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In northeast Alabama, the 33-mile Chief Ladiga Trail is a regional playground that passes through welcoming towns and pastoral landscapes. Following a former CSX railroad corridor, the rail-trail is named for the Creek Indian leader who signed the 1832 Cusseta Treaty, surrendering the tribe's remaining land in the area.
Remarkably flat and smooth, the trail arcs from Woodland Park in Anniston northeast through small towns and quiet countryside to the state line with Georgia, where it connects to the Silver Comet rail-trail. It begins on a slightly raised rail bed before entering open fields, passing beneath canopies of pine, dogwood and other native trees and alongside enchanting wetlands. You'll find numerous access points along the way.
The first stop is Weaver, where you might want to pop into the nearby grocery store for snacks. Back on the trail, twin stone foundations of a railroad trestle flank the route. Five miles along, in Jacksonville, you'll pass an old train depot, restored in 2010 and now providing, among other things, a resting place for trail users. You'll also find the Jacksonville State University campus. Just off the trail is the historic town square, which boasts several shops and restaurants (climb Mountain Street and turn right on Route 21).
Keep alert over the following nine miles, as you may catch a deer or fox watching you. You'll soon reach central Piedmont, a quaint community that embraces the trail with a welcome center, benches and a sandwich shop just steps away.
From Piedmont the scenery begins to change. Duggar Mountain and the southern Appalachians provide a backdrop to fields that transition to forests. Terrapin Creek skirts the trail, and soon a bridge carries you over it. Here, the trail travels through protected wilderness within Talladega National Forest. Equestrians, please check the trail website and contact the trail manager to inquire about equestrian use on the trail.
At the state line, the Chief Ladiga Trail connects to Georgia's Silver Comet Trail, which stretches for another 62 miles, making the trails (combined) among some of the longest paved pedestrian paths in the country.
Directions: From I-20, take Exit 185 and head north about 10 miles through Anniston on Route 1/Quintard Avenue; bear right on McClellan Boulevard/Route 21 on the north side of town. A few miles past the split, turn left on Weaver Road; continue about a mile, then turn left again on Holly Farms Road to the well-marked Woodland Park trailhead.
On our 50th wedding anniversary trip from Michigan to Gulf Shores we stopped at Piedmont and rode the Chief Ladiga trail to the start of the Silver Comet. Beautiful sunny day and quite warm. The trail is definitely a slight easy uphill grade going east. The lack of any restroom facilities at the junction of Chief Ladiga and the Silver Comet trails was very disappointing as was the lack of places to stop and see the beauty that surrounds. There’s some rough spots caused by roots but not so bad as to cause a problem.
We biked the Chief Ladiga trail from the Anniston Trailhead to Jacksonville State University baseball facility to watch a baseball game (approx. 8 miles total). The trail was well maintained. Passed a few people at the beginning in Anniston with the middle of the trail pretty much to ourselves. Once we got close to the University, biking and foot traffic picked up but was very manageable. We had an excellent adventure on our first Trail biking trip and plan on riding more of this trail in the future.
A great bike trail. The scenery is unbelievable.Lots of wildlife. Alabama should be very proud of this bike trail.
Chief Ladiga Trail, Nov 2018, *Excellent*
I recently bicycled from Dallas, Ga, to Anniston, Ala. An excellent ride which I highly recommend, that could easily be broken into sections for a family outing or weekend 'de-stressor'. Thank you to those responsible for the development and maintenance of this path. Great job!
Trail surface conditions; excellent. The path is cement in Georgia and asphalt in Alabama for the entire length. It is well drained, smooth, wide, and in generally excellent repair. A few areas tree roots have encroached and damaged the asphalt path, but this is not currently an issue.
Signage & markers; very good over all. Markers are located every mile, however a recommended improvement would be to add distance values to cities, towns, trailheads, etc. As for signage there is very little. Interpretive plaques, historical markers, place names, availability and direction of restroom\food\lodging\police\medical signs, etc. could be added at appropriate sites.
Trail maintenance; very good to excellent. The trail right of way is clear and wide, free of encroaching brush and bordered by well kept grass. Some vistas could be improved by clearing underbrush which would allow viewing of surrounding area. Especially when approaching some road crossings is this true. I noticed virtually no litter. Trestles and bridges, while currently usable and safe, are showing typical wear and age. Hopefully a schedule of maintenance exists for these.
Amenities; average. While benches and rest stops are conveniently located and not too far apart, I think toilets or port-a-potties are needed trailside at appropriate locations.
Great job to those who created this trail!
A friend and I began our walk/hike at sunrise at the AL/GA state line. With 33 miles ahead of us an early start was necessary to allow enough time (10-11 hrs) to finish the trail before sunset that evening. The first several hours of the walk gave way to a landscape of beautiful autumn colors, bridges, and streams. Duggar Mtn also provided a beautiful backdrop for surrounding pastures, forests, and farmlands. As we continued on the path through the countryside the scenery began to change as the trail lead us through the small town of Piedmont where we were able to rest for a short while at the Eubanks Welcome Center. For the next several miles we continued to enjoy the beauty of the trail. Entering Jacksonville the trail lead us through the campus of Jacksonville State University and near a old train depot. With the sun beginning to set we finally made our way to the trail end in Weaver where friends and family greeted us with a celebratory bottle of champagne to commemorate a successful adventure.
Started at the Chief Ladiga trailhead at Michael Tucker Park in Weaver / Anniston. As someone else mentioned, plenty of parking and clean, open bathroom facilities. Every bit of this trail is well marked and very well maintained. The buckles or bumps in the trail were marked with white paint.
Took the recumbent trike since this was a paved trail. And, while I wasn't planning to ride all the way to the AL/GA border and the link with the Silver Comet, the trail, weather conditions, mix of shade and sun, I found myself just going... and going... One of the other bikers at the start told me it was a flat ride (relatively), he wasn't kidding. All the elevation changes are gradual, long sight lines, no blind curves, so made for as easy or fast as you like.
Trail was never crowded, bikes, a few hikers/walkers and a single skateboarder (near the college in Jacksonville). Saw flock of wild turkeys, some squirrels and one rabbit. Plenty of birds, dragonflies and butterflies
I hadn't planned on the full out and back, but with Piedmont right in the middle of the out and the back, was able to restock water as needed. Lunch along the trail was as peaceful as could be.
Anyone of any ability could ride as much or as little of this trail as they like. Multiple places along the trail to park, all the road crossings are clearly marked and only one listed as "caution". Plenty of shade, especially in morning or late afternoon. All the bridges are in excellent shape.
Quite a gem.
I started my ride at the trailhead in Anniston, a really good spot to begin the ride: a large parking-area directly on the trail, a lovely and well-kept park, and, what was a total surprise to my wife and me, it not only has public restrooms, but also showers, not locked but open for everyone, and with HOT water at that, and everything perfectly clean! We were enthusiastic! Considering the hot showers there, it might also be a very good end of a ride, of course.
In Jacksonville the former railway depot now is a well-maintained rest stop, with absolutely clean facilities. Water is also available there. And don’t forget to sign the guestbook for the trail.
