Joe Wheeler State Park Trails
Joe Wheeler State Park is located alongside the Tennessee River in Rogersville, Alabama. It's one of the most scenic spots in Northwestern part of the state. The trails will
give you an excellent hiking experience as you soak in the view of Wheeler Lake. I hiked/jogged these trails with my late friend Jonathan Bryant many times over the years, so
JWSP trails have a bit of sentimental value to me. I have no doubt you will enjoy your experience here as well.
News: By the end of 2019 JWSP will be adding 8 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. The new trails will start around First Creek boat ramp and will loop around towards the Marina giving hikers/bikers scening views of First Creek.
To access the trail heads: From the main park entrance you just drive a few miles and there will be
a sign directing you to the day use area. Go past the basketball/tennis courts and then turn left at the stop sign. The trail head is just before you get the shelter 3. The trail head at
the Lodge is located at the end of the Lodge parking lot.
The trail heads for the new mountain biking/hiking trails are located at the First Creek boat ramp and also on the back side of the marina parking lot.
Trail/park maps are available in the lobby at the lodge.
The trail head for the trail on the south side of Wheeler Dam is in the parking lot. The parking for this trail is about 0.5 miles after you cross the dam.
The trails here are easy to hike. The terrain is easy to tackle, however some parts of the trails contain some fairly steep hills. You don't have to do any climbing or cross any difficult terrain. Just be prepared for the hills!
Hiking the Trail:
The original trails at the main park go between the day use area and the Lodge. If you start at the day use area trail head I suggest hiking the red trail loop until you connect
to the yellow trail. The yellow trail will take you on the bluffs along side the Tennessee River. At the end of the yellow trail you will end up at the food plot. There are usually
a lot of deer in this area. The yellow trail will connect to the blue loop trail here. Take a left on the blue loop trail. This will eventually take you around to the mouth of
First Creek. Once you are near the mouth of First Creek you will find a great spot to view the river. From there you can back track or continue on the blue loop which will
take you the the Lodge/Marina area. Hiking the red trail, yellow trail, and blue loop will give you about a 3 mile round trip.
If you hike the new mountain biking/hiking aka "awesome" trail at the park then my suggestion is to start at the First Creek boat ramp and enter the trail via the Jimmy Sims Birding Trail located on the south side of the boat ramp. This was originally a 0.5 mile trail until the new 8 mile trails were added to the park. From here you can hike the entire loop (8 miles) or can do an out and back hike if you are looking for something shorter. I like starting at the boat ramp and hiking to the marina by staying along the shoreline. After reaching the marina trail head you can hike along the road until you reach the golf course parking area. You can re-enter the trail from there and begin hiking the upper loop which will return you back to the First Creek boat ramp. This one is an 8 mile round trip.
If you want to walk the 2.5 mile trail south of Wheeler Dam, there is only one trail head. Just walk through the trail entrance at the wooden fence and go from there. This 2.5 mile loop will take you near the Tennessee River, and through a few open fields. It offers a few scenic views of the water! Its a very nice trail to hike!
Location of the Alabama State Champion Trees The Joe Wheeler State Park Blue Loop trail is home to three Alabama State Champion Trees. A "State Champion" is a tree that happens to be the largest in it's species in the state of Alabama. This is determined by the Alabama Forestry Commission by using a certain formula. There are a total of five state champion trees in Lauderdale County. Here are the locations of the three located at JWSP. The September Elm is located about 100 yards from the lodge trail head. The Bitternut Hickory is located on the section of the Blue Loop that takes you to the mouth of First Creek, and the Chinkapin Oak is located on the backside of the Blue Loop. For more information on Alabama State Champion Trees you can visit The Alabama Forestry Commission website: http://www.forestry.alabama.gov/ChampionTreeProgram.aspx?bv=5&s=1
At the Joe Wheeler trails you will get an awesome view of the Tennessee river. At the main park you can see Wheeler Dam in the Distance. At the trail south of the Dam you will get a great view of Wheeler Dam and also of the river. On the blue loop, yellow, and red trail at the main state park you will see a lot of deer and other wildlife. The view of the Tennessee River is incredible!
The trails are maintained very well by the park staff. One of the best maintained trails in the area!
The trails at the main state park offer bathrooms at the lodge(in the lobby). At the day use area there is a bathroom, picnic tables, and a drinking fountain near the Tennis/Basketball courts. There is also a camp ground for RV's and Tents.