Unbeknownst to many, there is a short hiking trail within Auburn University Montgomery (AUM). Adjacent to the campus runs a dirt road that is literally off the beaten path. If you're pressed for time, and just need a short hike while you're in the eastern part of Montgomery, AUM is a viable option.
Hidden behind the baseball fields lies an offroad trail rolling across partially wooded fields. Apart from AUM students and those enrolled in the Wellness Center and Outreach programs, it is surprising how few of the locals are aware of its existence.
What Makes It Great
The four mile trail is generally flat with gentle slopes, just enough to keep your exercise program up and going. You can actually extend the length of your hike by two miles by starting at the Emory Folmar YMCA soccer fields a bit further north at Brown Springs Road. Similarly, you can extend your hike even further by walking along the AUM campus sidewalks.
As you enter the trailhead, it divides in two. To the left is a flat fitness trail. This is paved and conveniently marked every half mile. To the right is a rougher, more wooded trail. There are three color-coded courses to select based on length and characteristics. These are designated as follows: Course A in blue is one mile long; Course B in yellow is also one mile long; and Course C in orange is the longest at two miles. The entry path itself is nearly one mile long. These trails do overlap each other. Course A is shaped like an atomic bomb in the middle. Course B includes more twists and turns good for agility training. Course C arches over both, incorporating some fairly long straightaways so you can lengthen your stride and stretch those hamstrings.
Beginning with Course A would make sense as a warm up, progressing to the more technical Course B, then going for distance on Course C to finish, ultimately cooling down on the entry path. The trails lack any significant elevation change, more of what I would call undulations in the ground. There is some shade provided by the overhead foliage in places. A bridge crosses over a small stream that typically dries out in the summer. Watch out for cyclists sharing the road.
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 fits the bill. Auburn police do patrol the campus regularly.
The difficulty level is appropriate for beginners and families especially if starting in Course A. Expert hikers can max out by taking on all three available courses. Whatever you decide, shout out “War Eagle!” to the students you meet along the way, and you are sure to win lifelong friends.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
In Montgomery, find Atlanta Highway, head east of the Eastern Blvd towards Brown 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 an orange-marked faculty spot and risk getting a ticket. Leashed dogs are allowed. Open year-round from dusk until dawn, without entrance fees.