The end, the spot where it connects with the Silver Comet Trail that is, has a nice rest area with benches and a Porta Potty which, after a 33-mile ride, might come in handy.
When I rode the Chief Ladiga Trail on May 19 this year, it was an absolutely fantastic day. It was quite warm, and the humidity wasn't half bad, but as the trail quite often lead under the thick leafy canopy of the trees and as I had the airflow around me, it certainly was bearable. The air was gorgeously fresh, and smelled of every possible tree, shrub, and herb, and I kept thinking that here even the air one breathes was green. I didn't see any larger wildlife, but an abundance of squirrels and chipmunks. The small towns I passed through were some nice distraction – not that I had needed one as the trail showed enough variety: sometimes leading through open meadow, sometimes through green tunnels in a manner of speaking, and later with the wooded hills of Alabama in the background, with a blue sky and fluffy white clouds above. And in between again and again the green wetlands of a slowly meandering gurgling creek.
Finally, a remark about the state of the trail: absolutely fantastic – smooth asphalt from beginning to end [I could easily have ridden my road bike instead of the more cross-country-suitable Salsa Fargo], and if there was a slight dent in it, from a root that was pushing the asphalt up, that was marked with white paint, even if it was just half an inch up. The people who first created that path and now maintain it in such a perfect condition deserve a lot of praise and a heartfelt "thank you".
The third trail of our trip from Fl to Ms and Al. We had rode this trail before it was paved and didn't remember how long ago it was, the host at the Eubanks Center in Piedmont told us it has been paved for over 20 years. Piedmont is the heart of this trail. The round trip to Georgia's Silver Comet was the best part. There are views of the mountains to the sides of the trail. The state border has a nice rest area and great signage. As we went through Jacksonville there was trucks and equipment on the trail, they were cleaning up damage from the April tornado. On both sides of the trail you could see the destroyed buildings. The Jacksonville Train Depot was a high point, we used it for our last day start and end point. Then just down the street we found Struts where we celebrated completing our trails with great wings and beer. We would return to this trail.
This trail has saved my life. literally, the chief means to controlling diabetes. The beauty of the land, the great places you pass through, the folks you meet, the welcome centers and facilities along the way are outstanding, with the one in Piedmont giving out free snacks to bikers and hikers. I can't say enough about the entire 95 miles of trails, from Anniston, AL to the Atlanta, GA area. Be conscious of the bumps caused by tree roots, they can throw you at speed above 15 MPH (trail designated maximum speed). Don't forget to sound off when passing others on the trail, it is just being a good neighbor.
Gorgeous views and smooth, steady asphalt. What more could you ask for?
This trail was easily the most welcome surprise I found after enrolling at Jacksonville State University. Paved and flat, it's a perfect trail for beginners (like yours truly) but the sheer length of the trail opens it up to experienced wayfarers as well. It's a beautiful, tree-lined experience with plenty of shade for extended trips. My usual routes are from the Jacksonville train station to Alexandria-Jacksonville hwy and from Park Place Apartments to Germania Springs Park, alternating which one I do each day. Both are just over 3 miles round-trip. The trail is lively -- so lively, in fact, that I've never gona down it without meeting at least 3 others. If you prefer your walk in solitude, then this trail is not what you're looking for. Otherwise, I believe everyone should give Ladiga a shot! Also, if you wish to go further, the trail becomes the Silver Comet Trail at the state line, extending on into Georgia.
We parked at Esom Hill, close to the GA/AL border. We rode the Comet east to Cedartown mi53 (see my reviews of other sections of Comet), then turned around and rode west to Borden Springs. 27mi roundtrip. Trail is concrete in GA, then turns to asphalt in AL, but both well maintained. It runs through the woods almost the whole way. Shaded, but no scenery but trees. No facilities either. It is a rail-trail, and you think its flat, but its not. Esom Hill is the crest, and its down hill both ways from there - about 100ft elevation change on both sides. But its gradual, so its very doable. But you will notice the difference one direction over the other. Will return to do final west section.
I've ridden a number of rail trails and the Chief Ladiga is the best yet. Started in Piedmont AL and the parking was the best; clearly marked lot right behind the police station! Couldn't ask for a better start. Well marked and groomed trail throughout our ride to the Georgia State line. Several stops along the way allow you to rest and even have a picnic lunch. Only needs one or two more bathroom facilities. Worth the drive to cycle this great trail. Will do so again soon.
This is a continuation of my ride on the Silver Comet Trail. What a beautiful ride west through the Talladega NF with a taste of the “old South”. Passing the N.F., you will travel tangent a roadway until you arrive at Piedmont and the Eubanks Welcome Center. The town was tearing down the old cotton/textile mill which is now common in the south, but I could not overcome an overwhelming since of melancholy in the sense we are destroying all our history, but….. The trail to Jacksonville is less woodsy, hillier and more populated but still very nice. Watch on the left side for the white sea mines in the “tree tunnel” before you travel through the impressive campus of Jacksonville State University. The trail remains much the same as before while your travel through Weaver to abruptly stop at the terminus, Holley Farm Road Trailhead just north of Anniston. The CL trial is asphalt and has some minor rough sections but nothing that takes away from its enjoyment. The towns and locals along the path take pride in the trail and are very welcoming to cyclist. If you get the opportunity, I would recommend visiting downtown Anniston by car along the unique Quintard Ave and eating at the local’s favorite Matas Greek Pizza. I think my love of this trail system stems the opportunities to camp, hike & bike all in one GREAT place.
My husband and I drove to Anniston, Alabama from New Orleans and spent 2 days riding the Chief Ladiga and Silver Comet Trail. We stayed in Anniston and drove to Piedmont to ride to the Georgia State line. The trail was smooth and the scenery was beautiful. On Tuesday, we drove a little passed Rockmart, Georgia to ride the Silver Comet Trail. We wanted to ride through the train tunnel and across the tressel bridge, which was very cool. This trail was even smoother and the scenery was equally beautiful. We are looking forward to doing it again. If riding around this time, bring lots of gear to brave the cold weather.
Great fun. Nice trail. Would do it again. Ate a late breakfast at Solid Rock Cafe in Piedmont which was good. They had smoothies and coffee there too but we opted for eggs and bacon.
FYI, there is a family of dogs living somewhere near the state line. 4 pups plus their Mom and Dad, no collars. Please pack a bag of dry dog food and/or treats for them. Seemed clean for their situation, very friendly but really hungry. Maybe someone could bring a bowl and leave it there so water can be shared with them. Thanks
Many have said to me,... there is nothing past Cedartown Ga for lodging....so "we ride from Smyrna to Cedartown..."; and I remind them there is 39 miles of continued trail on into Alabama to end at Weaver (Anniston) Alabama.
Future of the trail is to continue from Weaver into Anniston and link with the AmTrac and open up more travels on to NewOrleans or back to Atlanta and NYC.
