Thursday, March 12, 2009

Alabama Waterfalls Report - Part II - Talladega National Forest and Environs

Alabama Waterfalls Report - Part II -Talladega National Forest and Environs

Devil's Den Falls: This series of waterfalls, consisting of a total of about 100' elevation drop, is located on Cheaha Creek upstream from Chinnabee Lake on Cheaha Creek, and is accessed via the popular Chinnabee Silent Trail. It is a popular destination, and heavy coverage is not required. Although often mislabeled as being in Cheaha State Park, it is actually in Talladega National Forest. Directions at: http://www.swimmingholes.org/al.html Photos at: http://waterfalls.szulecki.com/al/devilsden.html

Cheaha Falls: This waterfall is located on Cheaha Creek along the popular Chinnabee Silent Trail. It is upstream of Devil's Den Falls. It is somewhere in the vacinity of 30' tall. Directions at: http://www.swimmingholes.org/al.html Photos at: http://waterfalls.szulecki.com/al/cheaha.html

High Falls (Talladega): A lovely little series of falls located in Talladega National Forest. The top segment consists of a 10-15ft straight drop topped by a small cascade. The middle segment is a 10-15ft cascade, and the bottom is a long, narrow cascading stream. The top segment is accessed via a narrow rickity metal staircase. Get directions from this Google map, for follow these: From Talladega, proceed south on Alabama Rt. 77 towards Ashland. After passing the shooting range and the Porter's Gap trailhead, you will come to a an intersection with a sign for the falls, but you will probably speed right past it, as the speed limit is 55 and it is hard to see. The road name might be Horns Lake, but if you miss the sign, you will meet a few dozen miles of nothing, so you'll know you missed it. A few miles down the marked road or AL-77 you will encounter Clairmont Springs Road, which is also labelled for the falls. Follow the road for a long while, passed over railroad tracks and a an intersection to nowhere, and when you have just passed Blue Ridge Road, pay attention for a dirt road to your left. The sign for the trailhead is on the left side of the road, unfortunately it is parallel to the road and difficult to see. If you pass it, you'll again be nowhere, so you'll know. Drive down the small dirt road (frequently with wet potholes) until you reach a wide parking area. If you stand with your back to the road you just drove down, the trail to the falls will be at your 2 O'clock, and you will know you are in the right stop if after a few hundred feet you encounter an informational Kiosk with names on it. Follow the stream uphill, and you'll find the falls. (Copied from my website, http://waterfalls.szulecki.com/). Photos at: http://waterfalls.szulecki.com/al/talladegahigh.html

Salt Creek Falls: Salt Creek Falls is probably the best cascade type waterfall in Alabama, and for that, it gets to be one of the most dangerous. Located in Talladega National Forest, it is a popular swimming area for local youths despite its deadly reputation. The cliffs on either side of the falls are very high. The falls themselves are at an angle that makes sliding down them enticing, but deadly. This falls is not for those who are afraid of high places, or who are very out of shape should it be a hot day. The trail is short, but leaving the falls is very uphill, almost as bad as the ascent out of the ampitheatre of Upper Caney Creek Falls, almost. Speaking of the ampitheatre, Salt Creek Falls has managed to create one heck of one. This is a very dangerous area, fast moving water and high rocks, be very careful.Directions (From Talladega) via Google Maps** Note, the place you want to park is by the power lines, NOT the closed Forest Service road a few hundred feet up the hill. That gated road is long and leads to a really unpleasantly steep series of trails. You are looking for a gravel parking area, unmarked, with a jeep stopping mound that has been pierced by a trail. Take that trail over the hill, and you'll be set. Photo at: http://waterfalls.szulecki.com/al/saltcreek.html

"Shinbone Falls": This waterfall was "discovered" by Jay Hudson and myself last year. It is in the vacinity of Old Oxford Road, and is believed to be on Talladega National Forest property, but do your homework before visiting. Acting on a hunch based on the name of the creek, we put together an expedition and visited the area. After dealing with the tangled mess of old logging roads, we found a 20-30ft cascading waterfall, which is absolutely gorgeous. The name is derived from the local valley. Plant life in the area included Galax and Trailing Arbutus. Photos and GPS track at http://jahudson.wiki.hoover.k12.al.us/ShinboneFalls, more photos at: http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=7250739, and http://www.flickr.com/groups/alabamawaterfalls/discuss/72157604208545519/

"Hopeful Falls" (aka "Camp Mac Falls"): This waterfall was shown to me by Jay Hudson. The waterfall is located on a feeder to upper Camp Mac lake. It can be accessed by parking at the 9-ton bridge on Bass Lane, and hiking the well-worn but unmarked trail up the stream to the waterfall. Three stream crossings are required. The waterfall is located at: 33.48276666666667, -85.90585 I believe the waterfall is located on National Forest Service property, but I cannot be absolutely sure, as it is right near the boundary. According to my reading of the map, and the property boundary marker near the bridge, it is federal property, but again, always exercise your own judgement unless it is absolutely certain. I am calling it Hopeful Falls because I don't know the local name for the falls, and there does not appear to be an official name for the waterfall. Hopeful is the closest "town" on the map.It is 25-35ft tall. There are some small rapids and micro-cascades below the falls. Photos at: http://jahudson.wiki.hoover.k12.al.us/PinhotiWaterfall and http://www.flickr.com/groups/alabamawaterfalls/discuss/72157604075384113/

"Nimblewill's Twin Falls" (aka "Little Hillabee Falls"): This waterfall is located off the Pinhoti. Directions and a photo at: http://www.alabamatrail.org/hikingAL/Pinhoti/Pinhoti6.htm

Rendalia Water Falls: According to the USGS there is a waterfall near the Talladega National Forest property boundary at 33.301389 N, 86.171389 W, on the Winterboro quad. I can find no evidence it actually exists. I've asked around, I've looking from all legal viewpoints, I've looked at aerial photos, and all I see is fields and woods. No waterfall.

Great Falls: The USGS also lists a waterfall at 33.250556 N, 86.018333 W. I cannot confirm the existance of this waterfall, which is apparently "mis-coordinated" and on private property.

Back: Alabama Waterfalls Report - Part I - The Undiscovered County


* Note: Unofficial names in quotes.

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Awesome Website and great resource for hikers in Alabama!! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

the falls near Camp Mac have to my knowledge always been called 'The Secret Falls'