Alabama State Parks Feature: A Solo Weekend at Cheaha State Park
By Candice Cravins, Girls Who Hike Alabama Ambassador
Last summer, I had the opportunity to visit beautiful Cheaha State Park – the highest point in Alabama at 2,407 feet above sea level! Located in the Talladega State Forest, the Park offers visitors access to a wide variety of hiking trails and recreational activities for all ages and skill levels. Since moving to Mobile, Alabama in 2016, I had only had the chance to hike in the “flatlands” – missing the mountains, I made the nearly four-hour trek up to Cheaha upon the recommendation of some of my native Mobilian friends. I was not disappointed!
I camped out of my car in one of the Park’s well-kept semi-primitive campsites. I arrived late on a Friday evening in June 2017, checked in at the general store, fell asleep under a blanket of stars, and set out the next morning to explore some of the trails.
I completed several of the Park trails that weekend, including the following:
• Bald Rock: The Bald Rock Trail is a 0.3-mile trail that includes both a boardwalk and dirt trails located on either side of the boardwalk. It offers breathtaking views of the Forest, and Park staff frequently offer guided tours of the trail.
• Pulpit Rock: The Pulpit Rock Trail is another 0.3-mile trail that leads you to another scenic overlook. The trail offers some challenging terrain and is a popular spot for rappelling.
• Fisherman’s Trail: The 0.6-mile Fisherman’s Trail wraps around the lovely Cheaha Lake, which is absolutely perfect for swimming, picnicking, and more! If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even tackle the steep and rugged 1.0-mile Lake Trail which connects the lake to the campground above. It really gets your heart pumping!
In addition to excellent hiking trails, the Park campground is also home to a Civilian Conservation Corps Museum, the Walt Farr Native American Relic Museum, a restaurant offering stunning panoramic views of the Talladega Forest and valley below (the restaurant patio is an excellent place to sit down and relax with your favorite book!), and the Bunker Observation Tower – climb the stairs all the way up to the top and you will be at the highest point in Alabama!
While you are there, you can take advantage of a variety of fun events, including Leave No Trace campfire talks, Discovery hikes, and nature journaling workshops! So, if you are looking for a fun, accessible, and safe outdoor adventure perfect for singles or families alike, I highly recommend a visit to Cheaha State Park