The historic Cherokee Bluffs Dam Railroad Trail and the John B. Scott Forever Wild Trail was constructed and is maintained by the Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail Association (CRATA), an all volunteer 501c(3), tax exempt organization.
The trails are built on the Forever Wild Gothard-AWF Yates Lake Wildlife Management area.
The trails are footpath only trails. No motorized vehicles, bicycles, horses or other pack animals allowed on trails. No alcohol, drugs, firearms, open fires or camping allowed.
Do not litter, deface trees or disturb plants, rocks or wildlife.
The trail is relatively safe, but hiking by its very nature carries a certain amount of risk. The landowner or trail association is not responsible for any injury, accident, or adverse health event while on these premises or as a result thereof. Hike safely.
Enjoy your hike.
The Forever Wild/Yates Lake property is located on Highway 50 just past the Union Community on the Tallapoosa River just below Martin Dam. If heading west on Highway 50 turn left onto Goldmine road. First left after crossing the dam.
The John B. Scott Forever Wild Trail is a 4.7-mile loop trail. It starts on the north end of the Goldmine Road parking lot; goes south along Yates Lake past Kudzu Bluff and then down the old Double Bridges Ferry Road switchback. Then south along the shore of Yates Lake to Yellowstone Creek. The trail follows Yellowstone Creek west to the Great Gorge and intersects with the Lowline Railroad Trail. The trail then follows Yellowstone Creek further west for about one half mile; then ascends Saddlerock Mountain (the highest elevation in Elmore county). Great views from Saddlerock Mountain.
Trail descends Saddlerock Mountain into the valley past a giant tulip poplar tree that is 16 feet in circumference. The trail then goes east and intersects with the Highline Railroad Trail and down to the north parking lot on Goldmine Road. The John B. Scott Trail is marked with 2x4-inch white blazes on trees and rocks both ways. You can hike it both ways by taking the Saddlerock Mountain Trail from the north parking lot. You can hike other options with the trail intersecting with the Lowline and Highline Railroad Trails.
The historic Cherokee Bluffs Dam Railroad Trail is built on the railroad bed that went from Kent, AL to build Martin Dam. The railroad was built in 1923 solely for the construction of Martin Dam by Alabama Power Company. It connected to the B&SE Railroad that went from Tallassee, AL to Eclectic, AL. When the dam was completed in 1926, the railroad was completely dismantled and the land reverted back to the landowners.
The railroad consisted of a low-line railroad that was approximately 6 miles long and a high-line railroad that was approximately 1 mile long.
The trail will use 4.3 miles of the lowline railroad bed and about one half (1/2) mile of the highline railroad bed.
The low-line railroad trail initially will be only 2.7 miles one way until a bridge can be built across Channahatchee Creek, then it will increase to 4.3 miles and a parking lot and trailhead at both ends.
Cherokee Bluffs is the only sport climbing area in central Alabama. There are a lot of potential climbing spots here. Routes are still being developed to make this crag a better climbing destination for central and lower Alabama.
Access to the climbing routes is a short hike from the parking lot. Hike the John B. Scott trail south for approx. 800 feet until you come to a post with a climbers logo on it next to wooden steps on your right. Follow the steps up and you are now below route #7 Roof-a-lufagus, currently left side of the cliff line. The rest of the cliff line is on the trail to the right.
When you leave please double back to the wooden steps/trail.
Please Stay On Trail to Avoid Erosion and Please clean up after yourself. Whatever you take in, be sure to take back out. Please sign the register at the kiosk and write a large C next to your name if you are a climber. Forever Wild would like to know who is coming to enjoy this awesome spot.
Climb At Your Own Risk
Billy Thrash, Wayne Carroll, Ed Rutledge and Jimmy K. Lanier