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Old 09-23-2018, 01:57 AM   #1
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Alabama's Cheaha State Park yea or nay?

I'm considering heading up to Cheaha State Park this fall for much-needed leaf-peeping for these Florida eyes.

But ... the reviews on the AllStays app have me concerned.

People complained of campground roads in rough shape, campsites in need of repair, bathrooms and showers in a state of neglect, and more.

Now, I know that a few years ago Alabama's government began raiding the state park system and drained off millions of dollars for other uses.

And I understand that in a November 2016 vote, frustrated citizens amended the state constitution with language seeking to protect the parks from such predatory budget work.

As a result, some resources have returned, and rangers and park workers have been trying to catch up on repairs and general maintenance.

So, what's the situation with Cheaha State Park? Is it back in good working order?

The latest AllStays review was in April, five months ago. Perhaps in that time much has been accomplished. Or perhaps it would be better to go elsewhere this fall, to give the parks crew more time to catch up.

Anyone have recent experience with Cheaha State Park?

Interestingly, reviews for another campground two hours further north, Monte Sano State Park, are good. I could go there. But Monte Sano is another two hours of driving on top of an already long day behind the wheel.
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Old 09-23-2018, 07:39 AM   #2
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I live about 30 miles from Cheaha and stay there several times a year it is a decent campground. It’s a beautiful place, but does need some RD maintaining of the upper camp ground loop as of my last stay. They where working very hard to fix it while we were there. All the pot holes had been filled with gravel a they had just finished building a new bath house on the south end of the loop.
There is also a lower camp ground that is on a lake at the base of the mtn but we prefer the upper. $27 per night full hookup, lots of hiking trails and great high point views make this location a repeat spot for us through out the year.
Some my find this to be a problem but up on the mtn there is NO, Zero, NOTTA, zilch, cell phone coverage. You will have to go down the mtn to make and receive calls.
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Old 09-23-2018, 08:07 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info.

Up on Cheaha mountain ... what about TV reception?

We are not big TV watchers while camping, but ... there is a college football game we just gotta see the weekend we will be in the Airstream.
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Old 09-23-2018, 06:59 PM   #4
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I can say without a doubt it is a great facility - not as nice as some - but incredible views - make sure to camp at the top, as the bottom has lots of bugs and no breeze - if you have a chance to ride a bike through or drive through without the rig it might help as some of the spots are quite tight for larger rigs. I have been there many times and enjoyed thoroughly - Only issue i ever had was someone "borrowed" my freshly cut firewood pile - sorta bugged me - but we just went and cut some more..


On a side note - i just re-read your post and i can mention that the facilities are definitely not perfect - but if all you need is a hot shower and a working toilet - it will do fine.
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Old 09-23-2018, 07:25 PM   #5
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TV should work fine. We love site 29 in the upper campground is our favorite.
What weekend up going to be there?
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Old 09-23-2018, 07:59 PM   #6
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Cheaha

We will be at Cheaha Oct4-7 and can provide a post-camping review if desired.

On a side note, Monte Sano is great park, but I am biased since I live in Huntsville (we'll be up there Oct18-21). Lots of hiking and the bluff-view sites have the best from-the-campsite views to be found around here (once the leaves have fallen opening up the valley view), but in Oct they fill up fast on weekends (during the week you can have pick of litter). The campground and bathhouses, like all in AL, needs some updating but facilities are certainly adequate. However, I bet Cheaha and Monte Sano with respect to facilities are similar. Maybe try to come up here at some point, but if can get a good spot in Cheaha you might want to save that extra 2 hour drive.

Another note: We were at Cloudland Canyon last year from Oct31-Nov4 and timed the foliage perfectly. It was so good we are going again this year to try to get lucky again. That SP is 100 miles (or so) north of Cheaha so maybe this will help you try to time out Cheaha area. But in this part of the world if you miss-time by just a few days on either side of peak, well, you missed it.
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Old 09-23-2018, 08:23 PM   #7
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I found a Pic from site 29 upper camp ground.
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Old 09-24-2018, 03:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MWBishop View Post
We will be at Cheaha Oct4-7 and can provide a post-camping review if desired.
Yes, please give a report.

Thanks for the info.
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Old 09-24-2018, 03:27 AM   #9
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TV should work fine. We love site 29 in the upper campground is our favorite.
What weekend up going to be there?
Nice site thanks for the photo.

We hope to be camping at Cheaha or Monte Sano over the Veterans Day weekend in November.
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Old 09-24-2018, 04:52 PM   #10
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We like it at Cheaha.
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Old 10-09-2018, 02:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Yes, please give a report.

Thanks for the info.

Well, just returned from Cheaha State Park site S11 (upper campground).
1. Do not head up the mountain low on fuel. Several miles of mountainous terrain before get to park.

2. Campground itself had ATT cell service, but at camp store and tower had 2 bars.
3. We had very good TV reception for locals.
4. Most sites are pull thru, but back-in sites are all basically similar. All seem ok, most with plenty of space (width and depth), and had good space between each, but none were stellar. Ours and appeared a lot of them were nowhere near level. Andersons worked, but used ever bit of height.

5. Did not eat at restaurant (have dogs).
6. Bathhouse was new and very clean although did not replace TP regularly enough. Take a roll with you when you need to go just in case.
7. Did not drive to lower campground (and trail is brutal), so no report on it (sorry).
8. Loved having 50A and sewer with no power issues at all.



All in all we liked the park ok. Biggest complaint is that there really isn't many (or any) good established connector trails between attractions (campground, restaurant, bald rock, tower, etc). So we mostly had to hike the road. In summary, glad we went, but considering it's a 4 hr haul each way, I prefer Monte Sano much better since I live in Huntsville (even though it's a lot more run down).
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Old 10-09-2018, 03:19 PM   #12
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Monte Sano here in Huntsville, AL is pretty nice. Lots of hiking opportunities. Also Fall Creek Falls SP, TN is nice in late October. Stone Fort State Park in Manchester, TN is nice as well.



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Old 10-10-2018, 04:17 AM   #13
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Thanks for the campground report.

Sounds like Cheaha is back in order.

We decided to skip Cheaha, since weve been there before, and head farther north to Monte Sano State Park.

Bringing my mountain bike to ride some trails.
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Old 10-10-2018, 06:58 AM   #14
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You will like Monte Sano - there are some great mountain bike trails.
Try to get one of the bluff sites (46, 48, 55, 59) - best camping sites in this part of world, although 48 is directly across from the bathhouse.

Make sure you have an EMS (like Progressive Industries) as some of the sites can regularly suffer from low voltage events.
Tip: Not sure direction you will be coming from, but if coming north 65 to 565 towards Huntsville the best way is to get off 565 at the Governors Drive exit (sorry, forget exit number). This will then go thru hospital district, up the mountain, then left at top of mountain (follow signs). The other way (that sometime GPS will take folks) is thru 5-points area up Bankhead Parkway. Do-able, but gets *very* steep with 2 really tight hairpin turns. Look on google map to see.



Hope you make it up here and enjoy the park and let us know what you think.
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