Trail loops vary on a scale from 3.77 miles to .2 miles, hence the "Time to Complete" box not necessarily applying here. There are trails for everybody, marked clearly, and labeled with suitable activities, difficulty, and distance.
Destination Distance From Downtown
3 of 5 diamonds
The trails here are a mix of pavement, hard-pack, gravel, and a few tangles of tree roots. There are areas more suited to an experienced rider, though these particular areas are very easy to avoid for the beginner as each trail within the complex system is labeled on a spectrum from easy to advanced.
Time To Complete
As with any outdoor activity in Alabama, there are four seasons which are suitable to take part. Of course, the summer is blistering hot, the winters are mild, and the fall and spring are beautiful.
On Leash Only
Seniors (62+): $3.00
Children (6-11): $2.00
Imagine driving on any contemporary interstate highway system. Take an exit and you might find yourself presented with a gas station that looks very much like every other gas station in the United States. However, when one first enters into the realm of Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, it can feel a little like entering into an alternate reality. With more than 1,500 acres set aside specifically for camping, hiking, mountain biking, birding, and similar activities, this is a must-see for anyone who happens to find themselves in relative proximity to Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
What Makes It Great
Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park is an incredible complex ripe with historical significance. Visitors are met with a full spectrum of possible activities and attractions, ranging from hiking and birding trails to a blast furnace that was quite literally built in 1830 and later used to supply Confederate troops with iron goods and products. On any given day, one might find activities such as sanctioned mountain bike races and trade shows occurring simultaneously, for example.
Find yourself tired of the nearly 20 miles of interconnected and well-maintained trails? Rent a cabin or campsite and consider staying for the night. Check out the gristmill, country store, blacksmith, or any other of a long, long list of possible sights, sounds, tastes, and smells.
This place has it all--of particular interest are the mountain biking trails. These trails are incredibly smooth, mostly hard-pack, and historically significant. Take a ride on your favorite hard-tail or full-suspension mountain bike through passes which, according to the Tannehill website, "cut through some of the most scenic areas of the Tannehill reserve. Among the most popular hiking trails are the Slave Quarters Trail, the old Iron Haul Road (which runs past the Slave Cemetery), the Furnace Trail, Grist Mill Trail and the recently restored Tram Track."
Very much of the history in the South and elsewhere has the potential to be spooky. Prepare yourself to be struck by the gravitas of this location and the grizzly past that it represents along with, and in stark contrast to, the incredible natural beauty that can also be found here. According to signage posted throughout the park, Daniel Hillman first built a forge on the banks of Roupes Creek in 1830 after finding what he considered to be the richest brown ore he had ever seen. As a result of Daniel Hillman's early adventures and entrepreneurship, contemporary audiences can appreciate the sublime wonder that is Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park.
Who is Going to Love It
These trails are perfect for beginners and experts alike. One of the benefits of having a trail system that is as well maintained as this is the fact that each is clearly mapped and marked with a ratings system that varies from easy to expert. The elevations, switchback turns, and technical sections that pros are seeking may be found here. Also found here are the variety of bunny hills and easy-going curves that instill confidence in less experienced riders. Come for the trails, stay for the many, many other activities while learning a little about the rich history of this particular location.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
All of the following information is available on the Tannehill website:
Tannehill is located off Interstate 59, 12 miles southwest of Bessemer, less than 45 minutes from downtown Tuscaloosa. Take I-59/20 to Exit 100 and follow the signs.
Free and readily available for all guests and visitors.
Tannehill Park is a day use park open 365 days a year. Park usage is generally limited to sunrise to sunset including holidays except for campground activities and receptions.
The visitor center is open from:
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 pm. Sunday. Parking lots, restrooms and hiking trails are open every day.
Hours for the Iron & Steel Museum of Alabama are:
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Saturdays. 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. on Sundays. Closed on Mondays. Admission: $2 adults • $1 Children 6-11 & Seniors 62+