I have property, in Weaver, and it is perfect for a B and B...but I need some Bicycle enthusiasts the help me spread the word, to get the place up and running prior to the completion of the trail to Birmingham. This City, Birmingham is building 470 miles of bicycle trails INSIDE the city and that will open the trail to Smyrna (Atlanta) ! so if any interest, please contact me.
Drove to Alabama to ride this trail. Great surface, well marked, shaded, flat, close to towns and easy access trail.
Stayed at the lovely Hampton Inn Jacksonville-Anniston a perfect location to the trail and a very nice hotel. Just down the road is the best BBQ ever!!
We rode on June 4,2016. We parked at the Jacksonville Community Center and hopped right onto the trail. (The sinkhole was to the west of this location and so not a factor). We enjoyed the ride to the Alabama-Georgia line and back for a round-trip of about 55 miles.
The scenery was diverse and we enjoyed the bridges and farmland. We did stop at the Piedmont Welcome Center which was about half way for us. We bought a cold drink and filled our water bottles at each pass. The restroom was very clean and fyi- there is a nice shower available (bring your own soap & towel).
If the center is closed, there is a restroom building available across the lawn.
We packed sandwiches and took energy snacks and lots of water. There was not much opportunity to buy food/water.
We really enjoyed the wild flowers, nicely mowed landscape as well as plenty of shaded areas along the trail! We will return to ride again. Thank-you!
The trail starts at a lovely little park that has camping and bathrooms with a shower . Very nice at the end on a hot day. We rode a couple miles and then the detour due to a sink hole started. The signs and mileage are very inaccurate and misleading and poorly placed. We rode up and down and needlessly wasted a good bit of time trying to figure out where the trail picked up. The school construction site is where the trail resumes but you must walk your bike across huge gravel to access the trail. The signs point the wrong way and the mileage and street names are confusing. If you see other cyclists make sure and hook up with them the first time ....save a lot of headache. On the way back it is apparent where one goes but again the sign on the pole is incorrect so don't pay it any mind !
Have had several great rides on this trail. Left from Anniston and rode different distances each time. Great variety of scenery, my favorite is the cotten fields. Good surface, have a hybrid bike. Almost no one on the trail each time. Take plenty of water, some stretches are sunny and hot. Very well maintained!
3.5 stars. I skated right after a cold front so it was rather leafy. This is over 100 miles once you connect withSilber Comet.
Serene escape from traffic and crowds. The trail starts in Anniston, but you may want to start in Weaver because you may leave your car overnight at the trailhead. Pass through Jacksonville, where there will be people walking and jogging. Then put on your hat as there will plenty of direct sunlight after exiting Jacksonville. The Piedmont/Eubanks Welcome Center is a must stop, get a cool bottle of water or coke, T-shirt, map, use the restroom and even shower. Be sure to sign the guestbook and hang out on the porch for a bit. The ride towards the Georgia line becomes breathtakingly beautiful as you reach the border of the Talladega Natl Forest. The ride through Talladega Forest is gorgeous. The ride from Piedmont to the GA line is more or less 15 miles. The border is clearly marked with a pretty Chief Ladiga/Silver Comet arched sign (photo opp). Another 10-15 miles into GA, you reach Cedartown. There, the trails starts to lose it original straight level path, becomes winding around Georgia towns. Keep going another 45 miles and you'll end up in Vinings Georgia, where there is plenty of civilization and traffic. I compare all other bike trails to the Chief Ladiga.
Nice, well maintained trail. Take plenty of water/nourishment-not much along the trail. Welcome center and bike shop in Anniston nice and friendly.
Nice fun trail to skateboard on. A little remote and cell service can be spotty.
The scenery is great and smooth surface.
Bring a proper amount of fluids.
We race this every May from Smyrna, Georgia (Silver Comet) to the Anniston, Alabama end and back to Smyrna. 188 miles of fun.
Enjoy the push.
We are leisure riders and like to take it easy and enjoy the scenery. We are not record breakers. This trail was great for us because it was mostly flat and had a lot of shade trees along the way. It took us about 2 and 1/2 hours to make it to the sandwich shop in weaver which by the way was amazing. The people who ran the shop were very friendly and even kept the shop open until we arrived. We rode on Sunday and they close at 2 pm but we had called them earlier and they waited for us. The Reuben sandwich was very good as well as the Mango Strawberry Smoothie. I believe we rode about 21 miles from the trailhead to the sandwich shop. This was a long ride for us but we made it. I would encourage anyone from beginner to expert to ride this trail. We drove from Geneva Alabama to Anniston just for this trail. This was our 25 year anniversary and we celebrated it by biking on this trail. The ride home was also very nice. We took the scenic route through the Talladega National Forest.. Alabama is beautiful!
We did a 23 mile run when training for a marathon and it was great! Only regret was lack of water along the way ( or signs to the nearest). But we definitely intend to do it again!
Three of us rode this trail from Anniston to the Georgia state line where we connected to the Silver Comet Trail, then on to Smyrna, Georgia. We made an approximate 200 mile two day round trip.
At the end of the SC Trail in Smyrna, we spent then night and made the return trip back to Anniston the next day. It was only a few miles off the trail to a good selection of hotels.
The trails were very well maintained and until we got very close to Smyrna, we pretty much had the trail to ourselves. Everything is flat, except for a 15 or so mile hiatus at about halfway to Smryna where we left the old railroad route. It's definitely not flat there and there were a few very steep, but relatively short climbs.
There were plenty of places to stop for refreshments, water and meals all along the trail.
Very nice and well maintained trail. Very pretty scenery. I only rode the part from Anniston to Piedmont but it is very very flat. You can work on your speed training, if that's what you need, but no hills. Easy way to add mileage to your portfolio without having to hit dangerous roads.
My wife and I rode the Trail from the end of the trail to Jacksonville and from Piedmont to the start of the trail on Sunday, Sept.8. The weather was perfect,it was not crowded and the riding surface was in great condition. Lots of Shade too. I normally ride 20+ miles three times a week but my wife only rides occasionally & we both thoroughly enjoyed the ride. We ended up riding a total of 40 miles counting the 14 mile round trip from Piedmont to the start and back. The gradual trail incline headed north is hardly noticeable but the southern leg's downhill slope is a welcome bonus.
This was our first trek on rails to trails and we definitely plan to bike more of them. The Katy Trail in Missouri may be next!!
On 9-10 June 2013 to-from Piedmont and then Weaver, did the whole 33 miles. Excellent weather, excellent trail surface. Really enjoyed it - over-grown, so shady, also did the "Silver Comet" in Georgia, and was impressed by the seamless transisition between the two. Might could use more bathrooms (especially ones that were un-locked, but still an excellent ride
My daughter and I rode from the beginning of the Silver Comet Trial to the end of the Chief Ladiga trail for Fathers day. I rode the Alabama section 2 years ago and the trail had many rough parts my most of my ride. However I was pleased to find out that all of the 33 miles are in excellent condition and all the rough areas are newly paved. Nice ride.
