Alabama Wilderness Areas

Cheaha Wilderness

Stairway to Heaven-Pinhoti Trail-Cheaha Wilderness

The official source for Wilderness information.

The National Forests in Alabama is home to three wilderness areas designated between 1977 and 1999, totaling 42,218 acres. Alabama’s wilderness offers visitors a unique experience within a primitive environment in comparison to other areas of the national forest. The Sipsey Wilderness in the Bankhead National Forest, Cheaha Wilderness in the Talladega National Forest, Talladega District, and Dugger Mountain Wilderness in the Talladega National Forest, Shoal Creek District offer opportunities to experience rugged hiking trails, panoramic views, natural ecological conditions and extraordinary opportunities for solitude. Visitors should be prepared and practice wilderness stewardship.

Wilderness stewardship is designed to:

  • Preserve the natural character of the area
  • Allow natural forces to dominate the character of the land
  • Provide opportunities for solitude and primitive recreation activities
  • Allow undisturbed development of plant and animal species and the protection of their habitat 

Activities Permitted in Wilderness:

  • Hunting, fishing and trapping in accordance with state regulations
  • Hiking, backpacking, horse riding on designated trails (camping with stock animals not allowed), use of wheelchairs (including electric), use of small electronic equipment
  • Pets should be restrained or on a leash so all visitors can enjoy the wilderness experience
  • Visitors can expect to see Forest Service managers controlling non-native invasive species, such as cogongrass or privet, to prevent invasive plants from threatening other species.
  • To protect the area from wildfires, Forest Service managers will use wildfire suppression methods like hand tools. Use of chainsaws and other motorized or mechanized equipment may be approved.

Activities Prohibited in Wilderness:

  • Use of motorized and mechanized equipment, including bicycles and wagons except as authorized for the emergency protection of life or property outside Wilderness
  • Illegal drugs or alcohol
  • All commercial activities
  • Mineral leasing or mining, except for valid claims prior to Wilderness designation
  • Use of fireworks and other explosives 
  • Unique restrictions in the Sipsey Wilderness: 
    • No camping longer than 7 days
    • No groups larger than 10 people
    • No possession of fireworks
    • No off-trail use of stock animals