevation in the state and sets next to the Talladega National Forest.
It is the State of Alabama’s oldest continuous operating state park and has an interesting history.
The actual park itself opened in the year 1933, and during the next 6 years up until 1939, the Civilian Conservation Corps was very active in the park.
They helped to create important amenities including Cheaha Lake, Bunker Tower, several hiking trails, as well as Bald Rock Group Lodge.
They also helped to build a stone bathhouse, eleven stone cabins, and two pavilions.
One of the musts “see” attractions on the Talladega Scenic Drive is the Bunker Tower, which is a stone building that has an observation deck on top of it.
On this observation deck you can literally see for miles and enjoy the pure beauty and splendor of the Appalachian Mountains.
For the handicapped, there is a wheelchair ramp and walkway that will take you to the Bald Rock Trail that has yet another overlook of the area.
The park also offers several picnic areas, swimming spots, as well as fishing.
However, the most popular natural attraction in this park is the hiking trails.
There is an entire system of trails set up that is called the “Pinhoti Trail”, which literally weaves its way through the forest and then connects to the Appalachian Trail.
It you and your family are nature lovers; this trail is for you as during the right seasons you can see nature at its finest.
You can see white-tail deer, rabbits, opossum, and there are even bald eagles in the area.
There are also several natural raptors in the park that include Copper’s Hawks, Barred Owls, as well as Red-tailed Hawks.
In additional to 73 modern camping sites where you can “rough it”, there is also a 30-room hotel at the park as well as chalets and cabins.
The other major attractions of Talladega Scenic Drive are the Kymulga Mill and Covered Bridge.
Both are located at Kymulga Park, and both dates back to the Civil War.
They were both fully restored in 1974 and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
There is a slight admission fee to this park, and the proceeds are used to help upkeep the hiking trails in the area.
The Kymulga Mill is an actual working gristmill that was built in the year 1864.
During the last year of the Civil War the vast majority of all gristmills in the South were burned to the ground by the Union Troops, but this mill was missed.
The mill was purchased in 1988 by the Childersburg Heritage Committee and is still active.
When it was first built, this four-story mill was run by three water powered turbines to grind grain.
Today it is run by electricity and is open as a tourist attraction as well a serving as the park office and a gift shop.
The Kymulga Covered Bridge was built over the Talladega Creek and is a combination of both wood and metal.
It sets just east of the Mill and was built in the year 1861.
It is only one of two covered bridges built in that era that are still standing in their original locations, in the entire State of Alabama.
When it was first built it provided access to Native America trade routes, which included the McIntosh Road and the Old Georgia Road.
It was used heavily by the early settlers as well as the frontiersman to safely cross over the creek.
The bridge today leads visitors to a series of nature trails in the area.
The Talladega Scenic Drive offers you and your family several different options to enjoy the beauty of nature.
It is considered to be one of the States’ best kept secrets, and it is just waiting for you to visit.
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