Cheaha State Park Loop
ElevationAscent: 835' 255 m
Descent: -835' -255 m
High: 2,373' 723 m
Low: 1,963' 598 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 14% (8°)
Current trail conditions
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“A rock-strewn and rustic singletrack loop on the highest mountain in Alabama.”— Lost Justpastnowhere
If you want a view, you'll have to visit the tower on the summit of Cheaha Mountain (not on your bike). The mountain bike trails are all under dense forest coverage.
The fun starts right away on Cheaha Express (yellow blazes), which is filled with rocks and roots. After 0.3 miles, take the right fork onto Deer Run (purple/pink blazes) where the rocks and roots continue as it contours along the side of Cheaha Mountain among some large boulders. Deer Run is pretty narrow and there are a few short water crossings from springs higher up on the mountainside. Deer Run ends at Lower Spring (blue blazes) just after you pass a small creek with several cascades. A footbridge is provided over this creek since it is a little bit wider than others.
When you come to the Lower Spring, turn right to begin a steep 200 foot climb. Near the end of this climb, Lower Spring reaches a T-intersection with Upper Spring (green blazes). Turn left and follow Upper Spring back around to this same point. (Keep right at the next four intersections, passing a second intersection with Lower Spring and following Cheaha Express for a short distance at the western terminus of Upper Spring).
Upper Spring is an easier trail but it still has its share of roots and rocks along with one major creek crossing followed by a steep climb. Once you've come full circle on the Upper Spring, continue straight to the second intersection with Lower Spring. This time, turn left onto Lower Spring.
Lower Spring is probably the most difficult trail in the park. From Upper Spring, the trail descends steeply to the intersection with Deer Run, where you'll have the same steep 200 foot climb from Deer Run to Upper Spring. The downward leg follows a rushing creek on the right and passes through a tunnel of rhododendrons.
After you've climbed the steep 200 foot hill on Lower Spring for the second time, turn left on Upper Spring again and follow it until Cheaha Express.
Turn right on Cheaha Express and follow it to the short Cheaha Run (white blazes) loop near the top of Bald Rock Mountain. Cheaha Run is the easiest trail in the park, with fewer roots and rocks than the others; it is also pretty flat so you can easily pick up some speed on this loop (watch for other trail users).
At the end of Cheaha Run, turn right and take the rest of Cheaha Express a short distance until it ends at the park road. It's worth a short detour to the right on the road for the view at Bald Rock Mountain if you haven't been before. (Note the path out to Bald Rock itself is foot traffic only).
After that, turn around and take Cheaha Express down to the start. There is a somewhat difficult section that climbs through an area with large rocks embedded into the trail as you approach Cheaha Mountain. Around the back of the radio tower there is one rocky area where you might have to dismount to pass. This is also your opportunity to take the Express Connector past the tower up to the Cheaha Mountain summit if you want to check out the view. On the way down, there are some sections of smooth and fast singletrack, as well as some more rocky and rooty technical sections. While you can carry some speed in areas, watch for uphill riders, foot traffic, and equestrians, which all share this trail.
Land Manager: Alabama State Parks - Cheaha State Park