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Nestled by the slopes of the Appalachian Mountains, Talladega National Forest gives you plenty of lush views of dense forests and stunning mountain landscapes. This 392,567-acre area covers small sections of eleven counties in central Alabama. It is close to Birmingham and an hour away from Montgomery. Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of things to do at Talladega National Forest since it has miles of hiking trails, fascinating wildlife, and excellent fishing spots.
However, things weren’t always great at Talladega National Forest. Before being bought by the government, this part of Alabama was at the center of the logging industry. The government tried to save Talladega National Forest by purchasing the land in the 1930s and starting the process of forestation. Campers who wish to explore this place and spend a couple of days in Alabama’s wilderness book an RV in Jefferson County and take a scenic drive to Talladega National Forest.
The pristine nature of Talladega National Forest is perfect for day hiking. The forest hides incredible locations such as lakes and waterfalls that are accessible via trails. However, the biggest draw for hikers from all around the state is the Pinhoti Trail. The trail is more than 300 miles long, presenting a challenge to all adventure seekers. It is also connected to the well-known Appalachian Trail. The changing terrain offers hiking opportunities to all outdoor enthusiasts. Even though some sections are steep, beginners could still find a portion of the trail that is easy to conquer. If you decide to hike the Pinhoti Trail, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of Alabama’s wilderness.
Wildlife observers who go camping at Talladega National Forest could spend some time at Dugger Mountain and Cheaha Wilderness. Various animals live in this area, including turkeys, rabbits, squirrels, and numerous bird species. A couple of endangered animals, like the red-cockaded woodpecker, reside here as well. Be mindful of coyotes and black bears because they sometimes get close to the marked trails. Always keep a safe distance and don’t engage with them. It is also useful to get a map of Talladega National Forest before you venture out into the woods.
Two campgrounds within Talladega National Forest can accommodate RVs and long vehicles. These are Coleman Lake Recreation Area and Payne Lake Recreation Area. Coleman Lake Recreation Area is tucked deep in the forest, right next to a 21-acre lake. The campground is secluded and spacious, allowing the campers to enjoy the peaceful nature around them, and has 39 sites designed for trailers and RVs that are up to 35 feet long. All sites have water and electricity hookups. Campers also have access to a bathhouse and a picnic area. Hikers often choose this campground because it is close to the Pinhoti Trail.
Payne Lake Recreation Area is an equally great choice, especially for visitors who are going RV camping at Talladega National Forest with their families. The campground is close to a beach and has a small playground. Other amenities include restrooms, showers, and a picnic area. There are 56 sites at this campground, and each has a picnic table, as well as a fire ring. The majority of the sites have full hookups. The campground is open all year round, and potential visitors could contact the office to make a reservation.
Birmingham is the most populous city in Alabama and an economic center of this part of the state. This place has a very rich history. The city played an important role in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Talladega National Forest campers could take a day off and explore many important landmarks within the city. Downtown Birmingham is easy to navigate and very pedestrian-friendly. Campers who enjoy fine art could begin their tour at the Birmingham Museum of Art. Housed in a gorgeous modern building, the museum opened its doors in 1951. Today, it has around 26,000 works of art on display. The Asian art section is simply stunning, with hundreds of paintings, sculptures, and many more. Visitors could explore the museum on their own, or go on a guided tour.
Birmingham is also the home of the Southern Museum of Flight. Tourists may see dozens of civilian and military aircraft within the 75,000-square-foot museum. Kids especially love this place because they could get inside the aircraft and feel like a pilot. The vast space is also home to the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame, where you may learn more about the best pilots from this part of the United States. The museum has other exhibits that feature engines, artifacts, and documents.
When you are missing nature, make a stop at the Railroad Park. It is a small oasis in the middle of Birmingham, with over 600 different trees and flowers planted there. You could relax at one of the benches near a pond, or climb a hill and view Birmingham from the top. Birmingham has a great culinary scene, with plenty of restaurants offering both international and local food. From expensive restaurants to small diners-everyone can find something to eat here.
Visitors who need supplies for their motorhome camping trip could purchase them at any convenience store downtown. Gas stations are located all over Birmingham, close to the busiest roads. The nature of Alabama is one of a kind, so if you want to stay here a bit longer, gather up your friends or family, and head north on I-65 to Decatur, and make a stop at Bankhead National Forest along the way.