Travels In Alabama: 10 Natural Wonders

Travels In Alabama: 10 Natural Wonders

A list of places around the state to showcase just how beautiful Alabama is and why it's worth visiting.

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Alabama isn't always given the recognition it deserves when it comes to tourism. Unless they are going to the beach, many people just drive on through on their way to somewhere else. So, I have compiled a list of places around the state to showcase just how beautiful our state is and why it is worth visiting.

All of these places showcase the state's natural beauty, and I hope they inspire you to take a trip to see this wonderful state.

1. Cheaha State Park, Clay and Calhoun Counties

Kaitlyn Glenn

This park is near and dear to my heart because I grew up about thirty minutes from it. Mt. Cheaha is the highest point in Alabama at 2,407 feet. The views are spectacular and overlook the Cheaha Wilderness and the Talladega National Forest. The park has several hiking trails, and there are also a few surrounding it in the Cheaha Wilderness including two with multiple waterfalls. One trail is covered by a boardwalk so as to be handicap accessible and ends at Bald Rock, a popular lookout spot for visitors. For something less traveled, I recommend the Cave Creek trail, a moderate to strenuous 6.7-mile loop.

On this trail, you will pass McDill Point, pictured above, which looks out on the Talladega National Forest and the site of a plane crash. You can also connect with the Pinhoti Trail on Cave Creek. The Pinhoti is a long distance trail that starts in Alabama and connects to the Benton McKaye Trail which runs into the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. Cheaha offers wonderful views for the novice and seasoned outdoorsman.

2. Sipsey Wilderness, Lawrence County

Michael Hicks https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/legalcode

The Sipsey Wilderness is part of the Bankhead National Forest in northwest Alabama and is named after the Sipsey River which is one of the last free slowing, wild rivers in Alabama. It is the third largest wilderness east of the Mississippi. Brindlee Mountain comprises much of the area, but the Sipsey Wilderness' nickname is "The land of a Thousand Waterfalls."

Dozens of waterfalls dot the landscape, and you can also find many lookouts, sinkholes, and caves in the area. There are twelve trails that traverse the area that is popular with hikers, and many canoeists and kayakers enjoy floating the Sipsey River.

3. Neversink Pit, Fackler

YangTS https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/

Neversink Pit is a gigantic sinkhole in northeast Alabama. The hole is forty feet wide at the top and 162 feet deep and is one of the most photographed sinkholes in America. Many rare plant species grow inside the pit, and several bats also call it home. Waterfalls form after rainstorms throughout the year, and in the winter, ice sheets from inside the hole. Neversink is open to experienced rappellers and cavers, but they must obtain a permit to enter the pit from the Southeastern Cave Conservancy who owns Neversink Pit.

If spelunking or climbing is not your thing, the view from the top is still worth the trip. Neversink can be accessed by a somewhat strenuous hiking trail. Directions, information, and permits can be found on Southeastern Cave Conservancy's website.

4. Little River Canyon National Preserve, Fort Payne

Kaitlyn Glenn

Little River Canyon really needed two pictures, but I picked this one because it shows how large the canyon is. The reason it needs to photos is that there is a large waterfall that drops into the canyon. Little River Falls is 45 feet high and is an impressive site to see. it is easily viewed from the observation deck near the entrance to the park. Sometimes, you can even watch brave kayakers plummet over the falls. The area is a very mountainous region, and the Little River wore down the mountain until it formed the canyon and is the only river in the country that begins and ends on top of a mountain. A scenic drive encompasses the rim with plenty of places to pull over to look at the canyon or have a picnic. There are also some trails inside the park and mountain climbers can enjoy descending and ascending the walls of the canyon.

5. Natural Bridge Park, Natural Bridge

Kaitlyn Glenn

Natural Bridge is so nice they named the town after it. This small park is home to the longest natural bridge east of the Rocky Mountains. It extends 148 feet and is sixty feet off the ground. You can access the bridge by an easy nature trail that winds through the woods. While you can not walk across the bridge, you can walk under it and explore the shallow cave that the rock formation makes. On your way to the bridge, be sure to keep your eyes open for Indian Rock. The rock is shaped like a Native American's face, similar to the one on buffalo nickels.

6. Gulf State Park, Gulf Shores

faungg's photos https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/

Gulf State Park is one of the most visited parks in Alabama. Its white sandy shores attract many visitors every year. Vacationers can enjoy two miles of beaches as well as twenty-five miles of walking and biking trails and a golf course. The park features a fishing and education pier that is a popular spot for fisherman as well. The park also offers several beach and lakeside cottages and a campground 1.5 miles from the beach. Gulf Shores is a perfect spot to just sit and relax and enjoy the sun.

7. Lake Guntersville State Park, Guntersville

Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash

Lake Guntersville is a popular spot for avid fishers, but it offers more than just fishing. The park also has thirty-six miles of hiking trails, a beach along the lake, a top-notch lodge, and a golf course. If you are looking for something a little bit more adventurous, the park has just recently opened a zip line called the Screaming Eagle. The zip line gets its name from the many eagles that live around the lake. They are truly a beautiful site to see soaring through the air.

