Fall is a great time to head to the outdoors around Montgomery. Cooler weather, fall colors and fewer bugs all make camping this time of the year a real treat. So pack up your crew and try one (or all three) of these excellent camping spots not far from Montgomery.
1. Wind Creek State Park
If you’re from the River Region, you know the picturesque (and massive) Lake Martin is a little less than an hour down the road. But did you know there’s a state park on-site that gives visitors a terrific camping option? Not only that, but it’s also one of the largest state-owned campgrounds in the country.
Wind Creek serves as the public’s access to a largely privately owned lake, albeit with several marinas and boat ramps available. This park has more than 25 miles of hiking trails and a huge shoreline to enjoy. Fishing is a major attraction to this particular campground. And there are actually trails for hiking, cycling and riding horses. Kayaking and canoeing is allowed, and a boat ramp is available for motor boats.
Hook-ups and concrete pads are a part of the campground system at Wind Creek, but more primitive camping is also an option. Bathhouses and playgrounds are spread throughout the 320 acre grounds. If you’re not interested in primitive camping, the park does have seven cabins available for rent, although the basics, including linens, are not available. A few are even pet-friendly.
2. Chewacla State Park
At nearly 700 acres, this campground offers tables, grills and shelters for those coming to stay overnight. Also on the property are a lake, playground and swimming area. Campers can choose from 36 hookup camping sites and 10 primitive campsites. Kayaks and canoes are also allowed, as long as they are hand-launched.
Expect a fairly flat 20-minute hike on the most popular waterfall trail, although there are some beautiful hills on the property and plenty of densely forested hiking trails. If you’re not up to “roughing” it, six stone cottages built by the CCC are updated and available for rent year-round, and even come with linen service.
Be sure to check out some of the gnarly mountain bike trails. But if you want to roam free, you should probably avoid weekends during Auburn University’s home football games.
3. Fort Toulouse/Fort Jackson
This campground typically goes by the name Fort Toulouse and has plenty of history (with historical markers) included. The park is located on the banks of the Coosa River and isn’t far from where the river merges to make the Alabama River in nearby Montgomery.
Speaking of rivers, this campground does have a boat slip if you’re interested in fishing in the waters close by. The banks are steep, so we suggest bringing a motorboat or fishing kayak if this is on your to-do list.
However, there are plenty of hiking trails, some marked and unmarked, as well as plenty of well-kept dirt and paved roads for leisurely biking. There are lots of campground sites with hookups, picnic tables and boathouses. Know there isn’t a playground, if that’s a must-do when camping with family for you.
When it comes to history, though, this park hosts some amazing events enlisting many period costumed re-enactors and historically accurate re-enactments and educational how-to’s. The French and Indian War Encampment and Frontier Days are two large annual events held here. Camping rules may be different during events, however, so be sure to call ahead.
When events aren’t going on, Creek Indian houses, Mississippian mounds (circa 1100-1400 A.D.) can be walked through and explored. There’s even a small museum at the visitor center.