A history lesson on two wheels, Tannehill trails will leave you equally pumped on both adrenaline and curiosity as you ride your modern steed amongst 45 historic structures dating back to the early 1800s. Once the site of a Civil War industrial complex for the Confederate Army, this 1500-acre park is one of the most interesting rides in the state. The entry fee is done on the honor system, and before you ride make sure to get a copy of the BUMP (Birmingham Urban Mountain Peddlers) map, since the color-coded trails are a cinch to follow with the map, but challenging without.
What Makes It Great
While the trails are seldom crowded, the main area of the park is a madhouse on the 3rd weekend of each month (March-November) with “Trade Days” (a country flea market) so avoid the northeast trailhead on these days and use the other trailhead located behind the Iron & Steel Museum.
Warm up with a short, casual ride exploring the massive two-story stone furnace and the historic cabins in Pioneer Village. Then enjoy the 12 miles of purpose-built mountain bike trails with flow and rhythm that will keep you giggling like a schoolgirl. Launching out of either parking lot (although we suggest the northeast trailhead) will get the heart pounding as you quickly ascend 200 feet to the ridge and the interconnected loop system that straddles it. Drop off onto any one of the trails, and use your momentum to flow through every curve, dip, and jump along the way. The trails are bidirectional, but for the best flow ride, choose Cannon Ball and Iron Runner clockwise and Pig Iron counterclockwise. Then reverse your direction for a completely different experience. The trails are a hodge podge of styles, such as technical, speedy singletrack, meandering doubletrack, rocky and smooth.
Who is Going to Love It
Beginners will love the interesting routes and will get a chance to practice on the tougher trails without risking anything. There are trails specifically for intermediates (such as the Iron Runner Loop and Tri-County Marker Trail) that are perfect for a beginner trying to up their game or for an expert that would like a little easier trip. The seasoned bikers will enjoy the history and incredible scenery as they bust their lungs on the elevations and switchbacks. The Furnace Quarry Trail and is definitely for the more advanced riders and will give a biker of any expert level a thrill worth coming back for again and again.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Tannehill State Park is easy to find with the well-marked signs leading you right to the front entrance. If you take I-459 to exit 1, all you’ll have to do is follow the signs. From I-59 N, take exit 100 and follow the signs.
The daily admission is $4 for Adults (12 and over), $3 for Seniors (62 and over), and $2 for Children (6-11). Ages 5 and under are free.
If you find yourself returning frequently, you may want to consider an Annual pass, which is $50 for Adults, $30 for Seniors and $20 for Children.