As America’s smallest national forest, you would not think there would be so much to do. But the 11,252-acre Tuskegee National Forest has a plethora of activities for everyone from summertime boating and swimming to wintertime hunting and horseback riding. Just west of Auburn and north of Tuskegee, Alabama, you will find mountains, hills, ridges, and diverse topography throughout. Whether you like water sports or would rather stay on dry ground, the Tuskegee National Forest has plenty of opportunities.
There are four major backpacking trails with dozens of smaller trails zigzagging through the forest to make up over 100 miles of hiking. The Bartram Trail is 8.5 miles of wild woodlands and takes you to all kinds of other trails. The Pleasant Hill Trail is almost eight miles through the Hickory Grove Cemetery, Hickory Grove Church, and along the forest connecting to the Bartram Trail. The Bold Destiny/Bedford Cash Memorial Trail is 15 miles long and provides hiking, biking, and horseback riding for everyone.
Even though the Tuskegee National Forest is small, there are several campgrounds here to choose from if you want to stay. RVers visiting Tuskegee National Forest can partake in dispersed camping, as there are 14 designated campsites throughout the forest, although most of them only offer tent camping. We've highlighted a few nearby public campgrounds below.
Just off Interstate 85 in between Auburn and Tuskegee, Alabama, the Tuskegee National Forest is easy to access whether you are driving a small car, pulling a trailer, or driving a huge RV. Whether you take Interstate 85, Highway 29, or Highway 80, you will see some awesome scenery but if you want the most rugged and scenic drive you can try State Route 49 near Cheaha State Park. You can see the Cheaha Mountain, small rural towns, and plenty of hills and meadows.
Highway 29 is curvier and hillier than 49 but you can see some spectacular groves of huge pines and oaks with prairies full of wildflowers most of the year. Coming from Tuskegee you will pass City Lake and cross Uphapee Creek before getting into the deep wooded areas. If you come from Auburn, you will meander along the outside of the forest and past several beautiful parks filled with fun things to do.
Both Leisure Time and Wind Creek Campgrounds are well groomed and have mostly paved roads, but the spots can be tight back in the campsites so be careful maneuvering if you are driving a big camper. The other campgrounds are rugged, and the gravel and dirt roads have potholes and mud depending on the season and weather.
Chewacla State Park Campground near Auburn has 36 campsites with full hookups and 10 primitive sites. Each site has its own picnic table that seats 10, a campfire ring with a grill for cooking, and a cleared space for sitting around the campfire. The parking pads range from 40 to 80 feet in length and are mostly level. It is best to make a reservation in advance to get a spot because they go fast.
The park also provides shower houses, restrooms with running water, laundry facilities, and an RV dumping site. There is also a large sandy beach and a playground for the kids next to a large picnic pavilion. The 26-acre Chewacla Lake is fed by Moore’s Mill Creek and has a boat house, docks, and plenty of room for fishing, swimming, and boating. However, no motorized boats are allowed. You can rent canoes, paddle boards, and kayaks at the main office. Fishing is good here with bass, sunfish, catfish, and crappie. Pets are welcome but must be supervised and restrained at all times.
The huge Wind Creek State Park near Alexander City is just minutes from the forest and has 586 campsites over 1,320 acres. All sites have electric and water, a picnic table, and a campfire ring with a grill for cooking. Also, 157 of these sites are on the banks of Lake Martin, and 268 have sewer hookups. There are also bath houses, flush toilets with running water, two laundry facilities, a marina, and an RV dump site. Even though there are a large number of sites, it is best to reserve your spot in advance to get the right size for your RV or trailer because they range from 30 to 100 feet in length.
In addition to all this, the park also has a marina, playground, mini golf course, snack shack, boat launches, archery range, and even a zip line. Pets are allowed but they must be kept on a leash and supervised at all times during your stay. If you have a horse, they even have an equestrian camp with 20 sites that provide electric, water, picnic tables, fire rings, and corrals. There are several trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding as well.
Besides Chewacla Lake, there are two ponds kept stocked especially for anglers who visit the Tuskegee National Forest so make sure you pack your fishing gear in the RV. The Okhussee Chutkee and Okhussee Thloko are both stocked with spotted bass, largemouth bass, catfish, and crappie. The Uphapee Creek and Choctafaula Creek are also fantastic places to catch some fish and they both flow through the forest although the Uphapee is in the southern section only. You can also find dozens of ponds around the forest to drop a line in where you can catch just about anything.
Take a pleasant walk along the four-mile Pleasant Hill Trail off Highway 186 near Bartram or the Bartram National Recreation Trail, which is 8.5 miles of forest and meadows. The half-mile Sweet Shrub Trail meanders along Moore’s Mill Creek starting and ending at the lower pavilion. The one-mile Lakeside Connector Trail takes you on a tour around the Chewacla Lake. The 3.8-mile Alabama Reunion Trail at Chewacla Lake takes you through the woods, and there is also a 1.8-mile Campfire Trail at this same park.
For an excellent mountain biking experience, head to Chewacla Lake where you can take Dell’s Trail, which is short but gnarly. Some of the features include the Loch Ness Cobra, Great Wall of Chewacla, and the Accelerator. The Creek View Trail is 1.3 miles with a ramp, boardwalk, Volkswagen Rock, creek vistas and rock walls. It snakes up the bluff and has you whipping around the curves and then dropping into the creek. The three-mile CCC Trail is for advanced riders only and has dips, climbs, turns, twists, downhill, uphill, and all kinds of technical activities.
Horse lovers will appreciate the accommodations at the Chewacla State Park where you can camp as well as enjoy the 20 miles of horse trails. The Orange Trail is five miles and takes you through the deep woods while the 15-mile Blue Trail takes you through the woods and along the banks of Chewacla Lake for about five miles. You can also enjoy the 15-mile Bold Destiny/Bedford Cash Memorial Trail in the northern half of the Tuskegee National Forest. There are several stream crossings, sand hills, and pines from 50 to 90 years old.
Do you need some target practice? Or maybe you just need to sight in your guns. If so, go ahead and pack them in the campervan and head to the Tuskegee National Forest. The Uchee Shooting Range is open all year from dawn until dusk and as long as you have a pass, you can shoot all day. Passes can be purchased online or at various stations near the range. The target distances are 25, 50, and 100 yards but you have to bring your own standing targets.
Once you get your gun sighted and your aim perfected, put on your hunter orange vest or hat and make sure you have your hunting license and tags. You have to be at least 50 yards from any public road, highway, or railroad as well as any public camping or recreation area. There are 14 hunting camps spread around the forest. Nine of them are between the Uphapee Creek and Choctafaula Creek in the southern half of the forest, and the others are along the Bold Destiny Trail.