Wind Creek State Park is located on 1,445 acres along the shoreline of Lake Martin near Alexander City in Tallapoosa County. The lake is popular with water sports enthusiasts, and the area around the park is filled with boats and personal watercraft in the summer. Waterskiing, boating, swimming, canoeing, and fishing are just a few of the activities offered by Lake Martin. The park's beaches, lakeside campsites, and picnicking facilities provide visitors with numerous areas to enjoy lake views and swimming. The park has a staff of 21 people and annual operating expenses of $1.5 million. It had 241,000 visitors in 2009.
Visitors can climb the spiral staircase to the top of The Silo, a former grain silo originally built on the site by local farmer Sid Hertzfield in 1915 that sits on the edge of the lake. A viewing platform at the top offers a panoramic view of the lake from a vantage point above the surrounding trees. The state initially converted the silo into a gift shop and then a nature center. Educational exhibits about native Alabama wildlife are featured in the park's nature center in the base of the silo.
Wind Creek State Park has the largest state-operated campground in the continental United States, with 626 modern campsites situated 320 acres on peninsulas that jut into the lake. The campsites, 187 of which are on the water, are arrayed around the lake and are all connected by paved roads; campers and other visitors can swim at the nearby beach. Waterfront campsites allow campers to pull their boats right up to their campsites. Each site features a picnic table, grill, running water, and electricity. Half of the campsites have sewer hookups, and there are also several bathhouses and playgrounds located throughout the camping areas. A meeting house near the playground is available for group gatherings. The park also has 16 sites exclusively for horse camping that provide tie-down areas. For visitors who prefer not to camp, the park also has seven cabins for rent.
Wind Creek facilities on the lake also include a marina, a store, and picnic areas with tables, grills, and shelters. Boat slips are available for rent as are pontoon boats and johnboats. Lake Martin's 40,000 acres are prime habitat for crappie, bluegill, and striped bass, and the abundant fish populations have lured the American Bass Anglers' Tour to the lake. Docks and a 210-foot fishing pier, located near the campground, provide land-based fishing opportunities. For anglers who prefer to fish from land, at least seven docks are available.
Two hiking trails wind through the park's hardwood forests and along the Lake Martin shoreline. The Campfire Trail traverses a series of rock outcroppings and is bordered with flowering dogwood and oak leaf-hydrangea in the spring; it follows a ridge of pine and hardwood trees and crosses a small creek. The Alabama Reunion Trail is a loop that passes by an old home site, hardwood bottomlands, stands of pine, and fields of ferns. The 10-mile long Jeff Reed Horse Trail is a dedicated equestrian trail that offers a variety of terrain, from hardwood forests to streams to Lake Martin shoreline.
Wildlife is abundant in the park, and visitors may see a wide variety of waterfowl on Lake Martin, including great blue herons, ducks, geese, and an occasional bald eagle. The park offers nature programs and naturalist-led tours focusing on Alabama's native wildlife and plants.
Thomas V. Ress
Published August 10, 2010
Last updated December 9, 2011