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Horseshoe Bend National Military Park

Horseshoe Bend National Military Park - BEST Places to Picnic

11288 Horseshoe Bend Rd.
Daviston, AL 36256

Visitor Information
(256) 234-7111

Explore Horseshoe Bend National Military Park

In March 1814, General Jackson's army left Fort Williams on the Coosa, cut a 52-mile trail through the forest in three days, and on the 26th made camp six miles north of Horseshoe Bend. The next morning, Jackson sent General John Coffee and 700 mounted infantry and 600 Cherokee and Lower Creek allies three miles down-stream to cross the Tallapoosa and surround the bend. 

He took the rest of the army - about 2000 men, consisting of East and West Tennessee militia and the Thirty-ninth U.S. Infantry - into the peninsula and at 10:30 a.m. began an ineffectual two-hour artillery bombardment of the Red Sticks' log barricade. 

At noon, some of Coffee's Cherokees crossed the river and assaulted the Red Sticks from the rear. Jackson quickly ordered a frontal bayonet charge, which poured over the barricade. Fighting ranged over the south end of the peninsula throughout the afternoon. 

By dark at least 800 of Chief Menawa's 1,000 Red Sticks were dead (557 slain on the field and 200-300 in the river). Menawa himself, although severely wounded, managed to escape. Jackson's losses in the battle were 49 killed and 154 wounded, many mortally.

Though the Red Sticks had been crushed at Tohopeka, the remnants of the hostile Creeks held out for several months. In August 1814, exhausted and starving, they surrendered to Jackson at Wetumpka, near the present city of Montgomery, Alabama. 

The Treaty of Fort Jackson ending the conflict required the Creeks to cede some 20 million acres of land - more than half of their ancestral territorial holdings - to the United States. The state of Alabama was carved out of this domain and admitted to the Union in 1819.

In 1829, partly as a result of his fame from the battles of Horseshoe Bend and New Orleans, Andrew Jackson was elected President of the United States; a year later he signed the Indian Removal Bill forcing all the tribes east of the Mississippi River to move to Oklahoma, a journey the Cherokees called the "Trail of Tears." The Southeast, cleared of most Indians and free from the threat of foreign intervention, thus became part of the United States and was opened for settlement.

Things to Do

Tour Road
This 3 mile road includes a one-way loop and skirts the edge of the battlefield and winds along the bend of the Tallapoosa River for which the park is named. The speed limit is 15 miles per hour and is strictly enforced. Most of the area available from the Tour Road is designated a commemorative area with recreational activities prohibited except exploration by foot. 557 Creek warriors and 49 U.S. soldiers died on this ground, making it a solemn experience.

A 2.8 mile long nature trail winds its way around the Battlefield and near Tohopeka Village, the site of a Creek Indian camp in the early 1800s. Those using the trail should wear comfortable walking shoes, a hat, a jacket, and sunscreen. Bring water and a snack. The trail is mildly rigorous.

Horseshoe Bend NMP offers two picnic areas. The larger is located near the Visitor Center and includes two covered shelters. The smaller offers uncovered picnic tables near the Miller Bridge Boat Ramp on Highway 49. 

Picnicking is not permitted on the battlefield or in Tohopeka Village site. Tables and shelters are available on a first come, first served basis only.

Over 15,000 people launch vessels at the Miller Bridge Boat Ramp each year to explore the winding Tallapoosa River. Primarily used by canoeists, the area near this boat ramp is extremely rocky with depths and currents dependent on adjacent Lake Martin. 

Information is available on canoe routes and access points. Camping is not permitted along the Tallapoosa River within the park.

Shorefishing is allowed at the Miller Bridge Boat Ramp only. An Alabama State Fishing License is required.

Bicycling is permitted on the paved Tour Road and the 12 miles of unpaved access roads in the park. The unpaved roads are quite rugged and require mountain bike or similar �fat tire� types of cycles. Check at the information desk for more information on unpaved roads. Cyclists should wear helmets and other protective gear at all times while riding in the park.

Cycling is not permitted on the nature trail, the Battlefield, Tohopeka Village, or any cross country locations. Bike racks are provided at the Visitor Center. Children under the age of 16 should be accompanied by a responsible adult when cycling in the park.

Horseback Riding
Horseback riding is not permitted on the battlefield or in Tohopeka Village. Check at the information desk for the status of unpaved access roads in the park.

Hunting and Trapping
Neither activity is permitted within Horseshoe Bend NMP. All park resources � plants, animals, relics, and artifacts � are all equally protected by federal law. Firearms are prohibited in the park.

Nature Study
Horseshoe Bend NMP is home to 354 wildlife species and 901 plant species. The bulk of the park�s natural resources are native to the area. Park resource specialists are actively working toward eliminating non-native species to help restore the area to its natural community at the time of the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1813.

Off road vehicles are not permitted in anywhere in the park at this time except by park staff for administrative use. This includes all unpaved access roads.

Did You Know?
On March 27, 1814, a deadly and decisive battle was waged at the Horseshoe Bend of the Tallapoosa River. Never before or since in the history of our country have so many American Indians lost their lives in a single battle.

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