I headed out solo from the Anniston starting point on July 24, 2010 for a single day ride to the Georgia line and back.Throughout the course of the day I encountered what seemed like every weather condition just short of snow! The park where I started had a nice bathroom with showers, which I knew would be a welcome sight later. Starting out was cool and slightly breezy heading through Weaver and into Jacksonville. The people tapered off in between these areas, so there was very little congestion on the trail. From Jacksonville to Piedmont the sun started to peak out and the temp started rising, not very badly though, and the fields made the time pass quickly. The Eubanks Welcome Center was a "welcome" sight! Very friendly staff, nice covered porch the relax on for a break. Keep in mind that if you need anything (water, snacks, BATHROOM) get it in Piedmont, this is the last civilized place you'll come across until Cedartown GA. The sun really came out after I left the welcome center heading toward the state line, and the temp went to around 98. The section from Piedmont on is really beautiful, lots of water and trees, etc., and very few people (though the Georgia riders coming the other way started passing by). The state line is a little anti-climatic, but the archway and tiny covered area is nice. Grabbed a bite, rested, took pics, and started back to Piedmont. The wind starting picking up heavily, which took a little bite out of the heat, and stayed in my face for the next 12 miles or so. Finally within 3 miles of the welcome center it started pouring like mad, and that same strong wind made it feel like winter suddenly! Back at the welcome center there were a half dozen of us huddled under a gazebo waiting for a reprive from the rain. I buddied up with a guy from Montgomery and we headed out when the rain lightened up a little. Just out of Piedmont on the way back I caught a wicked transition from soaking wet wooden bridge to soaking wet asphalt doing about 25 and went down hard. Definately glad I picked up that riding buddy on the way back! Sporting some pretty mean road rash, I got myself back together, straightened out the bars, shifter and rear derailleur and we made our way back to Jacksonville. The rain finally let up, but the wind didn't, and the temp that had reached 98 now felt like 50 in a soaking wet kit, with my socks squishing around inside my shoes. I have never been so glad to see a boring end of the ride sign before! My new best friend helped me load my bike on the roof, since my knee, shoulder, elbow, a couple ribs, ankle, and wrist were danked very nicely, and I proceeded to take a nice, slightly painful, warm shower while chewing on a few ibuprofen. Even with all of this going down, I would recommend this ride to ANYBODY wanting to enjoy a nice leisurely 66 mile ride with little to no elevation. Just mind the weather, watch the transitions, and load up in Piedmont! Happy trails!
Me and a group of 18 other cyclists from Northern Alabama (Huntsville) embarked on a new journey to ride from the Chief Ladiga Trailhead to the end of the Silver Comet Trailhead and back again. The group was comprised of riders of varying cycling experience from newbies with just 4 months under their belts to some with many years of riding experience. This meant some of the riders doing less miles while others doing the whole round trip adventure. In short, everyone had an exhilarating time with goals that ranged from just wanting to enjoy the fall scenery with friends, to achieving new distances never ridden before, to simply checking off a long awaited bucket list item. Despite the cold and windy weather, 19 brave souls ventured onto the beautiful trails for a life changing experience. There were many memorable moments that will be savored on this beautiful trail. In addition to the SAG driver Fleet Willoughby who served as support at the rest stops, the list of riders include Joe Caruso, Hunter Chockley, Laurie Cooklis, Julio Driggs, Zoe Willoughby, Dan Cox, Fleecie Honeycutt, Geanine Lehmann, Chris Reno, Anita Tygart, Gery Reddy, Jill Cherni, Tricia Daly, Carol, Albacker, Regi Northover, John Cooklis, Jonathan Ibarra, and me, John Ortiz. A memorable time was had by all. We look forward to making this super trip at some future point.
A friend and I along with a driver departed Murfreesboro, TN Oct. 14 We started in Anniston, AL and rode the Anniston, AL to Piedmont, AL section of the Chief Ladiga Trail on the 14th. You can read my review of the Chief Ladiga Trail under the Chief Ladiga reviews. Left Piedmont on the 15th and reached the state line that afternoon. When we entered GA, our destination was Cedartown, GA where we had reservations at the Holiday in Express there we would meet our driver and friend. When we arrived we discovered that sidewalks went all the way to the hotel so we decided to ride our bikes to the hotel instead of being picked up at the trailhead there is a slight hill up to the hotel but it was not bad. Our driver was ever so nice to have been to the store and purchased some fruits for us to snack on when we arrived. Had dinner at a new restaurant, Portabella's, great staff and good food. Day 3 Oct. 16 had breakfast at the hotel did a little shopping in Cedartown at the Loolleeposh Boutique, The thrift store that supports the battered women's shelter they had some really great deals, browsed through Bussey's Florist 302 Main St. and had a nice chat with Frankie, she left corporate America for a quieter life, and cowboy boots, if you get a chance stop and browse and say "hi" she is just great to chat with. Decided it was time to pack our treasures in the car and get on the bikes. We went to the Cedartown Railroad Depot that has been restored and serves as a welcome center on the trail we had our lunches that we had packed in our cooler said goodbye to our driver and departed for Hiram, GA where we planned to stay at the Country Inn and Suites. We had read reviews and knew that shortly after leaving we would hit the hardest part of the trail a section of approximately 3.5 miles maybe a little longer that is very hilly and we knew it would slow us down. We had even been told by some locals that many had to push their bikes over some of these hills. We made it through and even got some great photos. Once we were out of the hills it was a great ride through farmland and the town of Rockmart, GA past the historic railroad trestle the restored railroad depot, beautiful park and old Church just off the trail. We had hoped to have dinner at Frankie's only to learn that she is only open Thursday thru Sunday. Due to a small ailment we were forced to end our ride a little short of Hiram so our driver picked us up at the Coot's Lake Beach trailhead and we drove over to Hiram for the evening. We had dinner at Huey Luey's a great Mexican restaurant that evening really good food and beautiful decor. Day 4 Oct. 17th breakfast at the hotel the staff made some pics for us in front of their beautiful fireplace and on the staircase. We loaded up the car and headed back to Coot's Lake Beach trailhead made some pics at the trailhead said our goodbyes to our driver and headed toward Smyrna, GA since we had not made our destination the day before we had approximately 33 miles to ride to reach our destination. Just about 3 miles into the ride is the Brushy Mtn. Tunnel very beautiful and great place to stop and take photos. A little further out around the 23 mile marker is the Pumpkinville railroad trestle another photo op. All along the way are many great spots for photos I encourage all to take the time to stop and enjoy the scenery. I guess what really made the ride so amazing was the trees in their fall glory and that many areas of the trail were strewn with the beautiful colored leaves, just taking photos of the trail ahead made for great pictures. We stopped and had snacks at a really nice spot along the trail when we had ridden about 17 miles then we headed on to Smyrna, was a little more congested the closer we got to Smyrna but we made it without incident. It was truly a great time for two 50+ female riders who only started riding in June of this year. Our driver met us in Smyrna, GA and we were Murfreesboro, TN bound. Highly recommend this ride to anyone, it is truly spectacular but I do believe that fall would probably be my preference. Do want to caution riders about the black walnuts that have fallen onto the trail we were able to avoid incident and you can to if you are cautious.
