Nicknamed the Heart of Dixie, Alabama is located in the southeastern portion of the United States and offers some of the most wonderful recreational opportunities in the region. The state, which is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south and Mississippi to the west, features a number of different terrains and elevations, as well as an abundance of gorgeous trails and landscapes that only add to the overall mountain biking experience.
In the following article we will briefly identify five of the most-loved mountain biking paths in the state of Alabama, and underscore the many attributes, obstacles and challenges that make them so popular among riders throughout the region.
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Beaver Creek/Forever Wild Trails
Located in the historic city of Dothan, Alabama, the Beaver Creek/Forever Wild Trail is a recently opened (2015) track that will eventually encompass roughly 11 miles of total track distance. Phase 1 is the family friendly beginner trail and pump track. It features an approximately four-foot wide path, built with IMBA expertise, which when completed will link separate trails together by a series of skillfully placed bridges.
The ideal path for a peaceful family ride, the Beaver Creek/Forever Wide Trail offers all the beauty of the American South without the pain and strain that is often associated with the more technical tracks in the region. The trail is mostly flat, save for some subtle undulations and minor obstacles, making it the perfect beginner’s track for those looking for some much-needed exercise in a beautiful outdoor setting.
Although stretching only 5 miles in total distance, the ATC trail is the perfect spot for intermediate riders—a trail featuring a bevy of unique obstacles and side events that offer riders hours of off-road entertainment and excitement. The ATC Trail consists mostly of tight twisty single track, but there are also some wider fire roads and double-track areas where daredevils can really put the hammer down and pick up some heart-pounding speed.
Some of the obstacles riders will encounter on Mobile’s ATC Trail include massive berms, bridges, jumps, steps, rooted sections, and even an old wrecked airplane. Currently, the ATC Trail is only open to members of the Coastie Mountain Bike Club, but because membership is free, there is no obligation for those riders who wish to challenge this well-groomed trail—a trail that is always expertly maintained.
Blevins Gap Preserve
Situated in the city of Huntsville and maintained by the Land Trust of North Alabama, the Blevins Gap Preserve is literally an expert’s rider’s dream. Although only spanning roughly five miles in length—ten miles when ridden as a loop—the course is loaded with difficult technical challenges, all set against a beautiful backdrop that offers some of the region’s most scenic views.
The Blevins Gap Preserve Loop includes a wide variety of landscapes, impediments and off-road excitement. Noted as one of the top single tracks in the state—as profiled by riders and mountain biking publications—the course regularly draws thrill seekers throughout the region, both from Alabama and neighboring states. The downhill section of this popular track incorporates many of the popular obstacles that riders enjoy, including a number of switchbacks, jumps, rocks and dirt berms, inviting cyclists to repeat the course again and again at the conclusion of every lap.
Chewacla State Park
Located in the college-friendly city of Auburn, Alabama, the trail system at Chewacla State Park is considered an “all-around” course, with sections colorfully marked for every level of rider: beginner, intermediate, advanced and even expert. Beginners will thoroughly enjoy the relatively flat and meandering portion of the course—a section abounding in natural southern beauty, including lakes, local flora and a cool forested valley.
Intermediate and advanced riders at Chewacla State park will be taxed by the trail’s many rugged climbs along the bluffs, but the apex of said climbs transforms the course into a downhill, pedal-spinning freefall, with plenty of obstacles and technical challenges, including advanced log jumps, dips, roots and rocky outcroppings.
Chewacla State Park features a main directional kiosk and new heated facilities, including restrooms, indoor and outdoor showers, indoor changing stations, bike wash stations, and air-compressors for keeping tires properly inflated.
Coldwater Mountain, located in gorgeous Anniston, Alabama, is a 30-mile trail system that consists of an easy one-mile beginner’s loop and 29 additional miles of track designed for intermediate and advanced riders. This popular loop, which encircles Coldwater Mountain and takes full advantage of the unique terrain and high elevation, is rapidly becoming one of the more popular mountain biking locales in the South.
With only a modest elevation gain of roughly 850 miles and a manageable downhill descent, the Coldwater Mountain Trail is the perfect combination of technical know-how and heart-thumping action. Riders looking for some calorie-burning, yet relatively easy climbs will be rewarded with a fairly speedy descent, complete with some minor obstacles that are guaranteed to please. Featuring both double and single track, the trail has long captivated riders and continues to bring them back again and again.
image credit: Coldwater Mountain Facebook page