Yes, we realize this is a heck of a long way to travel for a bike ride, but trust us, if you have the time, it’s well worth the effort to get there. Named for the Creek Indian Leader who signed the 1832 Cusseta Treaty, the Chief Ladiga Trail is a flat, smooth and well-maintained surface that is a great spot for the whole family to enjoy. Runners frequent this trail as well as cyclists, and because visitors are so respectful of the trail, it is clean, stress-free and safe. Go for a day-trip or spend the night in the area for multiple days of fun.
What Makes It Great
The Chief Ladiga is a ‘Rails-to-Trails’ project that begins in Anniston, extends to the eastern border of Alabama and connects with the western terminus of the Silver Comet Trail in Georgia for a lovely 32.5-mile cycling trek. Connecting the two trails amounts to over 90 miles of paved trail, making it the longest of its kind in the United States. Even if you’re not looking for a century ride, this trail makes for a perfect day trip to take the family on a ride where you’ll enjoy solitude, beautiful scenery and very little traffic of any kind (vehicles as well as other trail users). Not saying this trail isn’t used by other folks, but its location is a trek for most people to get to and therefore keeps the crowds to a minimum. Best of all, the trail has gentle elevation changes as it was once a railway and had the limitation of a 2% grade. In layman’s terms, it’s flat as a pancake.
If you start in Anniston at Woodland Park, there are restrooms, parking lots, and easy access to the trail. Head northeast on the trail and you can choose to ride 1 mile, or nearly 100. Whatever your desire, the Chief will treat you to a relaxing day on two wheels. Grab a map before starting and be sure to plan your trip prior to leaving, since facilities on the trail are spaced miles apart and you’ll want to have enough food and water to get you to the next town. Our favorite ride is to leave from Woodland Park, pedal 7.2 miles to the Jacksonville State University and have a nice picnic under one of the soaring Oaks on campus before returning back for almost 15 miles.
Who is Going to Love It
The Chief is a great place for a solo or family ride. Because of its smooth, flat nature, it is a route that can easily be navigated by anyone from children to seniors. Take plenty of water for your trip, and plan a picnic for a lovely hours-long time in fresh air and sunshine. Much of the trail is shaded, so you won’t be likely to overheat in the scorching Alabama summer. Because this trail is mainly flat and inclines are barely noticeable, don’t expect a challenging hilly terrain. However, it is the perfect place to work on speed training or go for a leisurely spin. Pros and amateurs alike will find Chief Ladiga Trail a pleasure
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From I-20, take Exit 185 and continue North for about 10 miles through Anniston on Route 1/Quintard Avenue. Bear right on McClellan Blvd/Route 21. Continue for just a few miles, then take a left on Weaver Road. Continue about another mile, then take a left onto Holly Farms Road to the Woodland Park Trailhead.