A friend and I, along with another friend we talked into coming along as our driver, drove from Murfreesboro, TN on Sunday Oct. 14th 2012 to begin our trek on the Chief Ladiga Trail in hopes of riding it to the state line then continuing on into Georgia and completing the Silver Comet Trail. We arrived at Woodland Park in Anniston that afternoon and departed with our destination for that day being Piedmont, AL. The ride was really nice about 5 miles in you pass the old Jacksonville Railroad depot as you continue on the trail carries you through the Jacksonville State University campus. Once you leave the university campus you travel through farmland and wooded areas watch for the wildlife along the way. When we arrived in Piedmont we had reservations at the Hometown Inn, formerly the Key West Inn, located on the North edge of town on St/Rt 278. It is not far off the trail so we biked over instead of our driver picking us up. She had already arrived and checked in, the room was excellent and the staff was great. They pointed us to a Mexican restaurant where we had dinner. The next morning, Oct. 15, we had breakfast at the Huddle House. We then checked out of the hotel and did a little sightseeing around Piedmont, hit some thrift stores, chatted with some locals, and stopped by the Solid Rock Cafe where we got some chicken salad plates to go. Our driver then departed for our next destination Cedartown, GA and we were off on the trail. On the way out we stopped at the Eubanks Welcome Center and one of the staff made our pictures on the front porch and we learned that they do have facilities for riders that may be passing through and would like to shower, however you must have your own towels and necessities. Once you leave Piedmont you enter a very scenic and picturesque area with a beautiful view of Duggar Mountain and the Southern Appalachians from the valleys strewn with cotton fields. Then you pass over a beautiful bridge with Terrapin Creek below, great place to take pictures. From here you enter the Talladega National Forest the ride from there to the state line was absolutely amazing with the trees sporting their fall colors and the trail wearing fallen leaves made for many great photo ops. We did have to be cautious as the trail was also dotted with black walnuts that had fallen but we made it without incident, to the state line. We again stopped to take pics then headed on into Georgia to ride the Silver Comet Trail. You may continue our trail adventure with my review on The Silver Comet Trail reviews.
Rode all but 8.5 miles of the Chief Ladiga Trail, east of Piedmont, AL to the GA stateline. I hope to complete the trail in early June. Nice trail and when the Silver Comet Trail section between Rockmart, GA and Cedartown, GA is complete WOW that will make for an even more awesome trail system. I stayed in Piedmont at the Key West Inn. I called and spoke with the front desk folks they assisted in providing me a ground floor so I could keep my bicycle in my room and gave me a rate that was better than the "on-line" rate. Looking forward to cycling the Chief Ladiga Trail again and bringing my mountain bicycle so I can ride the off road trails near the trail.
Thanks to a review by dgt101 May 2011 we followed his suggestions on route, accomodations and restaurants. It all worked remarkably well. Thanks!! The section between Cedartown and Piedmont is pretty remote. We did not see one biker on the trail either going or coming. The Eubanks Wecome Center is a gem, the volunteers are very helpful, nice rest facility and actually got a Ladiga trail map that was very complete, maybeTrailLink can post it. The trail section around Piedmont is pretty bumpy but was told by the Eubanks Center that is was to be repaved. We really enjoyed this trail and hope to do it again soon.
ldg40 April 2012
We chose to ride from Jacksonville to Piedmont in October solely based on the outstanding reviews for Solid Rock Cafe. In our group were ages 7, 10, 31, 33, 54, and 58. We stayed in Jacksonville the night before our bike trip and drove to Cooter Brown's Rib Shack. A hole for sure, but great food and service. We sat upstairs which was an adventure for the kids (poor waitress). Their ribs are delicious even without the sauce, and the sauce is outstanding! We bought 2 tee shirts and a bottle of bbq sauce to bring home. When we asked if we could have a discount if we bought those they gladly gave us 15% off our entire order! A significant savings for 7 people.
After our free continental breakfast we headed for the trail. It is wonderful! Completely safe. This stretch has no businesses along the way. There is a nice park on the starting 1/3 of the 13 mile section of this trail. It is pretty flat, but by the last couple of miles you definitely notice the slight uphill grade. We were thankful we had parked a second vehicle in Piedmont and not planned to ride back to Jacksonville!
After all that riding we were so happy to finally be at the much-acclaimed Solid Rock Cafe. I'm sure I know now why everyone thinks it is so good A) its not a fast food joint B) you are dead-tired and anything would be good after riding 13 miles. The staff was not very helpful in our selections even after we explained that we had planned the whole trip around getting to eat there! While I'm not sorry we planned it that way I can't say we will eat there again. Food was only so-so and the workers had the personality of a door knob.
My husband and I enjoyed a ride from Piedmont to the Georgia state line. It was great. Along the way we saw 5 turkeys, a squirrel, a great blue heron, turtles, a salamander, 3 puppies and a bobcat. The bobcat crossed the trail in front of us. We finished the day at the Solid Rock Cafe in Piedmont. In our opinion, they have the best fruit smoothies ever.
The next day, we returned to the trail w/ our son and two of his friends. Another trip to the state line and more smoothies.
It was truly a great weekend. We are looking forward to another trip further into fall.
Just rode the trail from Cedartown to Anniston this Memorial Day Weekend. Seven of us from Columbia, SC took to the journey and had a wonderful time. The trail is in excellent shape (some tree roots have rumpled the ashphalt in places), but overall good surface. We stayed at the Holiday Inn in Cedartown, and had a very accomodating staff. Clean rooms, nice pool, good place to stay. Had dinner at the BBcue restaurant (BYOB). Headed out for Anniston the next day. Stopped for lunch at the Solid Rock Cafe in Piedmont. Excellent peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich. Super staff, we all had excellent sandwiches and great milkshakes. Arrived at the end in Anniston, a bit anticlimatic though, all of a sudden a small street sign says the end of the Chief Ladiga Trail. We celebrated with a picture and headed back to Jacksonville to stay at the Hampton Inn. The Hampton is about a mile from the trail and a very nice place to stay after a long ride. The staff was excellent, the pool was very inviting, and the rooms were large and very clean. The perfect ending was a free shuttle bus to a restaurant called Heroes. They were prompt to pick us up and took us to the restaurant. The food was excellent, Ahi Tuna, Baby back ribs, fish, steak, anything you wanted and 37 beers to choose from. The next day we headed back to Cedartown where we had left our car at the hotel. Quickly cleaned up and drove to Frankies in Rockmart for lunch. Great Italian food, very tasty hot bread sticks and garlic sauce. Bicycle friendly and only a mile from the trail. I would reccomend this trail to anyone...very well maintained, safe, flat and scenic!!
Our group of 12 rode this trail starting at Esom Hill and riding west to Jacksonville State University April 2nd. This direction is slightly downhill but that's barely noticeable. Highly recommend stopping at Solid Rock Cafe in Piedmont for lunch. The food is excellent. She had just made a fresh batch of chicken salad when we arrived, and it was awesome. Good variety of sandwiches, drinks, and also ice cream. Also has a large room for dining if you have a large group. And its locally owned. Except for the wind, a nice trail winding through woods and farms. Two people in our group couldn't ride, so they did the car shuttle for us. I would recommend this trail.
