Wade Nature Preserve - Trail Running

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About

Summary

Wade Nature Preserve offers paved greenway sections, easy and rugged trails and visitors can enjoy the Toyota Environmental Pavilion near the parking lot off Pulaski Pike (west side) only minutes from downtown Huntsville. A prescription for Huntsville’s lucky population of more than 186,000 outdoor enthusiasts; hiking, trail running and horseback riding.

Written by

Loretta Lynn

Distance

3.0 miles

Trails range from .6 to 2.14 miles, mostly one way, a few rugged trails and some rock climbing available, only park in the preserve that allows horseback riding

Destination Distance From Downtown

4.1 miles

Difficulty

2 of 5 diamonds

1-2 - Fairly easy trails, for most ages and experience levels.

Time To Complete

1 hours

1/2 hour to 3 hours

Seasonality

All Seasons

Naturally, spring and fall offer the most color and new growth, however, summer and winter can be a cooler time for hiking.

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Clean up after your pet and always keep on leash/lead. Horses are allowed in this park.

Fees Permits

No

Review

Intro

Wade Nature Preserve offers paved greenway sections, easy and rugged trails and visitors can enjoy the Toyota Environmental Pavilion near the parking lot off Pulaski Pike (west side) only minutes from downtown Huntsville. A prescription for Huntsville’s lucky population of more than 186,000 enthusiasts, enjoy the outdoors daily, whether on a quick workout during the day, a respite to relax and rejuvenate the mind and body or fun for family, friends or teams to explore the 843 acres.

Wade Nature Preserve has two trailheads making it convenient for runners, hikers and bikers to enjoy the nearby amenities of an outdoor classroom and gym. Wade Nature Preserve is the only park in the preserve that allows horseback riding.

What Makes It Great

A soft bed of pine needles cushions your step on Wade Mountain Greenway Trail, 2.1 miles. The earthy aroma fills your nostrils and venture further down a trail that began wide with grass and then narrows to a hard packed soil with jutting rocks. The Greenway (paved) ends about nine-tenths of a mile. Trail runners will delight in the challenge of a rocky, steep, uphill climb. Less than ½ mile in, the Greenway ends and meets up with Fossil Bench and the Bostick Trail. Runners and hikers will appreciate the bench strategically placed at this intersection. Left, down the Bostick trail, 1.5 miles, gives a flat rock shelf for runners to jog through an inspiring habitat. At the power line cut take a sharp right, follow the trail markers uphill, it levels out, a few more turns and meets up with Wade Mountain Trail.

Elevation begins around 900’ and climbs to 1200’ affording runners a test of endurance giving remuneration of spectacular backdrops and galvanizing your day. Continue and it meanders from 1500’ to 1200’ then back up before connecting with Devils Racetrack and Shovelton Trail, 0.6 miles, which takes you to Harris Trail, 1.12 miles. Devils Racetrack, 1.7 miles, a popular trail, runs from Spragins Hollow Trailhead up over Piney Loop, 0.6 miles, crosses Rock Wall, 0.7 miles, passes Smithers Spring, climbs to the top, makes a loop and then meets up with Wade Mountain Trail. Devils Racetrack, comprised of clay and gravel mix, is mostly uphill from the east side parking lot. Bostick meets up with Fossil Branch, 1.2 miles, and back down. This trail has unique, bright red fungi along the path. Fossil Branch meets back at the bench you first came upon. Descend this steep hill to the trailhead.

Who is Going to Love It

With more than eight miles of trails visitors are rewarded and inspired with beautiful scenic views of the city, nature at its best with hardwood trees, (white ash, cedar, hickory and scrub glade), limestone boulders and wildlife. Hikers and runners will encounter sinkholes, springs, wildflowers and caves as they briefly escape city life, which occasionally can be heard when the birds aren’t singing. This unassuming preserve is a great walk in the woods for beginners and experts to explore repeatedly for a plethora of reasons and seasons.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Wade Mountain Trailhead: Western Parking area and trailhead: 6946 Pulaski Pike NW Huntsville, AL

Spragins Hallow Trailhead: Go up North Memorial Parkway to get to the trailhead on the east side,

Dogs on leashes, No fees, donations are appreciated. 

Location

Wade Nature Preserve

34.817793, -86.598103

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