Fall in Love with Alabama's Color
By Ami P. Simpson, Public Information Manager, Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel
From the Natchez Trace to Cheaha Mountain, Alabama is so alive with color each autumn that Southerners will find no need to drive long distances to view beautiful fall foliage.
Alabama's northern counties usually present prime viewing, especially in the state's majestic state parks; but urban areas and points farther south present delightful changes as the trees lose their green and turn to orange, yellow, scarlet and brown.
As 2006 and the Year of Outdoor Alabama comes to a close, Alabamians have one last season to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. The Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel (ABTT) has created a website and brochure listing places in Alabama to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking, walking, bird watching, camping, fishing and more. For a copy of the brochure, call the bureau at 1-800-ALABAMA (252-2262) or visit www.800Alabama.com.
The prime time for viewing fall color in northern Alabama is usually late-October to mid-November.
Here are eight great places to look for fall color in Alabama.
• Joe Wheeler - The drive from U.S. 72 to the lodge is ablaze with bright orange and yellow leaves. Several nature trails at the park offer the opportunity to see the leaves up close.
• DeSoto State Park - The mixed forest of oak and hickory turns yellow and orange. At 5,000 acres, this park affords many opportunities for viewing the change of leaves and includes DeSoto Falls, a 104-foot waterfall surrounded by 170-foot cliffs, and several scenic overlooks of Little River Canyon.
• Cheaha State Park - The highest point in Alabama at 2,407 feet above sea level is Cheaha Mountain. Hikers will appreciate the vista from the Bald Rock and Pulpit Rock trails. The Talladega Scenic Drive, Alabama Highway 281, is considered by many to be the most scenic drive in the state.
• Bankhead National Forest - Travel south on Alabama Highway 243 from Russellville; then east on Alabama 195 to Double Springs. From Double Springs, travel north on Alabama Highway 33 to Moulton. Two other forest roads good for viewing are Northwest Road (also called Forest Road 208) and Ridge Road (also called Forest Road 249.)
• The Shoals - Drive along Colbert County 1, which hugs the Tennessee River, through the communities of Riverton and Rose Trail. Nearby, the Natchez Trace has 33 miles cutting diagonally across the northwest corner of Alabama. You can also visit the Coon Dog Cemetery in the Freedom Hills.
• Huntsville's Monte Sano State Park - Limestone rock formations characterize this mountain rising 1,640 feet above sea level. Recommended viewing spots are the Warpath Ridge Trail and O'Shaughnessy Point.
• Oneonta - Blount County, with three covered bridges, offers perhaps the most romantic spots in the state to view fall color. Horton Mill, at 70 feet above water, is one of the highest bridges in the U.S. It's just off Alabama 75, five miles north of Oneonta.
• Oak Mountain State Park - Although the dominant trees here are oaks and hickories, look for the maples, sourwoods, sweet gums, sumacs and sassafras, all of which turn scarlet in the fall. Hike up the mountain to Peavine Falls for a beautiful view.