Ready for outdoor summer adventures? The North Alabama Land Trust has just the place.
“North Alabama has so many convenient opportunities for outdoor recreation,” said Melanie Manson, marketing director for the Land Trust. “Spending time in nature can offer a relaxing break from our busy modern lives and all it takes is a short hike or bike ride. The Land Trust nature preserves provide beautiful spaces to enjoy some free adventures with family and friends.”
Manson said the Land Trust of North Alabama offers seven public nature preserves with more than 70 miles of trails for hiking, biking and other outdoor recreation.
“Relax, get some exercise, and connect with nature as you explore our free public preserves, open dawn to dusk daily,” Manson said. “Remember to take water and a map to plan your route.”
Trail maps and directions for all Land Trust nature preserves can be found at: www.landtrustnal.org/explore.
The preserve areas include:
Monte Sano Nature Preserve
One of the largest urban land preserves in the U.S. is only two miles from downtown Huntsville. Manson said the 1,100-plus acre natural escape features more than 22 miles of trails for hiking, biking and outdoor recreation.
Land Trust trails on Monte Sano offer varying levels of difficulty and also connect to trail networks managed by Monte Sano State Park and Burritt on the Mountain. Manson said the Monte Sano preserve has an abundance of native wildflowers, karst features, historically significant sites, sinkholes, waterfalls and more.
Blevins Gap Nature Preserve
Here you’ll find 12 miles of hiking trails, a wet-weather waterfall, rocky terrain, and Huntsville’s best spot to enjoy views of Jones Valley. However, during the road construction project on Cecil Ashburn Drive, there will be select trail closures for the safety of hikers. These closures are due to proximity to the blasting area.
Manson said for safety, all hikers should pay attention to signage and do not hike into closed areas. Five minutes prior to blasting a series of five long sirens will sound. “If you hear this signal, please use caution and avoid areas near the construction zone,” she said.
Harvest Square Nature Preserve
Providing more than 2 miles of trails, including an accessible, crushed gravel trail is what you’ll find at Harvest Square. Manson said it features two naturally-stocked ponds which provide opportunities for fishing, with an Alabama fishing license.
Wade Mountain Nature Preserve
In northwest Huntsville you’ll find this preserve which features three trailheads. From the parking lot on Pulaski Pike, follow the paved greenway path about 1 mile. As the paved pathway ends, the Land Trust trails begin. Manson said this is a good place to start if not familiar with hiking.
Green Mountain Nature Preserve
In south Huntsville this area features one trailhead and eight trails. Manson said Alum Hollow Trail is 1 mile and is the main trail in the Green Mountain network. It follows the bluff line. This trail is easily navigable with the exception of a steep downhill climb at the end leading to the final destination, the Alum Falls waterfall. Nearby is Alum Cave – a rock overhang that Native Americans once used for shelter.
Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve
A 371-acre property located just to the east of Huntsville on U.S. Highway 72 has 3 miles of trails open and ready to explore. Manson said there are plans to develop 10 miles of trails. In addition to hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders are also welcome on these trails.
Manson said the Land Trust also offers planned events and experiences on its properties throughout the summer.
Concerts at Three Caves
Enjoy a night of music at a truly unique outdoor music venue while supporting conservation in North Alabama.
Manson said anyone can become a member and enjoy tickets for all Land Trust events. On June 15, the concert will feature Mother’s Finest with opening artist Unknown Lyric. On Aug. 10, the concert will feature Kenny Neal with opening artist Microwave Dave and the Nukes.
For concert tickets and information, visit: www.landtrustnal.org/concerts.
Tuesdays on the Trail
Manson said the Summer Environmental Education Series for Kids is held each summer to discover our area’s unique biodiversity protected by Land Trust preserves.
“This summer, local experts will lead explorations of topics including archaeology, water ecology, animal tracks, tree identification, and more,” she said.
Reservations are required and space is limited. Manson said the programs are free for Land Trust members.
For schedule and registration information visit: www.landtrustnal.org/tuesdays-on-the-trail/.
Manson said anyone can become a Land Trust member for as little as $35 a year. For more information visit: www.landtrustnal.org/join/.