Wade Mountain Nature Preserve consists of 843 acres of forest with 8.5 miles of trails. Its users include hikers (and trail runners), mountain bikers, and horse riders. (This is the only Land Trust preserve which allows horses.)
The preserve is well-forested and the trails are well-marked. According to Briartech.com, the main feature of the preserve is the Devil's Racetrack--originally the only trail, circling the upper prominence where the devil supposedly "hangs out." There are now additional trails called Harris, Shovelton, Wade, and Rock Wall. Briartech.com also contains information about the plant life of the Preserve:
The Racetrack Trail reaches a saddle between ridges that is mostly open except for a few scraggily cedar trees. This is considered a "cedar glade" and has special plant populations. To the east is the race track loop which has the spectacular American Columbo plants. Every 5 years or so these normally low growing plants, shoot up a 6-8 foot stalks with a showy inflorescence. The north side of the racetrack loop has nice views of northern Madison County. The western loops have a number of wildflower types, especially the new Rock Wall trail.
WHO: Suitable for all ages. The technicality of the hiking here is rated easy-to-moderate.
WHY: You want to get outside, be next to nature, and explore some of the trails in Huntsville.
WHEN: Any time. (Avoid muddy areas when it rains to prevent erosion.)
WHERE: Huntsville, AL. Wade Mountain Nature Preserve is not far from Alabama A&M University. If heading north on Memorial Parkway, turn left on Hollow Road (the first road north of Winchester Highway). Then turn right on Spragins Hollow Road. The Land Trust parking lot will be on the right, at 9500 Spragins Hollow Road.
HOW: Free to the public, but donations are encouraged and there is a donation box at the trailhead.
Wade Mountain Nature Preserve - Parking Lot
This is the Land Trust sign that identifies the parking area for Wade Mountain Nature Preserve. For Google Maps directions, use "9500 Spragins Hollow Road" in Huntsville, AL.
Wade Mountain Nature Preserve - Trailhead
This is the trailhead for Wade Mountain Nature Preserve. The board includes a map showing all of the trails. There are two picnic tables to the left (not pictured). There is also a collection box for donations to the Land Trust of North Alabama.
Wade Mountain Nature Preserve - Multi-Use
Wade Mountain Nature Preserve is a multiple-use trail that is open to hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians. This is the only Land Trust of North Alabama preserve open to equestrians.
Wade Mountain Nature Preserve - Trail
This is a photo taken on the Devil's Racetrack Trail in the Wade Mountain Nature Preserve. Note that there are some rocks embedded in the trail, making for potentially tricky footing in some areas.
Wade Mountain Nature Preserve - Fauna
Wade Mountain Nature Preserve is home to many species of wildlife, including woodpeckers such as the one pictured here. Be sure to listen and look for more.
Wade Mountain Nature Preserve - Flora
This is one of many neat ecological features you can see while hiking in the Wade Mountain Nature Preserve. Be sure to keep your eyes open and look around to find others.