MONTGOMERY– For the second year in a row, Alabama has surpassed all other states in the number of hiking and other trails honored with a National Recreation Trail designation.
Twenty-one Alabama trails are included in a group of 41 selected for designation this year. The official announcement comes Thursday in Chicago as U.S. Department of Interior officials kick off celebration of National Trails Day.
The latest designations bring to 30 the number of Alabama trails to be recognized within the past two years. The National Recreation Trails Program recognizes exemplary trails of regional significance to encourage the use and care of existing trails and stimulate the development of new trails.
Each trail receives special markers indicating its designation and it is promoted as part of America’s national system of trails.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs encouraged and assisted local trail managers to seek the recognition by submitting an application to the National Park Service.
“Alabama is blessed with a rich diversity of outdoor recreation opportunities,” ADECA Director Jim Byard Jr. said. “These designations not only prove our state has many high-quality trails, they also are evidence of the hard work and the community pride of countless Alabamians.”
Rob Grant who manages ADECA’s Recreational Programs Unit said the national recognition should encourage more people to visit the trails. Recreational Programs administers federally funded trail and park grants in Alabama.
“We have known all along that we have quality trails in Alabama,” Grant said. “A lot of it was convincing our cities and state parks to brag on themselves and their accomplishments. I think anyone venturing on these trails will agree that each one has features that make them distinct and unique.”
Trails receiving the designation are:
Village Point Preserve Park in Daphne – History, lore and nature highlight this 1-mile trail adjacent to Mobile Bay. The trail is home to the state’s largest live oak tree, known better as the Jackson oak because it is believed that Gen. Andrew Jackson in 1813 spoke to his troops at the tree before his forces marched to Pensacola to confront the Spanish who were believed to be aiding Britain in the War of 1812.
Antique Rose Trail in Foley – Featuring several varieties of old-fashioned roses, the mile-long trail follows a former railroad bed through the city. The route serves as botanical guide to some of south Alabama’s most successful types of heritage roses.
Yoholo-Micco, The Creek Indian Trail in Eufaula – A rails-to-trails project, the path begins at the Eufaula-Barbour County Chamber of Commerce and Welcome Center and parallels Lake Eufaula for 2.3 miles. The paved trail includes several scenic overlooks, a connecting natural path leading to a waterfall, a walk across a rail bridge and access to a historic cemetery. Artifacts of the old railroad system are apparent throughout, and an eagle’s nest and bluebird boxes along the path make this an ideal destination for bird watchers.
(see Tannehill in Tuscaloosa County)
Chief Ladiga Trail in Jacksonville – A former railroad bed converted to paved trail, this nine-mile section is part of a 33-mile Alabama trail that connects with the Silver Comet Trail in Georgia, creating about 100 miles of paved trail for hikers and bicyclers. Covering both rural and urban areas, the trail offers views of farms, wetlands, creeks, hills and mountains.
Chief Ladiga Trail in Piedmont- This three-mile portion of the trail selected for recognition winds through downtown Piedmont, crosses streams and offers views of hills and mountains. Chief Ladiga, the Creek Indian for whom the trail was named, lived here prior to the founding of the city.
Chattahoochee Valley Railroad Rail Trail Part I and Part II in Valley – The CVRR Trail received two separate federal recognitions, one for each section of its trail. Combined, the trail sections extend 7.5 miles following the route of the Chattahoochee Valley Railroad that once serviced four textile mills. Several cultural and historical features are located along the route including the Horace King covered bridge, a tribute to a former slave who was known throughout Alabama and Georgia for his architectural wonders.
Florala-Lake Jackson Scenic Trail in Florala – This combination paved and boardwalk trail is located at Florala State Park. Situated along Lake Jackson, the state’s largest natural lake, the park shares a border with Florida. A wooden boardwalk in a wetlands area offers a view of plants and wildlife existing in that environment.
Desoto State Park near Fort Payne — This 19-mile-long series of natural trails includes seven miles designated for mountain biking and a 1,000-foot boardwalk trail. Paths lead to streams, waterfalls, rock formations and wildflowers.
(see Tannehill in Tuscaloosa County)
The Larry and Rona Dykes Trail in Dothan – Located at Westgate Memorial Park, this 3.24 mile trail features separate lanes for pedestrians and bicycles. The trail connects with another shorter trail as well as a parking area, a pavilion and restrooms. Several fitness events are hosted here and the location is easily accessed from several neighborhoods.
Chewacla State Park near Auburn – Eight wilderness trails are combined for a total of 5.8 miles including a biking trail and a tree-identification trail. The trails lead by a lake, a dam, a waterfall and a picturesque stone bridge. Trails vary in degree of difficulty.
Swan Creek Greenway Trail in Athens – Adjacent to Swan Creek, this is a 2.3-mile long trail extending from Athens Sportsplex to U.S. Highway 72.
Sunset Drive Trail in Guntersville – This paved, 3.6 mile trail in the city offers views of Lake Guntersville and historic structures. The trail is designated for pedestrians and biking.
Guntersville State Park Trail System in Guntersville – A network of about 36 miles of natural walking paths throughout the state park, the trails range from 0.5 to 3.5 miles and from leisurely to difficult. Trails offer views of Lake Guntersville, rock formations, waterfalls, wildlife and wildflowers. NOTE: Much of the park and trail system was damaged April 27 during an outbreak of tornadoes that struck the state. Contact the park at the (256) 571-5440 to determine trail status if you plan to visit.
Citronelle Walking Trail in Citronelle – This is a 3-mile-long converted rails-to-trails paved path from State Street to a point along U.S. Highway 45. Points of interest along the way include a restored railroad depot, a former hotel and the surrender site of Confederate forces to the Union Army.
Montevallo Greenway Trail in Montevallo – A 2-mile walking and biking trail, the path extends from Orr Park following alongside streams and ending at Stephens Park. The trail winds through a wooded area on the University of Montevallo campus offering views of a lake, woodlands and downtown.
(also see Tannehill in Tuscaloosa County)
Talladega Depot Annex in Talladega – A former U.S. Army depot site, the facility has gradually been converted into 50 miles of trails for all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles, mountain bikes and horseback riding. The area contains about 2,800 acres of flat and mountain terrain. Trails range from paved areas to wilderness paths and from easy to challenging.
Wind Creek State Park near Alexander City – A natural trail system, including one dedicated for horseback riding, the trails cover 15.8 miles through pine and hardwood forests. Portions of the trail follow the shoreline offering views of Lake Martin. Trails bypass the lake, a dam and waterfall and a scenic stone bridge. Trails differ in degree of difficulty.
Queen City Park Trail in Tuscaloosa – Combining nature and history, this quarter-mile trail connects Queen City Park, built by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, and Jack Warner Trail which leads through a woodlands area.
Lake Lurleen State Park near Coker – A conglomerate of natural surface trails, a total of 19.5 miles are available at the 1,625-acre park. Most trails are dedicated to pedestrian traffic and mountain biking only. Many of the trails connect to the lake and lead through wilderness areas. Local mountain biking organizations supply volunteer labor to help maintain the trails.
Tram Trail at Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park near McCalla – Combining history and recreation, this mile-long trail follows the route of a mule-drawn tram that transported ore from the mine to the furnace site. The walking trail also connects to several other trails at the 1,500-acre park which extends into four counties.