Recreational Sites

Elliotts Creek Quail Area

The Elliotts Creek Quail Area is a 3,000-acre area located in the Talladega National Forest within the Oakmulgee Wildlife Management area. Quail hunting season runs from mid November to late February. The forest habitat is being restored and enhanced to attract quail.

From the Oakmulgee Ranger District Office, travel Highway 5 south then take a right turn onto Highway 1. Travel until you reach County Road 16 and then turn to the left. Then take a right turn onto Forest Service Road 731. Travel till you reach the intersection of Forest Service Road 707 and Forest Service Road 731. The Bibb County portion of the Elliotts Creek Quail Area is bounded by Forest Service Road 707 on the north and east side. The southern boundary is FS Road 731.

Payne Lake Recreation Area

kids_boat-250x187.jpgPayne Lake is a 110-acre manmade lake inside the Talladega National Forest, Oakmulgee Ranger District. The Payne Lake Recreation Area provides opportunities to kayak, canoe, boat fish, bird watch, hike, and bicycle. The recreation area also contains two camping loops.

The Payne Lake area offers two hiking trails. One trail follows the east shoreline of the lake. Starting at the boat launch, this trail is 1.1 miles and winds through the forest with several access spurs to the lake's edge for fishing. The other trail is at the north end of Payne Lake and is approximately 1.5 miles long with interpretive signs along the way. The trail meanders along the ridges and the drainages of the north end of the lake.

Talladega National Forest, Oakmulgee Ranger District

This area is home to the largest population of red-cockaded woodpeckers in the National Forests in Alabama. Two clusters of red-cockaded woodpecker cavity trees are located close to Forest Service Roads 724 and 745. You can view these shy endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers from a distance at the break of dawn when they leave their cavity trees in the morning to go foraging and at dusk when they return to the trees for the night.

The red-cockaded woodpeckers are the only woodpeckers in North America that excavate cavities in living pine trees. Here in the Oakmulgee Ranger District they seem to prefer the longleaf pines, but they will use other living pine species. Nesting occurs in mid-April when the female red-cockaded woodpecker lays a clutch of three to five white eggs in the breeding males roost cavity. The eggs hatch after 10 to 12 days of incubation and nestlings fledge from the nest cavity 24 to 27 days after hatching.

Piper Interpretive Trail

The Piper Interpretive Trail is a 2.5-mile out-and-back hiking trail that runs through the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge. The trail offers scenic views of the river and is an easy walk--in fact much of the trail is a six-foot-wide gravel path that is accessible to those with disabilities. It runs along an old railroad route that served Piper Mine No. 2 near West Blocton in Bibb County.

Bibb County Glades Preserve

Kathy-Freeland-Glades.jpgMore than 60 rare plants have been found in and around the Bibb County Glades Preserve since its discovery in 1992. The Bibb County Glades Preserve, which covers 480 acres, is located along the Little Cahaba River and runs through the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge. The glades are home to eight plants that had never before been seen or named by scientists. This type of discovery might be expected in the Amazon Rain Forest, but it was unheard of in North America in modern times.

The Little Cahaba River

The Little Cahaba River is a critical habitat for four species of federally protected snails, mussels, and fish. It is also home to gray bats, and the riparian habitat for Georgia rockcress and Mohr's Barbara's Button, both of which are federally listed species. The Cahaba River contains more than 100 species of fish, including 12 fish and mussel species that are listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The National Geographic Society and the World Wildlife Fund both recognized the Cahaba River watershed as an outstanding global resource for diverse freshwater life. The Little Cahaba River in Bibb County is classified as an Outstanding Alabama Waterway by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and is a major tributary to Alabama's longest free-flowing river, the Cahaba River.

Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge

canoeing.jpgThe Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge is home to five federally listed threatened or endangered species including the Cahaba shiner, goldline darter, round rocksnail, and cylindrical lioplax snail. This area has been recognized as the most biologically diverse section of land in Alabama and has been credited with supporting the most significantly diverse plant species in the southeastern United States. You won't see plants and animals like this anywhere else in the area.

The Cahaba River

300.jpgThe Cahaba is no ordinary river! It currently supports 64 rare and imperiled plant and animal species, 13 of which are found nowhere else in the world. It is also home to 131 fish species, a greater number per mile than any other river in North America. The river has another unique feature--its rock shoals. These shoals create small pools that provide habitats for many rare plant and animal species. The shoals (Cahaba) lilies, which bloom from mid-May to mid-June, create a truly breath-taking scene on the river.

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