Exploring Alabama’s Newest Mountain Bike Trails at the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve

The new mountain bike trails at the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve open this month.
The new mountain bike trails at the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve open this month. Jani Phillips
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Avid mountain bikers love the challenge of a new trail, and an impressive new creation at the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve in Pinson, Alabama, will certainly be drawing big smiles from riders as it opens this month. When the system is complete, more than 11 miles of off-road trails will be added as construction continues in the preserve.

These new mountain bike trails run through the heart of the preserve and allow athletes to enjoy the aesthetics of the forest and incredible vistas from the higher elevations in the system. Part of the trail runs along the bottom of a beautiful outcrop of 60-foot tall rock walls, giving way to some stunning scenery. The journey on the trail system ends beautifully, with slow gentle descents that will certainly encourage multiple loops.

Once construction is finished, riders will enjoy 11 miles of off-road trails at Turkey Creek.
Once construction is finished, riders will enjoy 11 miles of off-road trails at Turkey Creek. Janie Philips

The mountain biking trails will double as a location for Birmingham Southern’s cross-country meets and practices, which is being taken into consideration with the design of the system. The initial leg of these trails is a three-mile design consisting of an upper loop, a lower loop, and a bidirectional connector. The majority of the trails are singletrack with various changes in elevation and contours to the landscape. Easy running climbs are being combined with a grade that allows for both water run-off and an exhilarating challenge for riders.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Charles Yeager, resident manager at Turkey Creek, and his passion for the preserve was apparent. In response to strong interest from the mountain biking community, Turkey Creek is moving forward with the installation of the multipurpose mountain biking trail system, made possible by a grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. With the help of the Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers Association, the trails are being designed for maximum efficiency and minimum impact on the environment at the preserve.

The majority of the trails are singletrack with various changes in elevation and contours to the landscape.
The majority of the trails are singletrack with various changes in elevation and contours to the landscape. Jani Philips

Yeager made it clear that every effort is being made to maintain the integrity of the preserve above all else. Strict standards have led to more sustainable trails with minimal impact on the surrounding environment. The routes and grades have been very carefully selected and designed with water flow, safety, and nature in mind.

The initial trails in this development period are set to open before the end of the year. The grant is structured in such a way that allows for additional design and construction of the trail system in the future, eventually creating the 11-mile trail system complete with both singletrack and doubletrack.

No motorized vehicles will be permitted on the trails, but otherwise they are free and open to the public. People of all ages are encouraged to come check out the new trail system after Christmas. Turkey Creek Nature Preserve is hosting winter hours right now, which means that trails are open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. CST. Pedestrian only hours are Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. until 9 a.m.

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