Huntsville & Decatur Area Trails

The Huntsville area has several good places to ride. Here is some information to get you started. As always the best source of info is the Local Bike Shop. I once heard it said, if the LBS does not have any trail information, then there may not be any place to ride and you may not need to buy a mountain bike from that shop.

Some Local Places to Ride

 Monte Sano State Park  Wade Mountain
 Huntsville Land Trust  Wheeler Wildlife Refuge

Monte Sano & Land Trust

The only restrictions I know of are up on Monte Sano. Mountain Bikes are to stay off of the upper trails, with one exception. There is a trail bikers can take out to O'shaughnessy. This trail connects with two other trails called Warpath Ridge Trail and Mt. Mist Trail, that head down the mountain to the lower trails. The lower part of the park contains about 30 miles of trails. Two that I know which will connect you to the Land Trust trails. Most of the trails are rocky and full of roots. Not all of them are singletrack, but to me that is all part of the fun. I have been on worse trails and what is mountain biking without them. I highly suggest that you get a map from the ranger station on top of the mountain before riding the trails. Or hook up with one of the locals. Many of the trails look alike and it is easy to get confused and end up on trails not open to bicycles. Rangers will give tickets for riding on non-bicycle trails. Bike trails are also closed for three days after a storm to allow trails to dry. Elevation ranges from 1200 feet to 1600 feet ASL. The local riders like to park at a place referred to as the blockade. If you travel up Bankhead Parkway, you will come to a really sharp turn. Right in front of you will be a concrete slab blockade. That is the best place to park. Land Trust trails are the same as the lower trails on Monte Sano. Some up climbing and some really cool fast downhills. There is some single track there to. The Land Trust has about 7 or 8 miles of trails. Elevation is about 800 to 1200 feet ASL. All trails on the Land Trust are open to mountain bikes. For a map of Land Trust Trails visit their web site.

One main thing to remember, on all trails is to be kind to Hikers. They have the right-of-way. Don't cause us to lose our right to ride on the mountain. It did not come easy.

Wade mountain is part of the Huntsville Land Trust holdings. Now this is a trail. Fine singletrack with a couple of areas that are rocky and rooty, but mainly smooth and fast trail. You climb up the mountain 1 1/3 miles, but it is worth the climb. At the top of the mountain is a cool Indian Racetrack you can ride, which you really have to experience to appreciate. Then you have a nice fast ride down the mountain. The trail is presently only 3 miles, but always worth doing twice. Great trail. A must ride. More trails are planned for the future. For more information on Wade Mountain trails contact Bicycles Etc., 8100 S. Memorial Pkwy, Huntsville, (256)881-6947, they sponsor the trails there. For a map visit the Land Trust web site.

Wheeler Wildlife Refuge

Wheeler has no mountain bike trails as such and no single track. A quick phone call to the Wheeler office yielded the fact that all of the roads are open to bicycles. I was told occasionally certain nesting areas may be closed to everyone. When a road or area is closed it is plainly posted. What you will encounter here is 15 to 20 miles of flat dirt roads and beautiful scenery. You may also encounter deer, snakes, turtles, beavers, insects you didn't know existed and once in every hundred miles, another cyclist. This is a great place for a workout, family ride, or to satisfy your jones for a ride after a rain when the State Park is closed. During hunting season the place can fill with hunters. Information about the season can be had from the Wheeler office or web site.
How to get there from Decatur: There are several places to park and access the network of roads. To get to one of them. Drive North on Hwy. 31 which is alt 20/72. You will be leaving Decatur. Cross the bridge spanning the Tennessee River (Wheeler Lake) and drive the full length of the causeway. Just at the end of the causeway on the right side of the road is a small pull-off and a gated road. This is one good place to park and can be accessed from the North on 72 also.

How to get there from Huntsville: From Huntsville take Interstate 565 to exit 8 (Madison exit) towards "Triana". This road is called Wal Triana. There is a Shell Station to your right and is a good place to get last minute hydration. Follow this road for about 3 miles. You will drive past Chrysler, Boeing, and go through two trafic lights. When you come to a stop sign, take the left road. About a mile down this road you will come to an intersection. Go straight ahead through that intersection. Another mile down the road there will be a "Big White House" on your left. Just past that house will be a left hand turn. Take that left. Drive about 3/4 of a mile to a fork in the road with a sign that says "Wheeler Wildlife Refuge". Take the road to the left of the sign down the gravel road. About 0.7 miles a parking lot will be on the right. Park here. From this point there are two good routes for bike rides. But remember, one of the keys to having fun on Wheeler is to explore. The first is to ride up back the gravel road, the way you came in. When you get back to the "Wheeler Sign" continue on what would have been straight ahead. Just past the driveway to the trailer on the left you will see a dirt road. Follow this road around the swamp. Ride 7 miles and you will come to a "T" make a right on this road. It will bring you back to the parking lot. The total for this loop is 7.8 miles around. This is a really nice loop. The second is a 12 mile loop from the parking lot. More information on this loop and maybe a map coming soon.

More Wheeler Roads to Ride:  The Blackwell Swamp area of WWR has miles of dirt roads and wide paths through the woods. There is a two mile section that runs right along the TN River. Other points of interest are a loop road around Blackwell swamp Rock House Cave lookout (on Refuge Rd near Rockhouse Rd) Refuge Rd is dirt and connects Rockhouse to Blackwell Swamp parking area.
To get there: go south on County Line Rd a couple miles past the airport turn left on Jolley B Rd. This road turns to dirt in than a mile. Follow a little further to a large parking area on the right. You will have passed one end of the swamp loop on the way in on the left. The other end comes into Jolley B about a half mile further on.
From the parking area head do west on the gated dirt rd 1.5 miles to T. Right takes you out to New Hope Rd (paved) left takes you across causeways to Refuge Rd (dirt) and on to Rockhouse. Keep making left turns and and follow the river east and you'll end up back at the parking lot. Along Refuge Rd you'll pass several dirt trails going off into the woods. One of these is a real nice run through the woods that takes you back to Jolley B close to the TN River.

Links to more Trail Info

Spring City Cycling Club - trail info & much more
Huntsville Land Trust - see the trails pages for maps etc.,
Wade Mountain - a good map and a little information
Wheeler Wildlife Refuge - general info, no bicycle info or map
Local Bicycle Shops - a list and phone numbers & addresses

Last Updated: 8/8/2011
Thanks to the local Huntsville riders who gave their input for this page.
Please send corrections, additions, or comments to
Aaron's Alabama Mountain Biking