Talladega Scenic Drive
- DesignationNational Scenic Byway (1998)
- Intrinsic QualitiesScenic
- Length26 miles
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.
Story of the Byway
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 you may notice a bluish haze in the air during the summer months. 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 are 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 will 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. And while you are at the top, keep a close eye out for wildlife such as the white-tailed deer, quail, turkey, rabbit, opossum, and even the bald eagle. The ridgeline is a particularly outstanding spot to watch for migrating hawks in the fall. (Learn more about all the bird-watching opportunities in the region along the Appalachian Highlands Birding Trail.) A glimpse of one of these natural inhabitants could be one of the highlights of your trip on the Talladega Scenic Drive.
Begin at the intersection of US 78 and SR 281, just west of Heflin. Follow SR 281 through the Talladega National Forest and the Cheaha Wilderness area. End where the pavement ends when SR 281 meets Adams Gap Rd and Forest Rd 600.
Points of Interest
Cheaha State Park
Located at the top of Cheaha Mountain midway on the Talladega Scenic Drive
Shoal Creek Ranger District (U.S.F.S.)
Recreation opportunities abound near the Shoal Creek Ranger District of the Talladega National Forest, Alabama.
Skyway Loop Trail
This 6-mile trail provides wilderness-like solitude in the upland forests.
County Road 600-1 to Talladega Scenic Highway OHV Trail
Riding for everyone on wheels, whether the vehicle of choice is an ATV, a motorcycle, or a mountain bike. The easy to moderate trail has 4 loops totaling 23 miles.
Pinhoti National Recreational Trail
Southern Appalachian Mountains long-distance trail, 335 miles in length.
Lush Green Forest and Mountains Await
Begin on US 78 going west of Heflin. This byway will take you through the Talladega National Forest. There may be a cool, blueish haze as you drive through the lush forest. That’s just the green forest releasing condensation and meeting the air. Bring your camera and watch for great views of the Appalachian Mountains and the other local mountains. First up is the Shoal Creek Ranger District office near the intersection with SR281. Stop in for local information. Turn onto SR281 and take it going south. Watch for the Cheaha Mountain with the Cheaha State Park at the top. The Park offers rooms, cabins, and chalets. Be sure and check out the scenic overlook while there. Bring your hiking shoes? There are many trails for you to choose from along the byway. Skyway Loop Trail is a 6-mile trail with wilderness solitude. County Road 600 is an OHV trail for motorcycles, ATVs, or mountain bikes. The Byway officially ends at the intersection of SR281, Adams Gap Rd, and County Road 600. Nearby is the Pinhoti National Recreational Trail- a 335 miles trail through the Southern Appalachian Mountains.
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