Hiking the Chinnabee Silent Trail to Devils Den
Name: Chinnabee Silent Trail
What: Easy to moderate 7.5 mile out and back hike along Coldwater Creek
Why: Beautiful outdoor adventures, singletrack hiking, waterhole swimming, family friendly, easy to moderate
Where: Just south of Anniston, Hwy 431 to state road 281. Park here, Follow trail signs to Devils Den
How: Expect to spend most of a day outdoors or overnight camping. Wilderness area, no bathrooms. Natural sources of water require purification.
The trail is named for the Boy Scout Troup 29 from the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, who, in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service, built the trail.
Technically, the trail is 6 miles each way, from the Lake Chinnabee Recreation Area to the top of Talladega Mountain winding beside Cheaha Creek, but the more interesting (and less difficult) way to hike it is to start at the trailhead three miles south of the Cheaha State Park Office (on Alabama 21) and hike northward toward the Lake Chinnabee Recreation Area. Hiking the trail in this manner shortens it by two miles, making the trail 7.4 miles out and back instead of 12 miles.
The trail is one of the most popular hiking paths in Alabama, and once you've hiked it, you know why. The trail earns every bit of its popularity, from the impressive rock outcroppings to the fast-flowing streams and magnificent waterfalls. This trail has possibly the most varied terrain of any trail in Talladega National Forest. From the beginning at Lake Chinnabee (750 feet altitude) to Talladega Mountain (2,100 feet altitude) there is a 1350 foot gain, because of this elevation gain (particularly in the last mile), the trail receives a rating of "more difficult" by the Forest Service The link below is the driving route we took to get to the parking area at the Chinnabee Silent Trail trailhead. You may want to take a "straighter" road via highway 431 and state road 281 through Cheaha State Park.
You'll want to follow the trail signs Northwest to Devil's Den. As of August 2013, there are a few places where some flooding has has caused trees and debris to fall across the trail. It was easily passable, and 95% very pretty and a good trail.