Saturday, April 11, 2015

Cheaha State Park in the Talladega National Forest

East of Birmingham, AL and nestled in the Talladega National Forest is a treasure worthy of any Frugal Family Traveler's attention.    With beautiful hiking trails, waterfalls, stunning scenic overlooks, a beautiful swimming pool and stone-hewn buildings (compliments of the Civilian Conversation Corp), Cheaha State Park does not disappoint!  Those who frequently read our blog, know how much we enjoy hiking, letterboxing/geocaching and waterfalls!  This Spring Break we wanted to experience all of this!  However, we could not spare the extra days in order to travel to a place like the Smoky Mountains.  Cheaha provided everything we were looking for and much more but the best part is we spent a lot less time traveling!  We left our home on a Sunday afternoon and returned late on a Tuesday evening.  By looking at the pictures below you will be amazed at all we were able to see and do in such a short amount of time. 

We spent our first afternoon in the park at the top of Mt. Cheaha which also happens to be the highest point in Alabama at 2407 feet high.  It is easily accessed by driving the loop trail which starts at the entrance to the park. Once atop the mountain, a tall stone tower was found!  It serves as an observation area for guests of the park.  Our Frugal Family Travelers loved climbing the winding staircase of the tower!   Being that the walls of the tower are so thick and made of stones, it was like being inside a cave!  The cold temperatures made the climb all the more exciting for our Frugal Family Travelers.  Once at the top, our time was spent relaxing and enjoying the beautiful scenery!  










Next we loaded up the car and from the same loop driving trail we accessed the Doug Ghee Accessible Trail to Bald Rock which is adjacent to the group lodge facility.  This trail is an amazing gentle sloping boardwalk which mirrors the original trail built by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp).   This is great for those traveling with those seeking a wheelchair accessible trail, a trail for someone with a physical condition which prohibits hiking, and little ones in strollers! This short 1/4 mile trail ends at the edge of a mountain with stunning views of the valley below.   The boardwalk also has stairs periodically along the path which allows access to the ground below for those wanting to explore further.   Our Frugal Family Travelers loved the views and the geocache we found hidden off the main boardwalk trail! After this we had a quick dinner and turned in for the night to reserve our strength for the next day of adventure!  










Our first adventure of day 2 was an amazing hike to Pulpit Rock!  Although a short hike (approximately 1/4 mile) it has a steep descent at the beginning.  It's well worth the effort though with views very similar to the ones you will see at Bald Rock!  







After our trip to Pulpit Rock we decided to explore several hiking trails to waterfalls outside of the state park in the adjacent Talladega National Forest.  The first of which was the Chinnabee Silent trail.  This beautiful three mile trail parallels the stream most of the time and provides a beautiful view of both Devils Falls and Cheaha Falls.  This challenging  hike is three miles in and then back out again with some narrow trails passages along steep cliffs.  You will know you are close to Cheaha Falls when you see the Cheaha Falls Shelter.    It is important to note that parking areas are provided at each end of the trail to provide easier access points to each of the falls for those not wanting to hike the full trail in and back out.   Prior to your hike, be sure you stop at the Cheaha State Park store, located at the entrance of the park for directions and for a trail map!!  Pack plenty of water, snacks and sunscreen.  Consider having a picnic lunch packed and ready when your return to the parking lot.  There is a nice picnic area next to the stream and our Frugal Family Travelers certainly enjoyed this respite after our six mile journey.   Note: A vaulted restroom is also located on site. 















The final waterfalls our Frugal Family Travelers visited was a series of falls called High Falls!  This is a very short hike (1/4 mile) which provides some beautiful views and excellent access to the water.  With a stream crossing over the rocks to the first falls and a trip up two sets of ladders to see the other sections of the falls, we were amazed!  Plan time in your trip to explore and relax as you hear the sound of the water cascading over the rocks!









Note:  This state park was truly a gem of a find with tent camping, areas for RVs, cabins, and a hotel type lodge, complete with a restaurant!  

Tips:  Make sure you stop by the store at Cheaha State Park for trail maps.  Pack plenty of water when hiking, wear sunscreen and bring ponchos in case you encounter an unexpected shower.

Directions:  


Cheaha State Park 2141 Bunker Loop Delta, AL 36258



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