If you’re short on time but looking for a quick, lung-busting workout, then the trails sandwiched between the LJCC and Montclair Medical Center are just what the doctor ordered. Although the trail, known as the “Linda and Jack McDuffie” trail, is only 5 miles in length, it seems like much more, given the way the trails snake up and down the ridge line that separates downtown Birmingham from the affluent ‘burbs to the south. Don’t come expecting the same scenery you’ll get at some of the other destinations around town, because the sole purpose for riding at the LJCC is to put a hurtin’ on your legs and lungs.
What Makes It Great
Some of the locals like to brag about knocking out a quick loop in the same amount of time it takes their coworkers to scarf down a salad with sweet tea over lunch. Traditionally ridden counter-clockwise, this trail is tight and narrow and requires good bike-handling skills to navigate around the steep switchbacks (25 of them in 5 miles) and off-camber lines. These characteristics make it a great place for a night ride since speed isn’t ever an issue. The best approach is to park at the local bike shop, Birmingham Bicycle Company, and use the 1.2-mile road ride to the trailhead as your warm-up.
Once at the LJCC, ride between the main building and the tennis courts to the left, and you will find the trailhead. Downshift and spin off to your right, up the ridge for a counterclockwise loop. Follow the blue blazes on the trees in order to avoid the many rogue trails built all over the hillside. Some sections are long enough to amp up the speed and fly through the trees, while others are a little narrow and will require slowing down to prevent clipping a tree. Some switchbacks are tight, while some you can cruise right on through. This trail, fit for intermediate to expert bikers, snakes through the trees for a great outdoor ride without driving an hour outside the city limits to get away.
Who is Going to Love It
Dodging through the trees, peering down a hillside, swiveling around switchbacks, pumping uphill and cruising downhill at the LJCC Mountain Biking Trail will appeal to both intermediate to expert riders. Anyone looking for a quick, refreshing ride will not be disappointed here. Launching into the treeline and disappearing into the woods for a high-speed ride over natural dirt terrain is a thrill that will satisfy any mountain biker. Night rides, day rides or noontime cruises are each doable on this unique and fun track.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From I-20 West, take exit 132 for Montevallo Road toward US-78. Turn Left onto Montevallo Road, and the Levite Jewish Community Center will be on your right.