Talladega National Forest covers some 600 square miles of the Appalachian Mountains in Alabama. It is mountainous with great swathes of pine forest covering much of the area. It is home to coyote, quail, wild turkey, raccoon, rabbit and deer. There are also two species of fox and two of squirrel. The forest is divided into two distinct areas – Oakmulgee District dominated by pine and oak with gentle slopes and stream terraces and flat plains. The Talladega and Shoal Creek districts are more mountainous and the forests here are more mixed.
History of Talladega National Forest
The area that today is the Talladega National Forest was purchased by the US government in the 1930s. Before that it was a heavily logged area and as a result had suffered erosion and deforestation. Much of the damage has been repaired by extensive planting and forest management.
What is there to do in the Forest?
Horse Back Riding.
In the Shoal Creek District the Piedmont Loop and the Sweetwater Loop allow for some great horse riding. Book your ride at the Warden Station Horse Camp. Blue horseshoes mark the Piedmont Loop and yellow ones mark the Sweetwater Loop.
There are campsites situated throughout the Forest. Some are primitive campsites with very basic facilities, while others are better provisioned. Disabled hunters have one campsite specifically for them, the Big Oak Physically Disabled Hunting Camp. Access to this site is easier than others. It has 10 pitches and there is a toilet facility.
Campsites that are reasonably easy to access also are sited at Payne Lake, Pine Glen and Coleman Lake Recreation Areas. Use these as bases for hiking and fishing expeditions.
One great recommendation for fishing in the Forest is at Terrapin Creek. There are plenty of opportunities as the creek divides into two – the South Fork and the Little Terrapin Creek. Other rivers and streams offer fishing too, with catfish, bream and bass among the fish available.
The Forest offers over 340 miles of hiking trails. There is so much to see that hiking is the most popular of all the activities in the park. Alltrails.com identifies 29 superb trails for both hiking and trail running.
There are plenty of trails suitable for mountain biking. We recommend the spectacular Sylaward Biking Trail.
Wildlife Watching and Birding
The opportunities to see a huge range of wildlife are legion. Birders will love the variety and quantity of birds to see.