We've made two separate trips on the Chief Ladiga Trail and loved it both times. In October 2010, we parked at Jacksonville State University and rode the 12 miles to Piedmont and then back. There is a small park just a couple of miles from Jacksonville State that made a nice rest stop and picnic on the return trip.
On a nice warm day in February 2011, we rode from the Visitor Center in Piedmont to the Georgia line, about 14 miles each way. Although both stretches of the trail were pretty, the section from Piedmont to the Georgia line is definitely the most scenic, with mountains, valleys and hardwood forests all around. We crossed Terrapin Creek a couple of times, stopping to admire the view of the valley and mountains in the background. There is a very nice campground that has just opened on Terrapin Creek with easy access to the trail, canoeing on the creek and hiking on the Pinhoti trail. Will definitely have to try it out next time. The trail does have some long easy grades on this section of the trail, but they are hardly noticeable. Can't wait to ride the trail again soon!
Our mission is to complete a bike ride in every state. For Alabama we choose the Chief Ladiga Trail. It was a good decision for this is a very nice trail that is well maintained and appears to be newly asphalted. We rode from Anniston and at times it appears to have a very slight uphill grade. The trail takes you right through Jacksonville State University which has a beautiful campus. We rode the trail on Oct. 4, 2010 and there was a slight chill in the air and a perfect time to ride. The trail was not busy, but we felt perfectly safe because the trail runs alongside Hwy 21.
To find the Anniston Trailhead go north from Anniston/Oxford on Al. 21 about 8 miles and then turn left on Weaver Rd. After one mile the trailhead is at the intersection of Weaver Rd and HollyFarm Rd.
My husband & I have only been bicycling for a few months now, but we absolutely love to bike the Chief Ladiga Trail. It is paved and smooth enough for an out-of-shape 40-something to go the entire distance (not all at once) and have a very enjoyable time! The scenery & surroundings are beautiful.
Started in Anniston/Oxford rode to Piedmont. Good beginners trail with plenty of rest places but the
best was in Piedmont Visitors Center. Where else can you meet interesting volunteers with much historical information, rest on porch in rocking chair of historical home, have ice cold water and indoor restroom.
They deserve an A+
My wife and I started our ride at the end of the trail in Anniston and rode to Cedartown, Georgia and then back. Total was 86.5 miles. We really enjoyed the Alabama portion of the ride. The trail is flat and rolls through some very rural areas. Once we left Anniston, we rode through Jacksonville, but chose not to stop. Once we got to Piedmont, we ventured a couple of blocks off the trail to pick up some drinks at a local convenience store. At this point, I was unaware of the Eubanks Welcome Center another mile up the trail. I did not go in to the EWC, but my wife took advantage of the neighboring bathroom. I anticipated being able to stop further up the trail for more water, but was disappointed there was nothing else on the trail until we reached Cedartown. (I guess I will plan accordingly and pick up extra drinks in Piedmont the next time through). The Gateway Park on the state line was a nice resting point with picnic tables and benches in the shade. The trail was maybe a little narrower in Alabama than in Georgia, but was very smooth and kept very clean. I enjoyed the fact that much of the trail is in the shade. I would highly recommend this trail to anyone looking to get out for an enjoyable ride.
Lucy and I cycled parts of the trail 3/24-25. Wednesday we started in Cedartown, finished the Silver Comet and cycled into Piedmont, AL. What a beautiful stretch from the AL state line to Piedmont (MP 13.6). That is what trail riding should look and feel like. Stopped at the Eubanks Welcome Center. What a nicely decorated and furnished place. Large indoor bathroom w/shower. Had lunch on the big front porch while sitting in a rocking chair. Life is good! The staff inside were very knowledgable regarding the trail or local history. Coming into Piedmont I had noted there was a trailside snack shack at MP 10.0 that was closed but probably open during the summer season. Would make for a fun stop! We had hoped to cycle to Anniston on Thursday but our luck ran out as the forecast called for heavy rain all day. We did manage to squeeze in some riding but decided against going too far away from town. We actually went approx. 5 miles when it started to drizzle. Got back just as the rain came down hard. Had a great lunch at the Solid Rock Cafe. I know we'll be back as we feel like we have unfinished business. Did drive down to Anniston (Woodland Park) to see the trails hopefully temporary end.
In summary I prefer the asphalt trail to cement as it has a more trail like feel but best of all is the crushed stone used on many other trails
If you pass through Jacksonville, you're less than a mile from the Square with Roma's Pizza, Java Jolt, other restaurants and a local bike shop. There is also a new Hampton Inn maybe a mile from the trail. Very soon the historic train depot will be reopened as a visitor's center and you will be able to get info about all the great hilly road and mountain bike riding in the area, from rides past rolling fields to serious climbs up to the Appalachian peaks.
Rode from Piedmont, Al to Cedartown Ga ..and back what a great trail 50 miles total.
Will go back...
The chief is great and the communities on the trail are very accomodating to cyclists, so if you want to support the communities please do business in them - like eat! My favorite place in Piedmont AL is 'Solid Rock Cafe' in the town, about 2 blocks off of trail. Great coffee/ice cream/sandwiches. Closes at 3:00 on Saturday and closed on Sunday. My favorite place in Cedartown, GA is 'Moores' that has just opened under new owner. Very gourmet type sandwiches at very reasonable prices. Open 7 days a week (only sandwiches on Saturday and only meat-and-3 on Sunday). To get there coming from AL, once you hit the main (only) drag in Cedartown, turn left and go 2 blocks down on left. These are small towns that could really use some tourist support.
As the head coach of Birmingham's (to our knowledge) only inline speed skating team, finding a place to train for our long distance outdoor events. The Chief Ladiga Trail is perfect for us! No cars, long distances, smooth pavement (with the exception of tree roots beginning to surface)... it's a speed skater's dream come true!
We've biked the whole distance to the Silver Comet Trail and, before the two trails connected, skated until we ran out of trail! I'm sure we were merely a few miles from the Silver Comet side and we would have gone the distance if able.
We all really like the company we meet out there, too. We seem to impress all the cyclists we encounter out there as we match or even exceed their speeds. I think my favorite section is the downhill before the little park located next to Federal Mogul. It allows us to achieve speeds of 25+ MPH with little effort... 34+ MPH if we intend to sprint.
I highly recommend this trail for EVERYONE! This is the perfect place for a family getaway if they're looking for something fun and healthy to do.
-Justin "SPDSKTR" Horn
My wife, kids and I rode the Chief Ladiga Trail last weekend. We did it in three days. On Friday, my two daughters, ages 9 and 10 rode from the Eubanks Welcome Center in Piedmont, Al (where we live) to the Georgia state line. It is 14 miles to the states line, and we actuall rode about 2 miles beyond that (this two miles was on the Silver Comet Trail, since it connects to the Chielf Ladiga Trail at the state line). We rode round trip, so my girls and I rode 30 miles on Friday.
