Hays Nature Preserve - Hiking

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Hays Nature Preserve is an abundant park bursting with outdoor activities for all ages. Locals and guests can partake in hiking, paddling, a kids playground, picnic areas, a bike greenway and equestrian trails, with an educational safari for any one.

Written by

Loretta Lynn


2.0 miles

10+ miles of trails, including two-mile greenway,

Destination Distance From Downtown

10.4 miles


1 of 5 diamonds

Easy trails, mostly level terrain, great for all ages. If you're looking for a challenging hike, you wont find it here, but you will find a beautiful area to hike, run, jog, bike, horseback ride or paddle. Perfect for kids with interesting educational safari element.

Time To Complete

1 hours

1/2 hour to all day


All Seasons

Great any time of year, possibly busier in the summer with more kids in the park. Seasonal changes offer variety of wildlife and educational opportunities.

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Fees Permits


Topographical Map

Hays Nature Preserve Map



Hays Nature Preserve is a popular, diverse park with an abundance of activities for almost everyone -- with a great measure of education and history thrown in disguised as fun. Adventures for kids, families and adults can be experienced different every time they visit the preserve. With hiking trails, greenways, creeks and river, a younger kids' playground and an educational center, this park is a treasure trove for Huntsville locals and visitors.

What Makes It Great

Locals with horses can explore the equestrian trails as they traverse the 100+ acre woods buffered by a golf course. Unleash your muse and paddle The Flint River as it flows down through the park, great for novices to experts. No reason to be intimidated here with 10+ miles of well-maintained trails.

Bicycle riders breeze through the one-and-a-half mile Big Cove Creek Greenway, north of the parking area,  and then the Flint River Greenway, 2 miles, as they peddle through scenic trails crisscrossing the river, alongside the golf course and jump near the equestrian trails, ending at the Old Hwy 431 parking trailhead, where the horses also are staged.

Adults and kids will relish the diverse habitats they encounter as they meander through the Beaver Dam Run and the Tupelo Tree Path, learning about sloughs, bottomlands and swamps through the hardwoods. 

A favorite park due to the proximity of residential homes and businesses where many people can drop by for a picnic lunch, meditate with yoga in nature, enjoy a brisk run, go fishing in the lake or bring kids to play on the natural playground.

Who is Going to Love It

Outdoor enthusiasts and nature deficit individuals will savor every moment at Hays Nature Preserve and want to come back again and again. The smooth, multi-purpose trails give runners and bikers a great workout.  The Flint River provides a serene easy paddle for novices and intermediate paddlers. Equestrian riders can escape from the real world in the 100+ acre woodlands. Kids revel in the natural playground, fishing in the lake and exploring the bottomland and swamp habitats. Families and groups will find picnic areas to get together for fun and recreation. 

This park is a gem of Huntsville and is combined with  Goldsmith Schiffman Wildlife Sanctuary.  

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Hays Nature Preserve is open year round, including holidays from Dawn until dusk. Flooding may occur in some areas after heavy rainfall. Do not cross  flowing water in roads.

The Preserve is located on S. U.S. 431 east of Huntsville. Turn left past mile marker 324 if you are going south, or turn right 0.9 mile past mile marker 323 if you are going north on U.S. 431

No fees to enter or use the park. Dogs are allowed on leashes. Please clean up after your four legged family member so others may enjoy the park.


Hays Nature Preserve

34.649597, -86.457945

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