The Conecuh, Talladega, Tuskegee, William B. Bankhead National Forests encompass nearly 667,000 acres, stretch across 17 counties and are home to about 900 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.The four National Forests in Alabama are spread across the state, adding pockets of green in every corner.
If you enjoy scenery, you may be surprised to learn that this state actually has peaks higher than 2,000 feet. Elevations vary significantly in the forests ranging from more than 2,100 feet in the Piedmont area to only 100 feet in the Coastal Plain. The forests have splendid scenic drives and terrific places for wildlife viewing. High overlooks, rolling hills, and tree-studded flat land are among the contrasting terrains in the forests.
The forests offer something for everyone. Picnicking, camping, swimming, fishing, boating, or finding a quiet spot to enjoy bird watching, hiking, horse-back riding and sightseeing are all possible on the forests. And so is hunting. There are five wildlife management areas located in the National Forests in Alabama and are cooperatively managed by the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division of Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Game animals include white-tailed deer, bobwhite quail, gray and fox squirrel, turkey, rabbit, raccoon, and various waterfowl. The four forests are home to a number of threatened, endangered and sensitive species, such as, the gopher tortoise, flattened musk turtle and the Red-cockaded Woodpecker.
Want to enjoy a closer look at nature? The Pinhoti Trails System in Talladega National Forests, Conecuh Trail in Conecuh National Forest, and the Bartram Trail in Tuskegee National Forest provide more than 150 miles of developed trails.
Equestrian trails are available to horse riders in the Bankhead, Talladega and Tuskegee National Forests. ATV trails are located in the Talladega and Bankhead National Forests.
Boaters and water skiers can enjoy large, clean lakes, which have enough quiet coves to satisfy anglers as well. Additionally, the Sipsey Wild and Scenic River in the Bankhead National Forest offers seasonal canoeing.
There are three wilderness areas within the National Forests in Alabama that encompass more than 41,000 acres. The 25,002-acre Sipsey Wilderness in the Bankhead National Forest, is the second largest wilderness area east of the Mississippi. The 7,245-acre Cheaha Wilderness in the Talladega National Forest offers high elevations, with numerous overlooks for panoramic views of east-central Alabama.
Dugger Mountain became the third wilderness area encompassing approximately 9,200 acres. Dugger Mountain is the second highest peak in Alabama with an elevation of 2,140 feet and is located in the Talladega National Forest.