On Saturday, we started at the Eubanks Welcome Center and rode the other direction, all on the Chief Ladiga Trail. We rode to marker 24, and beck, a total of 20 miles.
On Sunday we finished riding the CLT, we loaded up my truck with the bikes, and parked at marker 24, then road to the end ot the trail (marker 33, approx.), and back, for 18 miles on Sunday.
I will say we are hooked on the CLT, it is awesome. Our next goal is to ride the Silver comet trail, in Ga. Starting this Sat., we are going to ride the first leg of the trail
Another interesting not, my wife and i have decided to open up a Bed and Breakfast here in piedmont, for trail users. For more information go to www.chiefladigatrailbedandbreakfast.com.
It was so great I did it again! On July 8 I rode the full length of Ladiga/SilverComet. I overnighted in Smyrna, and rode back the next day. The trail is paved and complete all the way except for having to take city and county roads around Cedartown.
I went back this past Saturday and again rode all of Ladiga from Anniston to the state line and back. As others have said, the trails are amazingly clean, and for the most part are free from rules-breakers. I did have to contend with one 4-wheeler pulling a trailer full of kids. I've contacted the authorities about that. Oh... and there was one dog that wanted to have me for lunch.
Even though it is some distance from where I live, Ladiga/Silver comet is now my favorite riding place. We're planning a group ride this fall, which will be at a more casual pace so that we can relax and enjoy the scenery.
Wow! What an awesome trail Chief Ladiga is. A group of us just rode the trail this past weekend and I was just amazed at how nice it was to have a trail devoted to bikers and walkers. Our group started at Woodland Park and began our gradual climb through Jacksonville, Piedmont, and on to the Georgia state line. 32 miles of biking bliss. No cars to share the road with here. The last nine miles before reaching Georgia are the most beautiful with the creeks, mountains, and trees changing colors. There are some rough spots where roots are trying to pop through the pavement between Jacksonville and Piedmont, but other than that, the trail provided the safest training ride I've had yet. Not only will I be training on the trail again soon, but I plan to take my family for a safe ride on the trails along with a packed lunch. Get outdoors and enjoy this great trail soon!
On 11/3/07, I started at Jacksonville State University and traveled to Piedmont, Cedartown, and on to the end of the Silver Comet in GA. I thought the Silver Comet was complete, but it wasn't. To obtain a PDF document that has a map of the detour - type:
Otherwise, I thougth I was in heaven. It was 90 miles of pure delight, no cars trying to run me off the road, and best of all -- NO TRASH along the trails. I think this speaks volumns for cyclists.
I was a little disappointed that there wasn't some middle-of-the-road motels or hotels to stay in at Symrna. I stayed at the Holliday Inn Express for $85. The next day I biked back to JSU. It was a beautiful ride.
Don't forget to stop over in Piedmont and sign-in at the Welcome Center. Stop and chat with the folks that volunteer to work there.
One last comment! Some of the trail from Piedmont to JSU has some roots growing under the trial and will jar you if you aren't prepared. I'm personally donating money to help repair sections like this.
Happy Trails to all!
My husband and I starting at Woodland Park and made it to Jacksonville University. It was so beautiful. The leaves were starting to turn, and it was a beautiful day. We had a great time, and will be returning very soon to go further.
"Can't say enough about how great this trail is. The wife and I were the 2nd and 3rd riders to leave Piedmont, Al to Ceadertown, Ga after the final phase was offically opened. When you get to Ceadertown look for ""Molly Cue's"" for a great burger (closed on Mondays).The staff at the Depot friendly and helpful. Can't wait until the Silver Comet's open all the way to HOTLANTA!!! "
"I rode approximately 14-15 miles this morning (from Woodland Park to Germania Springs and back) and thoroughly enjoyed the ride, scenery, wildlife, etc. I will definitely make time to bike all the way to at least Piedmont in the future.
This trail needs to extend to Oxford. If the southern terminus were closer to I-20, who knows how many more people would discover this gem. Great trail."
"Today, 8/5/2007, Mary Ann, Skye, Chelsea and I rode the Esom Station to Cedartown part of the Silver Comet. On the way home, we did some checking on the Ladiga. It appears that all of the section from Terapin Creek at Borden Springs road to the GA line has been graded and is only awaiting hard surface. Looking at all of the keep out signs at each road crossing, it appears that the state does not want people riding although we did see several riding the unfinished portions. I really hope the Sept. finish schedule, posted on the Jacksonville College web site, holds true as I am eagerly awaiting the ride from Weaver to the end of the SC in Georgia. James"
Labor Day 2007. Rode from Piedmont to Cedartown on the newly finished asphalt trail. It was great except for dodging a couple of backhoes and road graders doing last minute work. Thanks to everyone who made this possible. This will be a plus for Alabama.
" Mary Ann and I rode the trail on Sunday, 08/19, from the Eubanks center to where Co road 70 parallels the trail, a distance of about 10 miles. There is but a small section left to be paved and the attendant at the center told us it would be complete by 08/25. Of course, take that as you will. The trail is ridable as the foundation for paving has been prepared and is quite hard. Even met a road biker on the dirt section. The trail is passable to the state line by fat tires. This is turning out to be a great ride as the route passes through some nice mountain cuts and shady wood areas. Now, if we can just convince the 4 wheelers to find somewhere else to do their thing, it will be great."
The Trail is now completely Paved. It runs from Weaver to the State Line Completely Paved.
"If you use the Hardees as a reference point to turn off of H'way 21, as I used to, it's closed. I almost missed the turn last time I went. So far I've logged 300 miles on the Trail. Every time there's a new experience. From helping a guy with a flat tire to seeing deer and turkeys and stray cats to having a lunch from the Grocery store deli, it's always fun."
"We have a couple of old mountain bikes that we use infrequently around the neighborhood. A friend recomended this trail as being flat and good for novice riders. My son, 15, and a friend of his joined me on this ride. We started in Weaver at 10:00 AM. This was March during spring break. The kids were out of school so we went on a Tuesday. The weather was perfect, cool and sunny. We rode 20 miles to Piedmont and had lunch before we rode back. The people we met in Piedmont were very friendly. The trail was well kept and a pleasure to ride. My son and friend were exhausted and slept in the car on the way home. This really got me pumped-up for riding. We need more trails like this. We will definitely do it again."
"Our very first ride on 'The Chief' was great. Very nice trail through Anniston, Jacksonville and Piedmont. When we got east of Piedmont into Cleburn Co. the trail is not paved so forget about riding your road bike through there. We rode hybrid bikes which were OK. As we got closer to the GA border, it was obvious that they are working to improve (pave) the trail. I would imagine that it won't be long before that whole section through Cleburn Co. will be paved. To the best of my knowledge...that is the plan. What a great ride that will be, from Smyrna, GA to Anniston, non stop, no chasing dogs, no back roads, just beautiful scenery on a great trail.
