Unbeknownst to many, there is a hiking and biking trail within Auburn University Montgomery (AUM). Adjacent to the campus runs a dirt road that is literally off the beaten path. Do you only have an hour or two while you're in the eastern part of town? Ride on over to the university for a quick workout.
Hidden behind the baseball fields lies an off-road trail rolling across partially wooded fields. Apart from AUM students and those enrolled in the Wellness Center and Outreach programs, it is surprising that not many locals are aware of its existence.
What Makes It Great
The four mile trail is generally flat with gentle inclines. Just under a mile into the entry path, it splits in two. To the left is a flat, relatively open fitness trail. To the right is a rougher, more wooded trail but is also more shaded. There are three color coded courses to select based on length and difficulty such as it is.
Warming up on Course A, marked in blue, will take one mile. Negotiating the more twisty Course B, marked in yellow, will take another mile. You can then go flat out on the longer straightaways offered in orange-marked Course C, which stretches for two miles. Going back out on the entry path makes for a useful cool down period.
There is not much shade to be had so plan accordingly, especially in the punishing Alabama summers. Be mindful of joggers and hikers who share the road.
By starting at the Emory Folmar YMCA soccer fields a bit further north at Brown Springs Road, you can extend your ride by another two miles. Fortunately, Brown Springs Road has a designated bike lane.
Who is Going to Love It
For Montgomery residents who are looking for a short workout in the relative safety of a university environment, AUM certainly fits the bill. Auburn police do patrol the campus regularly.
The difficulty level is appropriate for beginners and families alike. Advanced riders may find it technically unsophisticated but the fact that it is located within city premises makes it very attractive. Holler "War Eagle!" to the AUM students you pass by and you're sure to get a friendly smile in return.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
In Montgomery, find Atlanta Highway east of the Eastern Blvd towards Browns Springs Road. Go south on Brown Springs Road, right at the traffic circle, then first left at the baseball park. You can park within the AUM campus at any of the designated public parking spaces but the one near the AUM baseball fields is closest. Just don't make the mistake of parking in a faculty spot and risk getting a ticket. Leashed dogs are allowed. Open year-round from dusk until dawn, without entrance fees.