Friday, March 26, 2010

Chief Ladiga Trail in Alabama

First, so you don't make the same mistake I did, Chief Ladiga is pronounced with a long i like in tiger.
However you decide to pronounce it, you need to ride this trail. It is 33 miles of easy ridin', smooth-sailin', soul-soothin' fun.
If you combine it with Georgia's Silver Comet Trail, (the two trails meet @ the state line) you've got over 100 miles of pure pleasure.
To ride the full trail, you've got two choices of starting spots. One of them is between the towns of Anniston & Weaver in Alabama. The other one is at the Georgia/Alabama state line. However to start from that end, you'd have to ride at least a portion of the Silver Comet Trail. And when I say "have to," I mean "get to."
When I rode the Chief Ladiga Trail, I started in Smyrna, GA and rode the full Silver Comet Trail first. I overnighted in Cedartown, GA. On the way back, I spent the night in Rockmart, GA.
When riding east to west, the first town you'll come to on the trail is Piedmont, Alabama. I highly recommend you stop at the Eubanks Welcome Center in Piedmont. It's located right beside the trail. It has trail maps, souvenir t-shirts, extremely friendly people, and more information than you can shake a stick at.
The Chief Ladiga Trail is much less rigorous than the Silver Comet Trail with just about as many road crossings. Be cautious at these road crossings since they aren't always noticeable to drivers. One of the "Trail Rules" is "Users must stop at all crossings." Bicyclists and hikers put the you in users.
This trail is appropriate for all kinds of bikes, but I found that my rented recumbent bike was perfect. The amount of traffic on the trail was steady but not at all crowded. The closer you get to Weaver, the more people you see.
You can easily do the whole Chief Ladiga Trail in one day on a bicycle. If you want to include the Silver Comet Trail, you'll want to plan overnights along the trail or riding the two trails in sections. If you stop a lot for pictures, snacks, and sight-seeing, like I do, three days  will probably be just about right.

This is definitely a destination trail and the people I spoke with were glad they put the Chief Ladiga Trail on their list of must-do destinations.


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