A nice place to stop for lunch in Piedmont is the Solid Rock Cafe. Also be sure to stop by the Visitors Center there too. It's right next to the trail.
When you're in Anniston, the place to go is 'Top O'The River' on McClellan Blvd. Try their fried pickles. MmMmm good."
Reconstruction of the bridge near Borden Springs is very near completion. Concrete has been poured and guardrails are starting to be installed. The contract for paving the final 9-mile section to connect with the Silver Comet trail in Georgia was let to a single company which is preparing the old rail bed for asphalt paving. Completion of the final 9 miles is scheduled for February 2007.
"I rode this trail from the southern most trailhead in weaver to the current end of the trail, the 4th bridge above piedmont,27 miles. There seem to be 2 or 3 inexpensive motels near the southern end. There are 2 parks right off the trail before Jacksonville, and some pleasant stops can be made in Piedmont-such as the old house used for the visitors center. The trail becomes more remote north of Piedmont, and pavement ends 5 miles out. I was able to continue on gravel with my 25x700mm road tires for about 4 miles, but is was rough. Waterfoul, turtles, fleeing wild turkey, and 4 picturesque bridges added to this bucholic setting..."
"I began at the Weaver, AL trail head mile maker 33. There is a nice area to park cars, a bathouse/restroom (yes showers) with two seperate areas for men and women. I rode the trail to mile maker 22.5 and rode back. The ride is nice and smooth and has several places to stop and rest. There is a park around marker 26 that is pretty nice. Around marker 25 you ride through the middle of Jacksonville State University, which is another good place to stop and look around. Each time the trail crosses a road, there are stop sign notifying the rider to stop; nice. I was lucky enough to see two deer; a doe and a nice buck. It was a great ride and someday plan to take the trail into Georgia and into downtown Atlanta. Ride On ! "
I don't know when I have had a better joy-biking experience. My two boys and I will remember the experience for the rest of our lives. Hope to return for more soon.
"We had a bit of trouble finding where to start in Piedmont, but after crossing the trail several times, we came to the Eubank Welcome Center (it is located near the intersection of Hughes and Daily Streets). Once there, we obtained a trail map and started toward Georgia.
The first five miles of trail is paved, but the next nine miles to the border was a mixture of ballast, dirt, gravel, sand, grass and water. That portion of the trail was the most fun because it passed through some beautiful, isolated countryside. The major trestle was a bit tricky, since it was missing a number of ties. Some of the worst spots were covered with plywood, but it was still an adventure to cross.
You know when you reach Georgia and the Silver Comet Trail, because once again it is a wide paved trail.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable way to spend a late September day. If you go, take plenty of water, since there are no facilities east of Piedmont."
the best trail i have walked
"I rode from the western trailhead at Woodland Park between Anniston and Weaver to the current eastern end a few miles past Piedmont. This is a very nice trail with little traffic on a Sunday morning in November. The asphalt surface is in good shape throughout.
The trail generally tracks through rural areas with Jacksonville and Piedmont being the only towns of significant size. I would not count on cell phone reception. Piedmont, in particular, seems to have embraced the trail with a welcome center, restroom, and small grocery store (store only open certain days of the week) along the trail. The scenery is nice, with a long, low mountain ridge off in the distance to the south for much of the trip.
From what I could tell, the scenery gets even more interesting toward the current eastern end. It doesn't seem to be clear when the last eight miles to the Georgia line (and connection with the Silver Comet) will be complete, but that remaining section in Clebourne County could be the most interesting in terms of scenery. I understand that there are several train trestles in that section, as well.
Overall, it's a very nice trail. I enjoyed it."
"I had intended to ride to Georgia, but forgot my map. So I truned around at H'way 70. Missed it by 3/4 of a mile. The trail surface varies after it turns to dirt and the gravel is a bit rough. Plus the trail ascends slightly to the east. Be sure and stop at the Trading Post and the visitors center, nice folks.
All in all it's a good adventure (the old trestle looks like something out of an Indiana Jones movie)."
"We loved the solitude of the Chief. The countryside is very beautiful and makes for a pleasant ride. The trail is wide-open with very little shade. Sheltered benches with bike racks are non-existent. Benches are few and far between. We enjoyed the Germania Spring Park at the half-way point of our ride.
The best part of the trail is east of Piedmont. Cleburne County needs to finish its section and become the most beautiful trail.
At this point, we rate the chief a 7/10."
"On May 15th, my husband, son and I went for a ride on the trail for our first time. It was so pleasant and enjoyable, we had ridden 15 miles before we knew it. We stopped at Piedmont as we weren't sure what to expect at the county line. We plan to ride that next.
I highly recommend this trail! "
Riding the Chief Ladiga on a spring March day was most enjoyable. The trail is well maintained; the trip across the Jacksonville State University campus was an interesting plus (spring practice was in progress!).
"The Chief Ladiga Trail is a beautiful trail. You can fish, swim, canoe, hike and camp along the trail."
"I rode this trail on Halloween weekend with the temps in the low 80's. For a Michigan native, this was a real treat. The paving ends about 6.5 miles from Piedmont but don't let that stop you. With a mountain bike you are in for a treat if you keep going.
The view from the bridges is spectacular. I stopped at the old trestle bridge that has a badly degraded surface -- be very carefull as the timbers are rotted. When this bridge is repaired, this will be a fantastic ride."
"My wife and I rode the Chief Ladiga Trail on November 9, 10 and 11. It is a great ride!"
"This is a good trail for getting some exercise -- that is for sure. Wear sunscreen or you will get burned and suffer from heat exhaustion. There aren't many places to eat, although there are a few gas stations.
In my opinion it would be a better trail if it wasn't paved and had more hills. BTW don't wear a helmet if you plan to ride the whole thing in summer -- you will have a heat stroke."
"Riding the trail with my 11 year old daughter made for a wonderful Father's Day. Although the trail from Jacksonville State Univ to Weaver doesn't pass any ponds or follow streams, the countryside was pleasant and peaceful. Rich's Cafe in Weaver provided a restful stop and some ice cream. There are also fast food restaurants in downtown Jacksonville, about a mile from the trail on Route 21. The 14 mile round trip was easy to cycle. Enjoy!"
"Six of us rode the Chief on Sunday. We drove from Valley, AL and had a great time and met some cool people from pennsylvania on a tandem. Got hot up in the day but kept it rolling and checked out the trail side snack bar the trading post & the cool park at the mfg. plant. Can't hardly wait till this trail meets the comet."
"I rode this trail last spring and it was paved all the way and pretty flat. It's difficult finding where the trail picks up again at Jacksonville University if you don't keep your eyes peeled. But the visitor center was great and the towns and parks along the way are interesting places to rest, shop, eat, and experience the local color. "
The paved multi-use CLT connects seven existing municipal parks beginning in Anniston. It is open during daylight hours and ridable almost the entire year. Trail users are excited about the trails immenent construction across the campus of Jacksonville University in late 2001. Another 4 mile segment has just been funded through the TEA-21 program which will extend the trail east of Piedmont an into the beautiful mountainous area of Cleburne County.
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