Ascent of Cheaha Mountain on 2016-02-25

Climber: Michael Vecchiarelli

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Thursday, February 25, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Cheaha Mountain
    Elevation:2405 ft / 733 m

Ascent Trip Report

I left my hotel in downtown Birmingham around 9:30 am. It took a little over an hour to get to the entrance of Cheaha state park. The drive up to the entrance is absolutely stunning. Admission is normally $5 per person but for some reason the girl said to just go in without paying. I said I wanted to pay but she waved it off. Lucky me. I drove in and parked.

You can drive to this high point but as always, I wanted to hike to it. So, I parked downhill and walked. My original plan was to park near the Lake Trail and hike that down to the lake and back up to the HP. I started down but had a little trouble following the trail. Maybe it was me or maybe it is too early in the season, but either way, I roamed around in the woods for an hour and lost the trail repeatedly. Frustrated, I decided it would be better if I just hiked the other trails in the park instead. To get to the summit I took a combination of a pink-blazed trail and a yellow-blazed trail from the end of the Lake trail, that is until I got near the tower. Once the tower is in sight I just headed for it because I lost the yellow trail. The blazes were pretty faded.

The summit tower is pretty cool. Even though everything else is closed, the door to the tower was still open. So I climbed the 4 or 5 flights of stairs to the top. The views are magnificent from up here. I was the only person at the top the entire time I was there.

I hiked back partly on trails and roads. In the process of getting to the car from the summit, I also hiked the Rock Garden Trail and the Pulpit Rock Trail. So I don't really know how much elevation I gained/lost or really how many miles I walked. My Fitbit knockoff says over 3 miles during the time I was in the park. The Pulpit Rock Trail leads to a great lookout (see photo). You can see the entire Talladega Forest from the rock ledge. Gorgeous. And a great way to help work off that BBQ I ate in Birmingham last night.

Do yourself a favor and visit Alabama. The state was never really on my radar until I decided to hike the 50 high points. Alabama, for me was a beautiful surprise. I had no idea everything was so scenic. Plus, Birmingham is a great city to enjoy a couple of days, if you want to make a weekend trip out of it. I am glad I did.
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
The view at the end of the Pulpit Rock Trail. Not at the high point but a worthwhile side hike (2016-02-25). Photo by Michael Vecchiarelli.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Weather:Cold, Windy, Clear
Cold and windy
Ascent Statistics
    Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Route:Pink/Yellow trails, Rock Garden, Lake, Pulpit Rock
    Start Trailhead:Lake Trail  
Descent Statistics

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