Chewacla State Park is located in east-central Alabama in Lee County four miles west of the Auburn University campus. The park's 696 acres include 26-acre Lake Chewacla, a swimming area, hiking trails along two creeks, picnic areas with tables, grills, and shelters, playgrounds, and facilities for both tent and vehicle camping. The park's campgrounds are heavily used by campers on home-game weekends during Auburn's football season. In 2009, the park had 68,000 visitors, annual operating expenses of $329,000 and a staff of five people.
The current site of the park has been a popular recreation area for more than 100 years. A sawmill was located on Chewacla Creek, one of two creeks that flow through the park, from the early 1840s through the early 1900s. From 1873 until its closing, the mill was owned by W. W. Wright and became known as Wright's Mill. For many years, the deep pool area around the mill was a popular swimming hole. In 1935, the federal government purchased the land and established a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) work camp on the site. The CCC built six stone cottages in the park. These cottages are still standing and have been renovated and are available for rental year round. They feature stone fireplaces and modern conveniences. The CCC also built two miles of foot trails, an arched masonry bridge (still standing), two and a half miles of roads, a bathhouse, a custodian's dwelling, and a concrete and stone dam on Chewacla Creek, which impounded what is now called Chewacla Lake. In 1939, the state took control of the site and opened it as Chewacla State Park.
Chewacla has 36 modern camping sites with water and electrical hookups and 15 tent-camping sites. Shower facilities are available in all camping areas, and a playground with grills and tables is nearby, as are three large pavilions available for rent. Lake Chewacla is popular with visitors for swimming and boating and for fishing. The beach area features a diving platform. There is no boat ramp on the lake, but visitors are allowed to bring their own small non-motorized watercraft such as canoes or kayaks and launch them from the bank.
The park has eight hiking trails, a mountain biking trail, and a nature trail that cover a total of seven miles. Hiking options include a short interpretive trail and the strenuous Mountain Laurel Trail, which ends at scenic Chewacla Falls, a 34-foot waterfall created by water flowing out of Chewacla Lake over the CCC stone dam. Other trails cross and re-cross the park's two creeks and meander through mixed pine and hardwood forests and past rock formations. Deer, squirrels, chipmunks, red fox, and turkeys are often spotted on the trails. Trails along Moore's Mill Creek and Chewacla Creek offer hikers places to cool off during the hot summer months. Bass and bream are stocked in both creeks. In recent years, an expanding population of deer in the park has caused serious destruction of the park's vegetation.
Thomas V. Ress
Published April 20, 2010
Last updated February 6, 2012