Catch a bird's-eye view of Alabama when you drive the Talladega Scenic Drive. At its highest point, you will find yourself on Cheaha Mountain, 2,407 feet above sea level, the highest point in Alabama. You will be awestruck by the view of the Appalachian Mountains, rock outcroppings, and small rural settlements nestled among the trees. Here, the air is crisp and clean, although during the summer months you may notice a bluish haze in the air. No need to worry; the haze is simply caused by the lush green trees releasing condensation into the warm air.
In addition to simply enjoying the scenic beauty of the Talladega National Forest, be sure to take advantage of its abundant recreational opportunities. You will find many developed areas where you can camp, picnic, fish, and hike. If you're up to an all-day adventure, spend some time in the Cheaha Wilderness or on the Pinhoti National Recreation Trail. The wilderness areas are open to hunting, fishing, and primitive camping. Peace and quiet abound here, as motorized vehicles and bicycles are prohibited.
No trip is complete without a fine meal and a souvenir, so be sure to visit the restaurants and shops at the top of Cheaha Mountain in Cheaha State Park. While you're at the top, keep a close eye out for wildlife such as white-tailed deer, quail, turkeys, rabbits, opossum, and even bald eagles. A glimpse of one of these natural inhabitants could be one of the highlights of your trip on the Talladega Scenic Drive.
Recreational Qualities of Talladega Scenic Drive
The Talladega Scenic Drive provides one of the primary recreational driving routes in Alabama, as well as the access route to Cheaha State Park. Running through the heart of Cheaha State Park, which is located on the highest mountain in the state of Alabama, the byway provides numerous recreational opportunities. Amenities at Cheaha State Park include rental cabins and chalets, a lodge, a restaurant, a camp store, developed and primitive campsites, picnic facilities, trails, and a lake for fishing and swimming.
Most mileage of the Talladega Scenic Drive is located in the Talladega National Forest. The Talladega National Forest offers numerous recreational experiences, including the Pinhoti National Recreational Trail, which intersects with the scenic drive in several locations. Other National Forest recreational experiences available near the scenic drive include hunting, fishing, nature study, photography, and numerous other activities. Lake Chinabee offers camping, fishing, picnicking, hiking, and boating opportunities as well.
The Talladega Scenic Drive does not provide lanes designated for bicycle use, but it is not uncommon to find road bicyclists challenging the steep slopes found on the drive. To avoid heavy automobile traffic, most of these bicyclists use the scenic drive on weekdays.
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