The Talladega National Forest
The Talladega National Forest offers a peaceful atmosphere that is filled in wild game, camping, and hiking utopias. The forest also features picturesque scenic waterfalls throughout its striking setting.
The total Forest covers 392,567 acres (613.39 sq mi, or 1,588.66 km2) at the southern edge of the Appalachian Mountains.
Before it was bought by the federal government in the 1930s, the area that comprises the Talladega was extensively logged and represented some of the most abused, eroded wastelands in all of Alabama. Pine forest regrowth now hosts a diverse eco-system.
The small 7,400 acre (30 km2) Cheaha Wilderness preserves a portion of this natural wealth near Rebecca Mountain.
The forest is headquartered in Montgomery, as are all four of Alabama’s National Forests. The other National Forests in the state are Conecuh, Tuskegee, and William B. Bankhead. The Talladega National Forest is physically separated into two areas, and divided into three Ranger Districts.
The Shoal Creek and Talladega Districts are located in the northeastern part of the state in Cherokee, Calhoun, Cleburne, Talladega and Clay Counties. They consist of upland hills and low mountains with predominantly moderately steep slopes. They support Appalachian mixed mesophytic forests.The Shoal Creek ranger station is located in Heflin and the Talladega ranger station in its namesake city of Talladega.
Shoal Creek Horse Trail System
Warden Station Horse Camp
The Piedmont Loop is marked with Blue horseshoes and is 18 miles. Due to the length and terrain, the trail is recommended for conditioned horses. The Short Loop is suitable for most riders and has White horseshoes and is 4 miles. The Sweetwater Loop is also suitable for most riders has Yellow horseshoes and is 14.6 miles.
Water is available for horses at creek crossings on the trail. It has 45 primitive campsites and nearly 37 miles of trails. There are pit toilets and drinking water available.
Directions: From Heflin take Hwy 78 East out of Heflin. On the East side of Heflin Hwy 78 bears left at a “Y”, in front of a Texaco Station. Go about 8 miles toward Edwardsville.
A large Brown National Forest sign will be on the left side of hwy 78 just before Cleburne Road (County Rd 61) and also a Blue metal building (Volunteer Fire Department) will be on the right side of on the road.
There will also be another brown sign on the right Coleman Lake, Warden Station. Turn left onto Cleburne Rd (County Rd 61) for about 8.7 miles. This road will then become Forest Service Rd 553 when you enter the Talladega National Forest. Turn right on the first paved road (FS 500) after you enter the National Forest the camp is about 100 yards on the right.
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