Sometimes scoffed at by its more vertically mature neighbors, Alabama does in fact, have great mountain biking—a year round riding season, dedicated bike trails, and motivated organizations promoting the sport, contributes to its growth in popularity. We’ve complied a list of five of our favorite rides here in Alabama. You won’t gain the most vert, find the fastest descent, or longest ladder bridge, but you will find perfectly tacky clay, solitude, and impressive humidity levels.
These five trails are scattered throughout the state, giving riders the perfect excuses to hit the road for a little sampling of every trail in Alabama, each great in it’s own unique way.
1. Tannehill | IMBA Trail
Recently added on to and maintained by Birmingham Urban Peddlers (BUMP), the IMBA Trail is a perfect sampling of the singletrack at Tannehill State Park . Thoughtful switchbacks, well placed berms, and tacky clay dirt make up a wonderful Alabama riding experience. We recommend starting at the furnace quarry trailhead, working your way up Pig Iron, and linking up with the IMBA Trail and back down the unridden segment of Pig Iron to top it off. There is a small $3 fee to enter this park, and a quick dip in the creek is highly encouraged.
2. Anniston, AL | Bomb Dog
The longest downhill in Alabama doesn’t need a long description of why it’s one of our favorite trails. There are two different trailheads for this riding area: Coldwater and Anniston. Most riders use the Coldwater Trailhead for easy access to Bomb Dog. For a real challenge, park at the Anniston Trailhead, work your way up Chillowee, which brings you right to the top of Bomb Dog; this give you a longer ride option with more variety. Trails are directional, there is no entrance fee, and you can ride with your dog (watch out for snakes). Be sure to check out the gravity trails on the opposite side of the road at the Coldwater Trailhead. Fill up at Cheaha Brewing Company after you’ve caught your breath.
3. Oak Mountain | Jekyll and Hyde
A great mixture of berms, technical rocky sections, and tight rolling singletrack through hardwoods and pines. This trail is best accessed from the top of the mountain via the Red Road, or having your buddy drop you off at the top. Oak Mountain is Alabama’s no longer hidden gem of mountain biking—lots of great scenery, easy access from Birmingham, and good infrastructure. There is a small $3 fee to enter the park, and bike riders must make sure to ride the red trail blazes to avoid the hiking only trails.
4. Lake Lurleen | Taska Trail
Just north of Tuscaloosa, Lake Lurleen is the perfect escape for a quick ride. Unlike the neighboring trails at Munny Sokol, Lake Lorleen takes you deep into the woods and away from all the hustle and bustle. Start on the Lakeside Trail which takes you to the dam and connect to the Taska Trail. The trail makes its way around the lake with a few smaller loops (Storm and Five Oaks) branching off to the side for riders who want to add more length to their ride. Riders must be aware there are no alternative options once committed to this trail, and they must compete the entire 12 mile loop. There are two trailheads; the South Trailhead or North Trailhead, park at the north, and ride (on pavement) to the south to start the ride.
5. Chewacla | Upper Chewacla
It’s hard to pick just one trail from this riding area, so picked the whole area instead. Weave a few of the short trails together to make one perfect ribbon of sweet singletrack. Managed by a committed group of riders who make up the Central Alabama Mountain Pedalers (C.A.M.P.), Chewacla State Park has a community of dedicated riders who know how to sculpt a great trail. With wooden features being added regularly, a pump track, and a lake—it's perfect. Link together Kick Six, Rocky Bottom, and Tiger Woods in “Upper Chewacla,” to get a good taste of what this area has to offer. Be sure to ride the “Great Wall Of Chewacla” on Dells Trail to really test your grit. There is a daily entrance fee to ride here and the park closes at sundown.