Although one can drive to the top of Alabama's Cheaha Mountain, many will want to more fully experience and enjoy it by hiking to the states highest point. An easy to find and good starting point for a hike is from Cheaha Lake in the State Park. From the east corner of the parking lot, just past the restrooms, take the blue blazed Lake Trail up the mountain heading northeast.
This is a steep and rocky trail for the majority of its length, and it offers amazing views along the way and even a couple of fresh/cold creeks to cool off in. The blue blazed trail is only about three quarters of a mile long but gains over 800 vertical feet. When the blue blazed trail ends, use either the road, or a combination of the pink blazed trail to the red blazed trail to reach the summit in another 0.8 miles. Note that following the road to the summit is a longer walk than using the trail combination option. The bulk of the elevation gain has been completed by this point with less than 330 vertical feet of elevation gain remaining to the summit.
As you leave the blue blazed trail you should come out between cabins #1 and #2. Continue in a straight line, out of the parking area toward the road, watching for a large rock engraved with the word "CUSTODIAN" which you will come to within a 100 yards or less. At "CUSTODIAN" take a right onto the road, and simple follow the road to the top.
Alternatively once you reach the end of the blue blazed trail watch for the Mountain Laurel trail (pink blazes) at the scenic area. Follow the Mountain Laurel trail, continuing in a north east direction to the upper campground, past the Old CCC Reservoir with its rock dam and man made falls. Then cut through the woods from the upper campground heading to the east via the red blazed trail to the observation tower for a total of 1.6 miles from the lake.
Cheaha Lake is a fresh water lake covering approximately six acres (roughly 110 yards by 262 yards), and was created by the Civilian Conservation Corp in 1937 . The elevation of the lake is 1,264 ft. Visitors can enjoy picnics, fishing, a sandy beach area, and swimming in a designated area with a diving platform. There is even restrooms, and a playground for the kids. Only hand-launched boats and electric motors are allowed in the boating area outside of the swimming area.
If you hike the trail to the summit of Cheaha Mountain from the lake on a warm day a nice refreshing way to cool off is to go for a swim at the conclusion of your hike.
See the main page for Getting There directions. Cheaha Lake is located across the road, to the north, from the CCC campground, just a hop skip and a jump from the gated entrance to that campground.
A parking fee will likely be charged at Cheaha Lake.