Destination—Elmore County, Alabama
by Ron Wong
Lots of anglers like to live by the four F’s—Family, Fishing, Food, and Fun.
There is no better place to experience it all than Elmore County, Alabama. It is situated in east-central Alabama where the Alabama and Coosa rivers meet to provide an abundance of water-related activities.
Elmore County is characterized by small towns with plenty of southern charm and fabulous attractions or cuisine.
Wetumpka is the county seat of Elmore County. The bustling community is near the Alabama River, Coosa River, Lake Jordan, and Jackson Lake Island. All provide excellent fishing for several species, including crappie.
Visitors will also find festivals scheduled throughout the year and a variety of museums for the family to visit and enjoy.
The Alabama River is a world-class crappie fishing venue. In mid-February of 2022, the American Crappie Tournament trail held its first annual qualifying tournament on the river. Crappie fishing pro, Kyler Beckmann, won the 2-day tournament with 14 crappie that weighed 26.36 pounds – almost a 2-pound average. Kyler caught his fish at the mouth of a tributary in 8-12 feet deep water. He was vertical jigging wood cover.
While the anglers are on the water there are plenty of day trips available to the folks who may not want to fish.
Jackson Island Lake
A hidden gem of the county is Jackson Island Lake near Millbrook, Ala. It is a major slough/oxbow off the Alabama River complete with a concrete launch ramp for boaters.
Jackson Island Lake provides excellent fishing for several species of fish. It is also a great place to take the family for a picnic, on-the-water activities, hiking, and camping. Overnight camping and RV pads are available for camping devotees. Its protected waters are also great for kayak or canoe fishermen.
As you stroll through the property you will likely be greeted by a herd of native goats that like to mingle with the kids. They are extra friendly if you have a little something for them to eat.
A notable fact about Jackson Island Lake is that it was the location for Tim Burton’s classic movie, “Big Fish.” Remains of the fictional town of Spectre are still visible on the site.
“Overall, this is a fun and peaceful place to enjoy with your family in Elmore County,” said Desirae Lewis Jackson, Elmore County Commissioner.
Coosa River Adventures
Whether fishing or paddling for fun, kayak is very popular on both the Alabama River and the Coosa River.
The downtown area of Wetumpka features rapids through a rocky area that only kayakers or canoers can access. The shallow fast-moving water offers a more challenging ride for those looking for excitement. Kayaks and canoes can be rented for use on the local waters at Coosa River Adventures in Wetumpka.
Monster Mountain MX Park
There are some “can’t miss” sites and adventures for the family in Elmore County. One of those is the Monster Mountain MX Park at 3170 Burt Mill Road in Tallassee, AL. The park is a motocross racing and training facility.
The 280-acre park provides its visitors with several named tracks to ride. They include the Main, Supercross, GP Sand, Pit Bike, and Mini Bike tracks. Novices can ride 6 miles of beginner track and more experienced riders can take to GNCC quality trails.
“We have dreams of building a world-class motocross destination that is able to attract riders for practice, training and racing,” said Keith Kingsfield, owner of the park.
“As soon as you ride Monster Mountain, anybody will tell you, it is a unique track,” offered Megan and Mackie Jenkins, visitors to the park. “Monster Mountain just feels like home.”
Entry fees and more information can be found on their website.
Blue Ribbon Dairy
Another destination that Elmore County visitors can’t pass up is Blue Ribbon Dairy. This is the only Grade A dairy in central Alabama. Located at 5290 Chana Creek Road, Tallassee, Ala. The family-owned dairy farm processes milk for 22 nearby locations daily.
“Being able to live a childhood on a dairy farm and being with my grandfather all the time has helped me to do the daily business of dairy farming,” confirmed Michaela Wilson a 4th generation farmer. “We try to continue on and take care of our land so it can be here for the next generation. I have a little daughter and hopefully, she’ll want to milk cows one day too if we don’t scare her off.”
Blue Ribbon Dairy makes 20-plus premium ice cream flavors available to customers at their on-site corner store with more flavors added regularly. A favorite with the kids are the pony rides that the farm offers. There are specialty events like Easter Egg Hunts and Ice Cream Socials throughout the year. Twice a day the farm allows patrons to watch the milking of dairy cows and bottle feeding the calves. Birthdays and other parties can also be booked and celebrated on the farm.
For more information on the Blue Ribbon Dairy visit their website.
Gene Jones Tractor Museum
Located at 3121 Park Circle, Millbrook, Ala., the Gene Jones Tractor Museum, is an exhibition hall that displays vintage tractors, vintage kids’ tractors, Indian arrowheads, Elmore County memorabilia, vintage cookware, tools, and more. After hosting many visitors over the years, the museum’s founder, Gene Jones, has realized that the vintage machinery displayed at the museum can bring back fond memories for many people.
“My thrill is to have visitors look at an old tractor and say ‘my father had one just like that’ or ‘I grew up on a tractor just like that.’ We welcome anyone to come to the museum free of charge,” welcomed Jones.
Gene is the owner of the museum but he also provides personal guided tours to visitors. Gene’s passion for repurposing tractors and his knowledge of artifacts educates visitors about the various vintage items during their tour. Entry to the museum is free, but visitors must call ahead to schedule a tour at (334) 285-1700.
Wetumpka Impact Crater
Alabama’s greatest natural disaster occurred in Elmore County. Wetumpka, Ala. sits right on the bull’s eye where a meteor came to earth millions of years ago and struck an area that includes the Coosa River. Scientists say the area would have been under a shallow sea at the time.
The Wetumpka Impact Crater is recognized as one of the best-preserved marine impact craters in the world. There are seven educational viewpoints throughout Elmore County that are accessible by car.
“As a lifelong resident of Elmore County, I really had no idea how incredible the Impact Crater is until I took a tour recently,” exclaimed Lisa Van Wagner. “You don’t have to be a science student to appreciate the remarkable story of Alabama/s greatest natural disaster. The views from the tour are stunning, especially from Bald Knob. I hope everyone from all over the State of Alabama takes the opportunity to visit this remarkable landmark here in Wetumpka.”
The tours are self-guided and information can be viewed on this website.
Hampton Inn Wetumpka
Need a good place to stay when visiting Elmore County? Try the Hampton Inn Wetumpka. You will find one of the few lodging facilities around that have designated parking areas for boats with free electricity to charge the batteries.
They offer a full breakfast each morning to get your day started right. They also provide coffee and tea 24 hours a day at the coffee bar.
Add the clean and comfortable rooms and a convenient location and this property is hard to beat. The hotel is located just a few blocks from old town Wetumpka and its quaint boutiques for shopping and a variety of restaurants to choose from.
These are just a few of the wonderful and enjoyable attractions available to visitors of Elmore County, Ala. Great people, great food, great fishing, and great fun await you in Elmore County.