19644 Highway 281
Delta, AL 36258
13 miles due south of Anniston Roundtrip Mileage:
Cheaha Mountain, Alabama, 2,407 Feet
The summit as seen from a Cheaha Lake on the west side.
Here's the view of the Talladega mountains from a swimming pool deck just to the south of the summit.
We climbed Cheaha Mountain on February 13, 1999.
Cheaha Mountain is a classic shaped mountain with steep slopes and commanding views.
In 1813 Andrew Jackson before he became President engaged in numerous battles in the area in what became known as the "Creek Indian War." One battle was at the Callabee Battle Ground on the mountain's southeast slope. In another skirmish he wiped out the entire Indian village at Talladega. These battles were romanticized by Disney as Davey Crockett was one of the players and reference to the battle is in the famous "Davey Crocket, King of the Old Frontier" song.
Jackson's skirmishes with the Indians was to take him on to the high point of Florida on the Alabama border. Jackson's triumph over the Indians in America's southeast ultimately ended in the bloody "Trail of Tears" as they were relocated to west of the Mississippi.
The mountain is now more famous for being a romantic getaway with individual chalets with huge windows near the summit as well as a swimming pool less than a mile from the summit.
The big draw in the immediate area is the Talladega Motor Speedway.
Although less than 100 miles from Atlanta on I-20, the car rental agent at the airport rolled her eyes in disbelief that anybody would want to travel this way.
The exit for the park was clearly marked on the interstate and the Skyway Motorway (Highway 49) was much more beautiful than I expected with commanding views.
We had gained an hour thanks to crossing into the Central Time Zone at the Alabama-Georgia border and I was concernd about arriving before the park official 8 a.m. opening time.
However, these fears proved pointless as we neared the summit with its chalet/restaurant complex and directions to numerous camping facilities (which were suprisingly full on this winter day). A sign asked for a voluntary $1 contribution.
Still a brochure says the gates are locked from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. and that you need to contact the Park to get combinations.
Although the day before temperature was unseasonably in the 80's prompting the daffodils to bloom on the summit, it was bitterly cold with strong winds on the actual summit and temperatures enough to ice up our windows on this day.
We passed a couple soft drink machines while climbing the Civilian Conservation Corps tower with to its observation deck.
We followed the road on around back to the restaurant passing numerous campers (some of which were flying the Confederate bars and stars).
While we feasted over cheese grits and biscuits and gravy we marveled at the winter package for the closed enclosed cottages up here -- $40/night.
We happily chose not to return the way we came. Instead, we traveled on to the town of Talladega. The road was not as well maintained and we literally did not encounter a single car for 10 miles. For this we were rewarded with spying a bobcat and a myiad of the gigantic pileated woodpeckers.
Cheaha is an Indian name for "high."
The State Park Ranger's Office is
You can make reservations for the
restaurant and cabin at
Talladega National Forest Office can be reached at 1-256-362-2909.