The Talladega National Forest is one of the four forests in the state, and it is one the largest.
It is located in the East Gulf Coastal Plain, and basically sets in the northeastern and west-central part of the state.
The federal government purchased the land that makes up this historic national forest in the year 1936, for two very basic reasons.
To restore the clearcut timberlands from logging, as well as replace old farmlands that could no longer produce crops.
It sets on a whopping 375,000 beautiful acres, and because of its size, it is divided up into three different ranger districts.
These districts include the Oakmulgee, Shoal Creek, as well as the Talladega districts.
The Oakmulgee district is the one located in west-central Alabama and includes areas in 6 different counties.
This includes Hale, Bibb, Tuscaloosa, Perry, Chilton, as well as Dallas counties.
The Talladega National Forest is quite diverse, starting with the Oakmulgee district, and this sets in thousands of longleaf pines, as well as native grass and low shrubs.
During the settlement period of the state in the 19th century, this area had been basically endangered by excessive timbering and replanting.
Once the replanting occurred, it attracted the pine beetle, which did a tremendous amount of damage.
It greatly reduced the rare red-cockaded woodpecker population, which nests in the pines and grassy undergrowth.
It was only through the restoration and controlled burning of the undergrowth, that these areas and nesting sites have been restored.
The Shoal Creek and Talladega districts are located in the northeastern parts of the state and sets in 5 different counites.
This includes Cherokee, Cleburne, Calhoun, Talladega, as well as Clay County, and they straddle the Alabama Valley Ridge and Piedmont Upland areas.
These areas are made up of upland hills, as well as low and picturesque mountains.
The Talladega National Forest also holds the Pinhoti National Trail System, which is very diverse.
It runs102 miles through the forest, and then there is the 29-mile Talladega Scenic Drive, which accesses the state’s highest point.
It accesses Cheaha Mountain, which sets at 2,407 feet, and lies with the Cheaha State Park in the northern Shoal Creek district.
The Shoal Creek district also includes other federally recognized wilderness areas, and both are breathtaking.
There is the 7,200-acre Cheaha Wilderness area, designated in 1983, as well as the Dugger Mountain Wilderness.
Dugger Mountain Wilderness, named after the 2,100-foot Dugger mountain. Was established in 1999 and is the second highest point in the state.
The land there includes numerous ridgelines, deep ravines, as well as rock outcroppings, making it prime primitive area.
There have also been recent discoveries there of prehistoric rock shelters, as well as numerous early Native America artifacts.
There are numerous things for you and your family to do at the Talladega National Forest, and here are the first two.
The fishing at this national forest starts with Sweetwater Lake, which is a 58-acre lake located along the Pinhoti Trail.
It is between Coleman Lake and the Pine Glen Recreation area, and there is a boat ramp and parking for eights vehicles.
Morgan Lake is next, and it covers 14 acres and is nested in a narrow southern valley and has parking for 15 vehicles and trailers.
It is stocked with bass, bream, as well as catfish, making it very attractive.
Payne Lake Recreation Area
The Payne Lake Recreation Area is next, and this lake is very scenic, solitude, as well as picturesque.
It also has a swimming beach for you and your family, as well as bathhouses with restrooms and showers.
This 110-acre lake also has 26 developed sites for camping, with picnic tables, as well as cooking or fire circles.
Lake Virginia is the final major lake, and it is an 89-acre beauty nested in the narrow southern Appalachian Valley in the Talladega Ranger district.
It sets about 5 miles east of Sylacauga, and it also offers bass, bream, as well as catfish for the avid anglers in your family.
Pinhoti National Recreation Trail
First on this list is the Pinhoti National Recreation Trail, which has more than 145 miles of trails ranked from moderate to difficult.
It winds through the forest, and traverses both the Cheaha Wilderness area as well as the Dugger Mountain Wilderness area.
It will take you and your family though both mountains as well as valleys, and you will pass rugged hardwood forests, ridgetops, as well as shady hallows and mountain streams.
The Chinnabee Silent Trail
The Chinnabee Silent Trail is a moderate 6-mile trail, that was built in 1977 by the Boy Scout Troop from the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind in Talladega.
It starts at Lake Chinnabee, and gently winds bedside Cheaha Creek at Caney Head, that sets atop of the Talladega Mountain.
It has spectacular views for you and your family, and includes flowing streams, rock outcroppings, as well as waterfalls.
There are also more things to do at the Talladega National Forest, and they include these.
This list starts with the Warden Station Horse Camp, and this camp offers 30 miles of trails through the forest.
The attractions you can visit include there include the Chocolocco Wildlife Management Area, which has four loop trails for hiking and picnicking.
There are 45 primitive campsites for small RV’s and tents, and it is near the Coleman Lake Recreation area.
The Scenic Drives include the Talladega Scenic Drive, and it is 29 miles of exploring the forest by car.
It winds along the very backbone of the Appalachian Mountains, and the views are breathtaking.
The drive starts at US 78 and SR 281, west of Heflin, and then you just follow it though the forest on SR 281.
If you and your family have never visited the Talladega National Forest, you will fall in love with its beauty.
National Forests of Alabama | Encyclopedia of Alabama
National Forests in Alabama - Talladega National Forest (usda.gov)
The National Forests of Alabama
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