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USA Parks
Central-west Region
Talladega National Forest
Talladega National Forest © Ben Prepelka
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9901 Alabama 5
Brent, Alabama   35034
(lat:33.2428 lon:-86.1357) map location

Phone: (205) 926-9765
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.

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 and the Talladega Ranger District . Thirty percent of the Shoal Creek/Talladega land was cut-over, cultivated and vacated farmland.
1. Cheaha State Park: This park is located within the Talladega National Forest and offers a variety of camping options including primitive campsites, semi-primitive sites with water access, full-hookup RV sites, as well as cabins and chalets for rent.

2. Pine Glen Recreation Area Campground: A peaceful campground offering 31 tent/trailer camp spots in a beautiful forest setting.

3. Turnipseed Campground: It's perfect for those looking to immerse themselves in nature; this rustic site provides basic amenities such as picnic tables and grills but no electricity or running water.

4. Payne Lake Recreation Area: Offers two different campgrounds (East & West) on opposite sides of the lake which have both modern facilities like flush toilets/showers along with more traditional camping experiences available too.

5. Coleman Lake Recreational Area: Located near Heflin Alabama it has several loops that offer plenty of space between each site providing privacy while still being close enough to enjoy all the activities offered at Coleman Lake.

6. Highrock Trailhead Horse Camping Site: For horseback riders who want an overnight stay before hitting trails next day morning.

7. Sweetwater lake: Primitive lakeside campsites are scattered around Sweetwater lake , ideal place if you love fishing.

8. Oakmulgee Ranger District: Provides dispersed backcountry camping opportunities throughout its area.
Talladega National Forest offers a variety of swimming options for visitors. Cheaha Lake, located within the forest boundaries, is an ideal spot for swimmers with its sandy beach and clear waters. The lake also has picnic areas nearby making it perfect for family outings.

Another option is Sweetwater Lake which provides not only opportunities to swim but also fish or paddleboard on calm days.

For those who prefer river environments over lakes, Terrapin Creek runs through Talladega National Forest as well offering more secluded spots suitable for swimming along its banks.

It's important to note that while these bodies of water are accessible year-round; however there are no lifeguards present so all activities should be undertaken at your own risk.

In addition to natural bodies of water, Payne Lake Recreation Area features a man-made lake where you can enjoy recreational swimming during warmer months from sunrise until sunset daily.
The forest offers several boating options for visitors. The Cheaha Lake, located in the park's wilderness area, allows non-motorized boats such as canoes and kayaks. For motorized boat enthusiasts, nearby lakes like Lake Howard and Sweetwater Lake are perfect choices. These larger bodies of water allow fishing boats or speedboats with certain horsepower restrictions to ensure safety while preserving tranquility.
In the heart of Alabama, a vast expanse of wilderness offers abundant fishing opportunities. The forested area is home to several bodies of water including streams and lakes that are teeming with various species for anglers to catch. These include Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Spotted Bass, Bluegill and Catfish in the larger waters such as Sweetwater Lake.

For those who prefer stream or river fishing can find Rainbow Trout in Terrapin Creek while Cheaha Creek houses Redeye bass along its course. For fly-fishing enthusiasts seeking out native Brook trout should head towards Shoal creek.

Whether you're an experienced angler looking for your next big catch or simply want to enjoy a peaceful day by the water's edge surrounded by nature's beauty - this place has something special waiting just for you.

Talladega National Forest is located near Sylacauga, Talladega
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Talladega National Forest in Alabama offers a variety of picnicking options for visitors. There are numerous picnic areas scattered throughout the forest, many with tables and grills available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Some popular spots include Payne Lake Recreation Area which has beautiful lake views or Turnipseed Campground that is nestled among hardwood trees providing ample shade. The Cheaha State Park within the national forest also provides excellent picnicking facilities along with stunning panoramic views from atop Cheaha Mountain, Alabama's highest point.

1. Pinhoti Trail: This is the longest trail in Alabama, stretching over 335 miles with about 120 of those within Talladega National Forest. The path offers a challenging hike through hardwood forests and across mountain ridges offering panoramic views.

2. Cheaha Wilderness Loop Trail: A moderate to difficult looped hiking route that spans approximately six miles around Mount Cheaha, the highest point in Alabama at just above 2400 feet elevation level.

