Alabama's Highest Point Comes at Cheaha State Park

Before there was a United States of America, the area now called Cheaha State Park was known to Native Americans as "the high place." To this day, the natives' description of the environment still stands. The "island in the sky" is the highest point in Alabama stretching more than 2,400 feet above sea level. This destination boasts outdoor activities aplenty, rich American history, lodging accommodations, and a bucket list highpoint for young people and veteran travelers alike.

Cheaha State Park caters to any type of visitor. The site of this state park sees a variety of individuals ranging from full families, to groups of friends, couples, and solo travelers. The park's accommodations are also handicap and wheelchair accessible. People visit searching for trails to hike and mountain bike, scenic overlooks to summit, waterfalls to watch, lakes to fish, and more.

Cheaha Hiking Trails

The state park on Cheaha Mountain has some highly sought-after trails for hiking and mountain biking. First and foremost, hikers often take the Bald Rock trail in search of the (you guessed it) beautiful Bald Rock Outlook and Bald Rock Boardwalk. The park is also home to the Cheaha Trailhead, which is part of the larger, 335-mile Pinhoti Trail that snakes its way across the AL border and into Georgia.

There's also the Pulpit Rock Trail where visitors with permits are often seen rappelling and rock climbing—not to mention enjoying one of the best sunset views in all of Alabama.

In order to get to the park's high point at the Bunker Observation Tower, visitors can hike the Leave No Trace (LNT) Bigfoot Trail. This trail is also unique due to the "LNT" conservation education signs scattered along the way to the highest point in Alabama.

Fishermen and swimmers that visit Cheaha Mountain have their own lake trail which wraps around Cheaha Lake. The park's visitors are welcome to bring their fishing equipment, search the area for their own fishing hole, and cast away.

There are also trails that bring visitors by Cheaha Mountain's waterfalls. The CCC Reservoir is a manmade quartzite dam built specifically for the state park. What's more, the Laurel Trail takes hikers to Laurel Falls where cascading water flows off the vista cliffside overlook.

Cheaha is also known for hosting the Annual Mountain Bike Championship Race, which follows a 10-mile course via the Cheaha Express Bike Trail. Having said that, many of the trails are multi-use—accessible by bike or on two feet. Other trails exist specifically for mountain biking like Deer Run or Cheaha Run biking trails.

Getting to Cheaha State Park

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Cheaha is located in the town of Delta and sits on the southernmost tip of the Appalachian Mountain chain. The park is also surrounded by 392,567 acres of the Talladega National Forest. Cheaha State Park is only 30 minutes away from several historic downtown areas like Oxford, Heflin, Anniston, Talladega, Lineville, Munford, and Ashland. What's more, it's just over an hour from Birmingham.

Visitors in the area can get to the park by way of the Talladega Scenic Drive (Alabama Highway 281). This highway is well-maintained and wide which makes it easily navigated by large recreational vehicles. Otherwise, travelers in smaller cars can take the scenic Cheaha Road (County Road 42) through Talladega National Forest from Munford, AL.

When to Visit

Cheaha State Park is open year-round. However, Spring through Fall visits are recommended in order to take full advantage of everything the park has to offer. For example, Bald Rock Lodge features a swimming pool for overnight guests open exclusively in the Summertime. Otherwise, guests looking to take a dip must visit Cheaha Lake outside the months of December, January, and February.

Park goers can purchase annual passes or daily passes when entering the park. Staying overnight is made easy with a variety of options. First and foremost, camping is simple for guests as the park offers campers tent sites, full-hookup RV sites, picnic areas, picnic tables, and bathhouses are available. Otherwise, overnight guests have the option to book cabins, chalets, or rooms in the Bald Rock Group Lodge where visitors can host retreats, weddings, family reunions, meetings, and more.

A Rich History

Cheaha State Park was established in 1933 and is the oldest park in the state of Alabama. Prior to the state's ownership of the area, "Creek" Indians gave the area its' famous name "Chaha" or "high place" in their native Muskogee language.

Today, the park is perfectly maintained for guests and features a wealth of wildlife and a scenic environment for nature lovers to enjoy. Booking and questions can be directed to the Alabama State Parks service website.

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