Cheaha State Park
The view from Pulpit Rock on Cheaha Mountain
On Cheaha Lake
Cheaha State Park is a 2,799-acre property in the southern reaches of the Appalachian Mountains that includes the summit of Cheaha Mountain (2,407'), the highest point in Alabama. As Alabama's original state park, many of the buildings on the property were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps between 1933 and 1939. The CCC also built Cheaha Lake. In 1973 a new hotel, restaurant and five chalets were added to the property inventory. All facilities were restored and renovated in 1997.
Cheaha State Park is completely surrounded by Talladega National Forest with Cheaha Wilderness directly against the southeastern boundary of the park. There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails in the area, including the Pinhoti National Recreation Trail: a long distance trail through the Appalachian Mountains that eventually hooks up with the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in northwestern Georgia. Nearby are the waterfalls known as Devil's Den, Cheaha Falls and High Falls. Something to be aware of: certain recreation areas in Talladega National Forest charge day use fees that are separate from the fees charged at Cheaha State Park. Cheaha State Park also offers the Mount Cheaha Express Bike Trail, home of an annual Mountain Bike Championship Race.
The Cheaha Chalets are available to rent on a per-night and per-weekend basis for prices ranging from $91 per night to $140 per night (not including taxes), depending on the day of the week and the time of the year (October to December being the most expensive - and all fees quoted are always subject to change).
Cheaha State Park offers 73 campsites with water, electric and sewer hookups, picnic tables, cooking grills and restrooms with showers. 43 full-hookup sites are located atop Cheaha Mountain, the other 30 full hook-up sites are located near Cheaha Lake. There are also 11 semi-primitive campsites available (cooking grills, picnic tables, tent pads, community water and nearby restrooms) along the road to the observation tower atop Cheaha Mountain.
While the Bald Rock Group Lodge (built by the CCC) is used for weddings and conferences, the newer Cheaha Lodge offers 30 hotel rooms and a swimming pool. Free wifi Internet access is available throughout the Cheaha Lodge and at the Cheaha Country Store. Rooms at the Cheaha Lodge vary from $49 per night to $102 per night (depending on the day of the week, 1 or 2 people, double, king or king-deluxe bed and season of the year, October to December being most expensive - add 10% lodging tax). Rental of the Bald Rock Group Lodge varies from $850 per night to $2,000 per night (mostly depending on the season - October to December being peak season - and price quoted does not include any taxes). The meeting room for Monday through Thursday, 11 am to 4 pm only runs $500 (plus tax). Catering is available from the Cheaha Restaurant.
Bunker Tower, on the summit of Cheaha Mountain
Upper left photo courtesy of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Lower photo courtesy of Ryan Cragun