3. Skyway Loop Trail: Approximately seven-mile-long moderately trafficked loop located near Lineville featuring beautiful wildflowers and scenic vistas from McDill Point overlooking Terrapin Creek Valley and Shoal Creek Valley.

4. Chinnabee Silent Trails: Located on Lake Chinnabee Recreation Area this trail stretches for nearly six-miles providing hikers access to several waterfalls including Devil's Den Falls, Caney Head Mountain peak as well as other natural attractions along its course.

5. Cave Creek/Pinhoti Connector Hiking Path: An easy:to-navigate three-mile connector between Cave creek trails system & Pinhoti national recreation trails which provides an opportunity for extended hikes or backpacking trips.

6. Lake Shore Walking Paths: These are relatively flat paths surrounding Sweetwater lake ideal for leisurely walks while enjoying serene lakeside scenery.

7. Nubbin Creek Trails: Stretching up to nine miles these rugged terrains provide stunning views of rock formations covered by lush greenery during spring season also it leads towards Odum Scout campsite where overnight camping can be done under starlit skies.

8. High Rock Horse Riding/Hiking Route: Spanning almost five mile long this multi:use track winds through dense forest leading upto High Rocks vista giving breathtaking view of mountainscape below.

9. Turnipseed Campground Nature Walks: Short yet rewarding nature walk routes starting from Turnipseed campground area showcasing diverse flora:fauna species inhabiting region.

10. Piedmont Plateau Birding Trail: A unique trail designed specifically for bird watching enthusiasts, it covers several habitats within the forest where various species of birds can be spotted throughout year..

11. Skyway Motorway Scenic Byways: Although not a traditional hiking path this 29:mile long scenic drive offers numerous pull-offs and picnic spots from which short hikes to nearby attractions like Bald Rock or Pulpit rock overlooks could be undertaken.

12. Hernando De Soto Scout Reservation Trails: These are private trails accessible only by scouts but they offer an array of outdoor activities including fishing, camping along with challenging hike routes through hilly terrains.

13. Payne Lake Recreation Area Walking Paths: Easy walking paths around Payne lake offering opportunities for wildlife viewing especially during early morning hours when animals come out in search of food near water bodies.
In Alabama, birding enthusiasts can explore two major areas: the Oakmulgee District and Cheaha Wilderness. The former is known for its diverse avian population including Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Bachman's Sparrow and Brown-headed Nuthatch. It also offers a 3-mile long nature trail perfect for observing these species.

The latter area - Cheaha Wilderness - provides opportunities to spot woodland birds like Scarlet Tanager, Ovenbird or Black-throated Green Warbler along with raptors such as Broad-winged Hawk during migration season. For those interested in nocturnal birdwatching activities, Eastern Whip-poor-will and Chuck's-will widow are common sights here after dusk.

Both locations offer excellent hiking trails that allow visitors to immerse themselves into the habitat of these fascinating creatures while enjoying stunning natural landscapes at any time of year.

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Area Campgrounds
De Soto Caverns Park
5181 Desoto Caverns Pkwy
Childersburg , AL
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The Talladega National Forest is located in the state of Alabama, USA. To reach this beautiful forest, follow these directions:

1. From Birmingham: Start by getting on I-20 E/I-59 S from 22nd St N and Richard Arrington Jr Blvd N/21st St N.
2. Continue on I:20 E to Lincoln for approximately 30 miles.
3. Take exit 168 toward US Hwy 78/Talladega/Lincoln/Munford onto AL:77 S (signs for Munford).
4. Merge onto AL:77 S and continue straight for about 18 miles until you reach Talladega.


1. From Montgomery: Begin your journey by taking I -85 North towards Auburn/Atlanta.
2. Continue driving northbound till Exit #51 which leads to Anniston/Oxford via Al State Route:229.
3. Take a right turn at the end of ramp leading into SR:229 South.
4. Drive along SR:229 southwards through Talledega County passing Oxford Lake Park & Cheaha Mountain Range before reaching The national park.

Once you have reached Talladega city limits or nearby areas, look out for signs directing you towards specific entrances or points within the national forest that interest you most such as Coleman Lake Recreation Area or Oakmulgee Ranger District Office.

Remember to check weather conditions beforehand and plan accordingly with necessary supplies like water bottles, snacks, insect repellent etc., especially if planning outdoor activities like hiking or camping within the forest area.

Enjoy exploring nature's wonders in the scenic beauty of Talladega National Forest!
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Alabama State Parks