Camping on the edge of the Cheaha Wilderness


On our last trip to the Talladega National Forest in Alabama, we camped outside of Turnipseed Campground on a little creek not far from the Chinnabee Silent Trail, right outside of the Cheaha Wilderness, Talladega National Forest. Marcie and I found this gem of a site on one of our previous trips to the area.

Our little campsite.

This spot is nestled right on a creek and was perfect for our escape from the daily grind of metro Atlanta living. It was just a short hike from the car, but far enough away, to feel like we were in the backcountry. The sounds of the flowing water washed away all the sounds of other campers in the area.

Little Creek
The water was delicious.

Before we had even left the metro I had already planned to follow this creek to its source. I found what I thought was this creek on my map and decided to make it my mission to hike to the spring that feeds it. So on our second day in camp, away I went. Across the creek and up the steep bank into the Cheaha Wilderness I went, with my map, my phone and my trusty walking stick that I had found earlier in the day. I had the mytopo app set with a way point of my destination as a backup for navigation.

As I followed Little Creek up the mountain, I eventually noticed that the creek was not coinciding with the route I had chosen on my map, so I referred to the GPS on mytopo. Apparently, the Forest Service has not mapped the area in complete detail where creeks and streams are concerned. No big deal. I followed the GPS to my destination and took a couple photos along the way.


Cheaha Wilderness, Talladega National Forest

I reached my predetermined destination and lo and behold, there was no spring, but no bother, There I found an amazing rock wall that ascended about twelve feet straight up. One would have to say that the Cheaha Wilderness is quite beautiful and definitely needs to be experienced first hand to appreciate its wonder!

Rock wall.
The sun beaming down over the wall.


Looking back.
  This was a spectacular find!! I scored big on this trip when it comes to discovering one of a kind places off trail. I had reached my destination (although it was completely different than what I was expecting) and took in the beauty for a few moments, accompanied with a drink of water from my camelbak. Then I continued my journey back to camp. I waded through the creek in several places for an easier walk, due to the area being pretty thick in places with laurel and rhododendron. There was also large patches of tall grass with beds of dead leaves on the ground, on both sides of Little Creek. Being that this is copperhead season, I decided to play it safe. Plus the water felt good on my feet, especially since I was still recovering from a toe injury that I had suffered from a previous trip.

  I knew where I was on my map and followed my compass, using Little Creek as my handrail. I followed my bearing and eventually I came upon a huge old tulip tree. This tree was right on Little Creek’s bank and dwarfed all the surrounding trees. It towered over the understory like a giant. I had to take some pictures of this thing!

Old Tulip Tree
  The circumference of this beast is massive. It would take three large men to hug this old beauty. The trunk stretched across Little Creek and made its own waterfall. This is an absolute testament to the wonders of this wilderness area.
This tree is massive!
Root waterfall.
Root waterfall.

In the pictures above the tulip tree is to the right just on the edge of the creek bank, but is not visible due to the thick underbrush. I thought I was just hiking up a creek to find a spring that day. What ended up happening, was that I brought back a place to keep in my heart forever. Okay enough with the sentiments.

  I left the old tree behind and continued onward following my compass stopping along the way a few more times for some more waterfall pictures. This hike was not even two miles there and back, and the beauty that I found in such a small area makes me writhe with anticipation to go back and explore some more.

Another small waterfall.
Double falls.

Stay tuned for more adventures!!!

Turnipseed Campground, AL-281, Lineville, AL 36266, USA

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