Like much of the country, the past few weeks have been a bit cooler than normal. Although, depending on where you live, you may disagree with me when I say it’s been cold here in Alabama. Thursday we got a break when the temperatures climbed nearly 15 degrees to the high 40’s. I decided the kids and I would take advantage of the beautiful weather by exploring one of the hiking trails near Huntsville, which led us to Wade Mountain Preserve.
The trailhead at Wade Mountain Preserve begins in the parking area, off Spraggins Hollow Road, minutes from Alabama A & M University. There is a small picnic area with two or three picnic tables but you won’t find any bathroom facilities so make sure you pee before you leave home- and be sure to pack plenty of water.
The trail is well marked and maintained, though a bit rocky at times.
We’d decided that we’d follow the main trail just over a mile to the Devil’s Racetrack. Periodically we’d encounter a tree with a diamond markers that assured us we were on the right path.
Along the way we enjoyed listening to the birds and viewing the rock outcroppings. I couldn’t help but think that we should have hiked this trail in the fall—I imagine it would be quite beautiful when the leaves were changing.
At one point I was really disappointed to see that much of the land that borders the preserve has been cleared and wondered if the land is planned to be developed for yet another subdivision.
The trail gradually climbs to an elevation of 1100 feet. Though it isn’t particularly steep, there are benches located along the trail so you can enjoy the scenery or rest a minute of two if needed.
The summit, and the Devil’s Racetrack Trail, opens to a rocky clearing with a Cedar glade. Like many other hiking trails near Huntsville, in the spring the landscape will be colored with beautiful wildflowers, a great excuse to plan another hike.
The climate of Wade Mountain is considered to be almost semi-arid. Since the soil is very sandy, it also drains very quickly leaving little water behind for plants. As a result, the plants found here are different from what is typically seen in the area.
Devil’s Racetrack is an easy 1/2 mile trail that is not only popular to hikers, but to mountain bike riders as well. The trail leads to spectacular views of North Huntsville and on a clear day it’s said that you can see all the way to Tennessee.
This was a great hike—one that we’ll look forward to revisiting during various times of the year. If you find yourself in the area and would like to venture out on one of the trails at Wade Mountain Preserve, you’ll find a map at this link to help you plan your own adventure.
Next time around I think we’ll hike the Rock Wall Trail—and hopefully we’ll see some of those wildflowers, too!
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