Start from the parking lot beside the playground and bathroom next to Cheaha Lake. The trailhead begins in the woods just past the bathroom, next to the creek that feeds the lake (see map).
If entering from the Highway 21 side park enterance, the parking lot will be your first left turn.
The Lake Trail is the hardest, as far as technicality, but is really not too bad. The trail is 1 mile long to its terminus where it intersects the Rock Garden Trail. The Lake Trail itself begins with a gradual incline, escalating into somewhat steep terrain with small rock jumbles. Near the top, the trail is at its steepest; although proficient hikers would have no trouble with this section; small children, elderly, and some pets may not make the grade. Because of the park's family oriented nature, I feel the need to express this point. The trail is probably overly marked with trail-markers, making getting lost almost impossible. Otherwise, the trail contains wonderful views of the surrounding mountains, a beautiful creek, and robust rock garden near the top. The Lake Trail (red on image) does not take you to the actual top of Cheaha, but with some other road and trail walking (one option shown in blue on image), you can avoid simply driving to the top, and get a little excercise at the same time. The Lake Trail is also very close to the Primitive Campground, which makes for easy access to overnighters.
None other than normal Alabama hiking gear. The rock jumbles near the top may warrant a walking stick and decent hiking boots, but other than that, nothing special
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