Hiking Across Northern Alabama


Conrado Jocson, Contributor

Hiking is an easily accessible activity around Madison and Huntsville and enjoyed by many students at Bob Jones. The activity itself can appeal to multiple audiences. From those looking for a getaway from life to just embrace the sounds of nature. Or those looking for the beauty in the world, with the mentality that there’s a picture-perfect scene right around the next bend. Maybe even some people are just looking for something to do with the family or friends, spiking a conversation on the walk. No matter what you enjoy out of hiking, there’s always an experience, and another trail to try. Let’s take a look at some of the trails and greenways across North Alabama.

Monte Sano’s trail collection

Monte Sano Mountain, located just west of Huntsville, is a local state park with multiple different trails of various difficulties. Entry fee to some of the main trails ranges between $2.00 to $5.00 depending on age. There are also a few select trails that sit right on the edge of the reserve, like the Oak Park Trail, not requiring pay to enter but donations are asked for. Looking for something easy and light, a short stroll? Something like the North (2.0 miles) or South (3.3 miles) Plateau trails may be your style. Wanting to go for the long hall and take a long day trip? Try hiking a portion of the Mountain Mist Trail (3.0 miles). A go-getter seeking adventure and challenge, try the double black diamond McKay Hollow (2.2) trail. Bring water and some snacks for the hike and exercise caution when walking more difficult trails such as McKay Hollows. There are many playgrounds and scenic overlooks to visit, so don’t forget to stop by and rest to take some photos.

Rainbow mountain’s trail collection

Tucked right between Highway 72 and Huges road, Rainbow mountain is right around the corner for any local in Madison. With 2 trailheads available to access the trail loop around the mountain, It’s simple, yet easily accessible. On the west entrance is a children’s playground, as well as the direct entrance to the Spring trail (.4 miles) and the Rainbow Loop Trail (1.5 miles) that circles the mountain itself. Feel like going further? Looking for more of a challenge? Try taking the Ja Moo Koo Trail off of the Rainbow Loop and add an extra mile to your hike with wonderful scenery. Looking for something short and fun? Bouldering? The Wild Trail (.7 miles) splits off directly from the Spring and Rainbow trail, offering a short, yet rocky ride across the mountain to the top. The main sight attraction is a collection of balancing rocks closer to the peak, offering a natural made “Playground”. Whether going for a light jog or coming to snap some photos of the balancing rocks, Rainbow mountains trails have much to offer to the local community.

Walls of Jericho

A challengers trail, located in Hytop AL, descends down into the canyon by about 1350 feet and a total length of 6.7 miles down and back, this trail is tread by many experienced and intermediate backpackers looking to stay the night. The trail has steep inclines and is recommended for those who can handle steep hills and long distances. At the halfway point sits the Walls of Jericho, a natural waterfall with wonderful limestone formations. During the summertime when the weather is slightly warmer, the pool it creates can be swum in. But the heat can make the trip harder and more unbearable, and it’s advised to take lots of water if you do the full trial. In the fall and winter, temperatures are lower, making for better hiking conditions as well as sightseeing. At the end of the day, whether you go all the way to the falls for an overnight camping trip or a short trip down the side of the canyon, it is one challenge to uptake with bountiful rewards.

Local Greenways

So you’re not a fan of hiking, hills, or getting lost. That’s okay! Madison has multiple greenways scattered about that are mostly flat, open, and paved so you won’t get lost. They offer a similar nature experience to regular wooded hiking. Some of these can range from the 2-mile length at the Indian Creek greenway, to the short mile loops at places like Mill creek. All greenways are highly accessible and offer more gathering spots.