8. Noccalula Falls, Gadsden

Library of Congress

Noccalula Falls is another impressive waterfall in north Alabama. The waterfall drops ninety feet into Black Creek below. The falls name is derived from Noccalula, an Indian princess who is said to have lived nearby. Legend has it that Noccalula jumped over the falls to her death after her father would not let her marry the warrior that she loved and tried to force her to marry the chief of a neighboring tribe. The falls is also surrounded by a park that features a campground, five miles of hiking trails, a mini golf course, a small zoo, a train, and several examples of early settler buildings.

9. Cahaba River, North Central Alabama

Garry Tucker, USFWS

The Cahaba River is the longest free-flowing river in the state and starts north of Birmingham and ends near Selma. It is a beautiful river that is popular with canoeists, kayakers, and fishers. It is also a hotbed for biodiversity. The river is home to 125 fish species, 35 snail species ten of which only live in the Cahaba, and 50 mussel species some of which are rare. Perhaps the river's biggest attraction and what it is best known for being the Cahaba lilies, pictured above. The Cahaba River is the best place in the state to view these flowers which bloom from May-June. West Blocton hosts the Cahaba Lily Festival every year to celebrate these beautiful flowers.

10. Coosa River, Central Alabama

Kaitlyn Glenn

The Coosa River flows from Tennessee and Georgia and ends just below Wetumpka, Alabama where it meets the Tallapoosa to form the Alabama River. It is a shallow and fertile river which means it is a very productive breeding ground for fish and in return fishing. The river is also part of the Alabama Scenic Trail which goes all the way to Fort Morgan on the coast. Because of this, it is a popular kayaking and canoeing location. Perhaps the most popular area for these sports is on the section from Jordan Dam to Wetumpka. There are many class II and III rapids in this section, and it also offers a feature unique to Wetumpka. Wetumpka was the site of the only meteor crater in Alabama. The meteor was the size of a college football stadium and left a very sizable crater which Wetumpka is built in and around. You can see evidence of the strike along and in the river by the way the rocks were pushed up by the blast. Wetumpka also hosts a kayaking festival every year.

As you can see, whether for a day trip or a week-long vacation, Alabama has something to offer all levels and types of outdoor people.

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.
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Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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9 Things To Do In Nashville If You Have No Idea What To Do

Trust me, I was just as lost as you are.

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Nashville is a great place packed full of lots of really cool smaller great places that all offer their own unique take on the city. If you're like me, though, and have a hard time ~planning ahead~, then this list is exactly what you need. I went around and got lost and tried all the coolest hidden gems in Nashville so you don't have to. Here are some of my faves.

1. Milk & Honey Nashville

Located in the Gulch, Milk & Honey is the coffee shop/cafe from my dreams. It's decorated perfectly for any cute insta story and y'all when I say their coffee is amazing I mean it. Try it. It's so worth it, and pretty easy to find, too! You can browse their menus here.

2. Frothy Monkey Coffee Shop

While we're on the topic of coffee shops, Frothy Monkey is a MUST try. Trust me, I've drunk A LOT of coffee in my lifetime, and theirs is up in the top 10 of the best. They have other good things too, but if you're a coffee person like me, this place is heaven, I promise. It's right off 12th Avenue and within walking distance of lots of other funky little shops.

3. Two Old Hippies

This is the coolest little shop you will ever go into. Tucked away in the Gulch, it's within walking distance of Milk & Honey, so stop by after you grab a coffee and browse. They have everything from handmade clothes to cool books to refrigerator magnets. This is one of my all time favorites and I know you'll love it too.

4. Baked on 8th

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I fell in love the second I saw the cute sign. Baked on 8th has a great atmosphere and even better little pastries, cookies, and cakes. Their cookies were so good it took every ounce of self-control I had to not go back and order 2 dozen. 12/10 would recommend if you're into Instagrammable locations and bomb sugar-filled desserts.

5. Burger Republic

I get it, you've gotta eat more than just cookies and coffee. As far as restaurants go, this place is home to the best burger I've ever eaten, plus the atmosphere is pretty laid back and great, and it's an awesome place to go and watch pretty much any sporting event happening anywhere relatively close to Nashville. Browse the menu so you can know exactly what to order before you even get there here.

6. Fido

In case you haven't noticed yet, I'm a HUGE fan of coffee shops and cafes. Fido was the most perfect little spot. It boasts about its gourmet coffee and great food, and rightfully so. It's also got the coolest funky vibe that makes you just want to sit and stay all day, and it's in a great location and decently close to Vanderbilt.

7. Go see some murals

Nashville is FULL of these bad boys. I know y'all have all seen the countless pictures of those people with big butterfly wings. Well, there's more and they're all around the city and on the side of pretty much every building. It's cliche, but tbh it's also kind of a must do while you're there.

8. Walk around Centennial Park and the Parthenon

This is a really nice place to visit if you're looking to spend a couple of hours away from the concrete of the city, and the Parthenon is a full-scale replica of the one in Greece.

9. Ride one of those little scooters around and explore

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I'm not gonna lie to y'all. I did not ride the scooters. They seem kind of dangerous and I know without a doubt that if I tried to get on one it would not end well for me, the scooter, or anyone within a 3-mile radius. With that being said, though, I did see a lot of people riding them and it looked pretty fun, plus it's a great way to see the city without walking too much. So if you just want to explore, hop on one of these bad boys and pray.

Nashville is a great city full of tons of tourist attractions and amazing musical history, but if you find yourself stuck with nothing to do for a couple of hours before your next walking tour, you're sure to find something on this list that you'll love. So, you're welcome.

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