Talladega National Forest | Outdoorsy

Talladega National Forest
Guide

Introduction

Come and escape from a hectic lifestyle to the peaceful environment of Talladega National Forest. With over 392,000 acres to enjoy, you'll find this national forest at the southern edge of the Appalachian Mountains in eastern Alabama. This national forest is named after the word "talladega," which means border town and refers to the Native Americans who once called this land home. If you want to get an overview of this scenic southern landscape, take a drive in your RV along the Talladega Scenic Drive. This breathtaking tour along State Route 281 offers 29 miles of views of the Appalachian Mountains, including Alabama's highest point, Cheaha Mountain.

There are eight lakes for anglers, swimmer, and boaters to enjoy some fun in the sun. Mountain bikers will love the thrill of cycling along the 16-mile Sylaward Bike Trail. Day hiking, backpacking, and horseback riding are also possible on many miles of open trails. The Kentuck ORV Trail provides 23 miles for ATVs, motorcycles, and bikes to ride. Talladega National Forest is a popular spot for hunters and target shooting as well. You'll find the opportunities for outdoor adventure are endless, so read on to find out details about the two RV campgrounds at Talladega National Forest.

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Camping Accommodations

35'
Max RV length
35'
Max trailer Length
Electrical hookup
Water hookup
Generator use
Food storage
Sewer hookup
Dogs & cats

RV Rentals in Talladega National Forest

Transportation

Driving

Talladega National Forest is an excellent area for a scenic drive through the eastern Alabama mountains. With picturesque views, you’ll want to bring your camera to pull off from Highway 25 and snap a few photographs. Other campers recommend picking up a map before you head out for your RV camping trip as cell and GPS service can be spotty in the area. Located near Montgomery and Tuscaloosa, this national forest is also less than a two-hour drive from Auburn. Not too far from the famous Talladega NASCAR racetrack, you may find traffic a little heavier than average on race days. You’ll quickly see why the “Yellowhammer State” is such a draw for those who love the outdoors and want to connect back with nature.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Talladega National Forest

Campsites in Talladega National Forest

First-come first-served

Payne Lake Recreation Area

Payne Lake Recreation Area offers 76 campsites for RVs and tents with prime access to the lake. Each site features a picnic table and fire pit or grill. The campground offers restrooms, showers, picnic tables, drinking water, and a dump station. You will want to pack your beach towel to relax, read a book, or leisurely stretch out on while listening to the sounds of the water. Spend time by yourself, with your dog, or friends and family to fish, swim, or paddle out in the water.

Coleman Lake Recreation Area

Coleman Lake Recreation Area makes for a wonderful camping destination due to its many recreational opportunities and access to the Coleman Lake. With 39 sites offering water and electrical hookups, you’ll quickly see why this area is an RV camper’s favorite. The campground offers an ADA-accessible comfort station, as well as showers, restrooms, and potable water. Enjoy an outdoor meal on the many picnic tables provided with views of the lake. The maximum RV length is 35 feet.

Seasonal activities in Talladega National Forest

In-Season

Paddling

Get out from your RV and live the kayak life while visiting this part of Alabama as it is a great place to paddle, especially during the spring. With several waterfalls, pause for a few moment as they are breathtaking and experience the calming sound of the water. Check out the Cahaba River, which is ideal for paddling. There are also eight lakes, such as the Sweetwater Lake and Lake Virgina, which are just waiting to be explored.

Hiking

You will want to pack your favorite hiking boots in your campervan as there are several exceptional trails to travel. Among this vast wilderness at Talladega National Forest, check out the magnificent river or mountain views. The six-mile Chinnabee Silent Trail is one of the most scenic routes, offering views of cascading waterfalls and bubbling streams. If you want to embark on a backpacking adventure, you might want to try the challenging Pinhoti National Recreation Trail, which is over 100 miles long following streams, forests, and ridgetops.

Horseback Riding

Head out from your RV campsite on your horse to explore this vast forest among the Chestnut Oaks and Virginia Pines. There are eight main trails to enjoy out on a horse such as White Gap, Cheaha Road, Piedmont Horse Loop, and Sweet Water Horse Trail. Plan for an enjoyable ride around Coleman Lake if riding in the Coleman Lake Recreation Area. Many trails within the park offer well-shaded areas and are wide enough to ride side by side.

Off-Season

Hunting and Target Shooting

Talladega National Forest offers some of the best big game hunting in Alabama. Each ranger district features hunting camps, offering many amenities to hunters. The Big Oak Hunter Camp offers 1,700 acres for ADA-accessible hunting with restroom facilities. There are four shooting ranges within the forest that offer target shooting. For instance, the South Sandy Shooting Range provides 50- and 100-yard target shooting.

Wildlife Watching

There is nothing like getting out in nature to enjoy the surrounding sights of the forest. Home to endangered species like the gopher tortoise, flattened musk turtle, and the Red-cockaded woodpecker, Talladega National Forest has it all. The forest provides a magnificent backdrop for some fantastic views and photographs. You’ll find a variety of species to see as you ride horseback, climb rocks, or take a hike in the forest.

Fishing

Cast your cares away while visiting Talladega National Forest on your next RV road trip. Visit the three ranger districts and enjoy streams or lakes that are full of bream, catfish and even bass. Popular among anglers, this national forest provides boat launches, or you may decide to fish from the shore. Only non-motorized boats are allowed, so bring your kayak or canoe.