Recreation

2014 Recreation Fee Schedule and Opening Dates

Places of Great Escapes

Get moving and take a “Great Escape” trip by exercising in one of Alabama’s national forests. A drive to one of our national forests provides opportunities for hiking, running, walking, bicycling, swimming, and canoeing.

Exercising in the great outdoors can burn just as many calories as jogging on a treadmill, and an additional benefit includes watching nature. Many of our lakes are wrapped with glistening beaches for swimming and relaxing. Twenty-seven recreation sites are available that include beaches for swimming; lifeguards are not present. Beaches are located in the Bankhead, Conecuh, and Talladega National Forests (Shoal Creek and Oakmulgee Districts) with places for canoeing and other water sports.

If you enjoy cycling as a form of exercising, mountain bicycles are the appropriate choice for designated mountain bike trails. For the hiker, our forests are filled with wonders. Moderate to difficult trails are delineated throughout, featuring floral and vegetative viewing and occasional wildlife observation.

Largemouth bass, bream, catfish, and crappie await the luring enticement of the forest angler in our beautiful lakes. Additionally, horse trail riders find meandering trails, fully furnished with picnicking areas, camping locations, and restroom facilities. Even hunters may sharpen their shooting skills at one of our shooting ranges.

Other outdoor activities such as boating, picnicking, bird-watching, camping, and all-terrain vehicle riding on designated trails are available.

So, get more out of life as you re-create your physical self in the recreation of the great Alabama outdoors!

Plan Your Trip

A good rule of thumb when choosing an outdoor exercising activity in the national forest is to be prepared before you leave. There are some things you should know before deciding to hit the trail for the first time to ensure a safe and pleasurable experience. Contact a district office to obtain maps and publications that highlight trails or discuss exercise plans with a recreation specialist. Become familiar with the type of recreation activity the trail is designed for and be aware of the terrain, distance and elevation before using the trail. Maps can provide detailed descriptions about the trail and help in deciding which workout is right for you. In terms of outer wear, a good pair of trail hiking shoes can provide a harder sole for stepping in rocky areas. It is of primary importance to be equipped with the following 10 essentials on all hiking trips: map, compass, whistle (3 blasts for help), flashlight, sharp knife, fire starter, water, first-aid kit, extra food and clothing suitable for the season. Please be aware of our forest areas that may be closed due prescribed burns or emergencies, and use caution during hunting season.

What will you see in Alabama’s National Forests? Glance at a few of our attractions.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

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Spotlights

Natural Bridge Picnic Area

Natural rock archway at the Natural Bridge Picnic Area.

Natural Bridge Picnic Area is the oldest national forest recreation site in Alabama. A paved trail (approximately 3/8 mile) leads to this natural rock archway deep in a forest of hardwoods, quaintly-positioned in Bankhead National Forest. So pack a picnic and make the hiking trek to this area.

Corinth Recreation Area

Rec Area Corinth Swimming

Experience the excitement of water sports at the Corinth Recreation Area! It is a relaxing, modern, state-of-the art campground located on the shores of Lewis Smith Lake. It offers facilities for individual and group camping, picnicking, swimming, and boat launching. There are two camping loops containing 52 new campsites, with electrical, water, and sewer hookups. The day-use area contains dressing rooms and warm showers, 29 picnic sites, a 100-person pavilion, a swimming beach, and a double-lane boat ramp. Call 1-877-444-6777 or visit on-line at www.recreation.gov to reserve group picnic shelters. Camping is on a first come, first serve basis. Look no further for a great place to host a reunion or a large-group outdoor event

Pleasant Hill Trail

Bicycling at Pleasant Hill Trail

Pleasant Hill Trail is Alabama’s newest and only trail for biking and hiking in the Tuskegee National Forest.  Only four miles in length, this trail is of moderate-level difficulty and provides incredible recreational fun for all.