The Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trails are footpath only trails along an area of the southeast shore and Sandy Creek area of beautiful Lake Martin (a 40,000-acre, 700-mile shoreline lake) in Tallapoosa County, Alabama. The trails provide the public with a water and wooded retreat into nature and promote preservation of this unique alpine area of the Tallapoosa River Valley in Central Alabama.
Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trails are some of the most scenic and diverse hiking trails in Alabama. The trails skirt the shoreline of beautiful Lake Martin for approximately 6 miles. Other areas of the trails are high rocky ridges and bluffs, some with vistas of 6 to 10 miles overlooking Kowaliga Bay, Chimney Rock, Smith Mountain, and others along rocky shoal creeks, and rippling brooks. The trails are routed through a varied flora and fauna. There are high rocky ridges with mountain long leaf pine, mountain laurel, low and high bush blue berry, lush hardwood forests that include redbud, sourwood, dogwood, native azalea, umbrella and big leaf magnolia. Large thickets of Catawba Rhododendron are numerous. Deer, turkey and numerous bird species, including bald eagles, can be seen along the trail.
Seventeen miles of trail are now open. You can hike from 1 to 17 miles of Loop Trail. A trail map is available for viewing at each trailhead sign.
The trails are built to blend into nature, free of bicycles, motorized vehicles, horses or other pack animals. All signs to mark trail transitions are made of natural unpainted wood with the smallest footprint possible on this unique alpine area. All trails are built on Alabama Power Company land that is set aside as natural undeveloped.
The Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail Association (CRATA) was incorporated February 24, 2004, as an all-volunteer nonprofit 501(c)3 tax exempt organization, dedicated to provide the public with wholesome outdoor trail venues for enjoying physical exercise, recreation, meditation, nature studies, and learning or improving hiking and backpacking skills.
The Cherokee Ridge and the Deadening Alpine trailheads can be reached by State Highway 50 in Tallapoosa County. From the east, turn right off Highway 50 onto Overlook Drive at the Scenic Overlook sign. The trailhead for “The Deadening” Alpine Trail is 2 miles on the right next to the Harbor entrance. The trailhead for the Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail is 3.3 miles on the right (look for the signs).
From the west, turn left off Highway 50 onto Overlook Drive .3 mile past the Tallapoosa River Bridge at the Martin Dam sign. Trailhead parking for Cherokee Ridge is 1 mile on left. Trailhead parking for The Deadening is 3 miles on the left (look for the signs).