The Northeast Alabama Mountains are home to some the best highways and byways in the entire Southeast United States. Northeast Alabama is abundant with more national forests, state parks, wilderness areas and historical landmarks than any other state could possibly maintain in a small geographical area. The state boasts of providing ultimate protection for land without having too many heavily populated areas and the best of it is near the beginning of the Appalachian Trail.
The Appalachian Highlands Scenic Byway
The Appalachian Highlands Scenic Bywayis approximately 80 miles in length and connects parts of DeKalb, Cherokee, Cleburne and Calhoun Counties. The byway starts at Interstate 59 at Fort Payne; follows Alabama Highway 35, Alabama Highway 273, Alabama Highway 68, U.S. Highway 411, and Alabama Highway 9; and ends at Interstate 20 at Heflin. The byway has access from Lookout Mountain in the north to the highest peak in Alabama at Cheaha Mountain. Along the route are tourism sites such as Little River Canyon, Weiss Lake and Cheaha Wilderness Area. Talladega Scenic Drive and Lookout Mountain Parkway are also great routes to take when enjoying the beautiful mountain scenery.
Talladega Scenic Drive
The Talladega Scenic Drivetakes you on a 26 mile drive which travels through the Cheaha Mountains and the Talladega National Forest, the southern tip of the Appalachian Mountain range. It runs through U.S. Highway 281 near Heflin and US Highway 78 or State Route 20 and ends after Cheahea Wilderness and Adams Gap Road.
Cheaha Mountainhas a road leading right to the highest mountain peak of 2,407 feet located off of State Route 49 at the Cheaha Wilderness Area and State Park. The park has a 9.6 mile trail which combines two other trails at about 5.3 miles and runs through the Talladega National Forest where turkeys can be spotted running wild.
Talladega National Forest runs along State Route 9 andis part of Cheaha Wilderness Area and State Park. The fall colors of this forest are a wondrous site, as well as the redeye bass in the lake to fish during season time. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking.
Lookout Mountain Parkway
Lookout Mountain Parkway runs about 50 miles throughout northeast Alabama and is named afterLookout Mountain, one of the world’s richest cave regions. The parkway includes several roads and is considered a multi highway. Destinations include DeSoto State Park and Little River Canyon National Park. DeSoto State Park lies off of State Route 59 and US Highway 39. There is plenty to see and do with educational nature centers, swimming pools, hiking, biking and so much more. Desoto Falls is one of the main attractions at the park with a big drop of about 104 feet.
Little River Canyon National Park is locatedalong AL Highway 176 (off AL Highway 35). Little River Canyon is located near Fort Payne, Alabama, has a 23 mile long scenic drive and 9 overlooks. Backcountry trails and waterfalls are also highlights of the area.