With over 30 miles of bike trail, this is North Alabama's answer to the Tsali Recreation Area of North Carolina. Stunning views of the lake with nesting bald eagles are your reward as you pedal through 6,000 acres of rolling hills and waterfalls. Riddled with damage from the 2011 tornado outbreak, the park has rebounded thanks to a great partnership with SORBA and the local mountain biking community.
What Makes It Great
Start your weekend with one of the most popular routes in the park,taking the Golf Course Loop. A steep singletrack in sections until you hit the ridgeline where it circles Taylor Mountain, it provides great views of Lake Guntersville and easy pedaling once you reach the top. For the best views, though, be sure to check out Butler's Pass,a continuation of the same inclines and descents you just completed. Or, if you're tired of the uphill slop, spur off down the waterfall trail for a great gravity descent, passing some bluffs and rocky streams that might require a brief hike-a-bike except for those with advanced skill sets.
Fora longer ride, create a loop from the Cave and Tom Bevill Trails. You'll meander up and down hills and pass through mostly smooth terrain on the Cave Trail. A 2011 tornado toppled many trees along the Tom Bevill route on the north side of Ellenberg Mountain, but the trail's in fine condition, if a little rugged. With that ruggedness comes good views of the lake though. As you swing close to County Road 227, look for the fork leading across it to the Cutchemine Trail. It'll add four miles to your trip, but it's easy singletrack out and back along short creek, ending at a rollicking stream with great fall colors. Those looking for more of a challenge will enjoy the Terrell Trail, a more technical course with several steep portions.
At the nearby Bucks Pocket Day Use Area, take the primitive trail, two miles of rocky double track to beautiful lake backwaters of South Sauty Creek. Adventure seekers can continue on an old road several more miles to the Morgan's Cove area.
Who is Going to Love It
There's a lot here for the novice, though beginners will certainly delight in the ease of the Cutchemine and Cave Trails. Expert riders should consider the Terrell Trail and those trails ascending Taylor Mountain, where the steep singletrack won't disappoint. Or avoid the crowd, and explore the lesser used Bucks Pocket Day Use Area to Morgan Cove.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From Huntsville,take highway 431 south for 36 miles, turning left on highway 227. Continue 9 miles and turn left into the state park entrance.
Stay on trails. Dogs on a six foot leash. Bicyclists ride only on trails or sections of trails that are open to bikes. Bicyclists yield to hikers. Bicyclists 16 & under must wear ahelmet. Wait two days after rain before riding trails. Rockclimbers, boulderers, rappellers, & cavers check-in at ParkOffice. Take only pictures. Trails close 30 minutes beforesunset. Park closes at sunset. A full listing of Park regulations can be obtained from Park Office.