Kymulga Covered Bridge spanning Talladega Creek was built around 1860, and provided access to the Georgia Road, a Native American trade route used by frontiersmen and settlers coming into the area. The Grist Mill was built that same year for grinding both wheat and corn. The park is managed by The Childersburg Historical Preservation Commission as a venue for recreation, education, events and family fun.
The park is primarily a wooded area, with walking trails through the woods and along the creek. Protected from disturbance for more than 70 years, over twenty-five varieties of hardwood trees have been identified and marked by professional foresters. Included among the trees are the largest Sugarberry tree in Alabama and the largest cluster of White Oak trees east of the Mississippi River. Another unique feature is the large stand of Paw Paw trees.
The park is a migrant magnet in spring and fall. Work the stream and the adjacent woodland trails in the early morning and late afternoon, when bird activity is at its peak and when migrants are arriving or departing. Resident Eastern Towhees, Brown Thrashers, Red-headed Woodpeckers, etc., are joined by flocks of migrants. Winter brings mixed feeding flocks moving through the forest, including Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Brown Creepers, Fox Sparrows, Winter and House Wrens, Dark-eyed Juncos, and Ruby-crowned and Golden-Crowned Kinglets.
The creek attracts Louisiana Waterthrushes and Acadian Flycatchers from spring to fall. Eastern Phoebes and Belted Kingfishers can be seen all year. The trees along the stream boast a good number of flycatchers, including Great Crested Flycatchers and Eastern Wood Pewees. A variety of woodpeckers also forage here.
Common raptors are Red-shouldered and Cooper’s hawks, Barred Owls, and Eastern Screech-Owls. Look above the trees for soaring Red-tailed Hawks and vultures.
The fields and swamps along Grist Mill Road leading to the park also offer birding opportunities. Meadowlarks, bluebirds, and Bobwhites may be present in the fields. Swamp birds may include Prothonotary and Northern Parula Warblers from April to September, and Swamp Sparrows from October to April. Watch for Wood Ducks all year, and the denser, slow-water areas may attract Swainson’s Warblers in some years.
Directions: From US 280 in Childersburg in Talladega County (gas, food, lodging available), turn east on 1st Street/DeSoto Caverns Parkway/Highway 76. Follow DeSoto Caverns Parkway for approximately 2 miles, turning left on Forest Hills Drive and quickly right on Grist Mill Road/County Highway 180. Kymulga Covered Bridge and Grist Mill is 3.7 miles ahead on the left.
GPS: 33.334154 -86.299475
Kymulga Covered Bridge and Grist Mill
7346 Grist Mill Road
Childersburg, AL 35044
Phone (256) 378-7436 or if no answer (256) 378-5521 (City Hall)
Amenities: Parking, restrooms, picnic, trails, camping, fishing