Anyone who thinks the fun begins where pavement ends can have a blast in Colbert County.
We have trails for hiking, off-road vehicle riding, bird watching and horseback riding.
Even our paved paths offer loads of fun. Our backroads and the Natchez Trace Parkway are great taking a leisurely ride on a bicycle or drive in a car to relax and enjoy nature.
Hikers from around the world come to Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve, located just outside the small town of Tuscumbia, to explore more than 15 miles of trails. Along the trails, they marvel at the diverse collection of plants and animals that inhabit the 713-acre tract that is open to the public. It the only private nature preserve in Alabama that does not charge admission.
Another popular destination for hikers is the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Muscle Shoals Reservation. The 17 miles of trails on the reservation included primitive and paved paths. Some of the paved paths can also be used for riding bicycles. The reservation trails include paths that wind through densely wooded areas and along the southern shore of Pickwick Lake. One of the trails winds through a native plant garden.
Other popular hiking destinations include Colbert Ferry Park on the Natchez Trace Parkway, north of Cherokee, Bear Creek Park on the parkway south of Cherokee and Riverfront Park and Whippoorwill Hollow with forty acres of woodlands in Sheffield.
For off-road vehicle enthusiasts, Hawk Pride Mountain Off-Road Park, located near Tuscumbia, offers 1,500 acres for exploring. The park include more than 120 rock crawling trails, and miles and miles of ATV and 4x4 trails along with mud riding areas.
The North Alabama Birding Trail, which stretches from Mississippi all the way to Georgia, includes 12 stops in Colbert County. Those trail stops include areas for watching bald eagles, shore birds, humming birds, rare warblers and neo-tropical migrants along with other species.
Horseback riding trails are available at Freedom Hills Wildlife Management Area, near Cherokee, and at Seven Spring Lodge, west of Tuscumbia.
The Natchez Trace Parkway, which transverses the western end of Colbert County, is a popular destination for riding bicycles. Rural roads around the county are also popular.
Downtown Sheffield, along North Montgomery Avenue, including Alabama Avenue on the banks of Pickwick Lake offers about six miles of cycling trails.
Hiking + Walking + Cycling + Off-Roading + Birding + Horseback Riding + Family Adventure
Cherokee Kayak Trail
Town of Cherokee
3780 Old Lee Highway
Cherokee, AL 35616
The Cherokee Kayak Trail is located on Bear Creek, stretching about eight miles from Bishop Bridge, south of Allsboro, to the Buddy Durham Road Bridge, just off Allsboro Road.
The town has a fleet of single and tandem kayaks for rent. The town’s employees will provide drop-off and pick-up service for kayakers renting from the town or using their own boats. The cost for rental is $30 for a single-seat kayak and $40 for a two-seater. For kayakers using their own boat, the charge is $10 for transportation.
The trail is a great float for both novice and experienced kayakers. It typically takes about four to six hours to paddle the length of the trail.
For more information on the kayak trail or to reserve a kayak, call Cherokee Town Hall at 256.359.4959.
Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve
251 Loop Rd.
Tuscumbia, AL 35674
Hours: Friday, Saturday, Sunday and all Holidays from daylight to 5 p.m.
Trail maps are available on site.
A 700-acre, privately owned, scenic, natural area organized around a complex of small canyons with rugged topography. This canyon contains a number of waterfalls, boulder fields and Native American rock shelters. Fifteen miles of maintained hiking trails lead the hiker to scenic overlooks, rick wildflower areas, creek cascades and other attractions.
The purpose of the preserve is to protect this unique and biologically diverse natural area for educational activities, ongoing scientific study and public recreational use.
Natchez Trace Parkway
444 miles of beautiful roadway in Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi
Thirty-three miles of this All American Road and National Scenic Byway traverse Alabama in this area. One particular site of note is Colbert Ferry Park (Milepost 327) which offers restrooms, picnic area, swimming, fishing, boat launch, hiking trails and a bicycle-only campground.
Old Railroad Bridge (Pedestrian only)
2100 Ashe Blvd.
Sheffield, AL 35660
Heading north on 43/72, turn left at the intersection of Reservation Rd. (TVA) and Birmingham St. Turn right onto Ashe Blvd. and continue north to the parking area.
This pedestrian bridge is 1,580 feet long and 14 feet high and stretches from the south bank of Pickwick Lake in Sheffield, extending about half way to the north bank. The pier of this bridge dates back to 1832 and the original bridge was burned in April 1962 by President Abraham Lincoln’s brother-in-law who was a Confederate General. The original structure opened in 1839 as a toll bridge with trains crossing over the upper deck while wagons, pedestrians, and livestock crossed over the bottom. Today, this structure is used for some special events or just for walking and admiring the lake below. Open daily.
Wilson Lock and Dam
3985 Reservation Rd.
Muscle Shoals, AL
Wilson Dam boasts one of the highest single-lift-locks in the world. Construction on the dam began during World War I and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was created in 1933. Other facilities were built to accommodate the war effort, including several residential neighborhoods, schools and barracks to accommodate the workers.
Tennessee Valley Authority’s Developed Recreational Lands
Tennessee Valley Authority’s Lakes
The Public Lands Information Center is a single source for answers to your questions about shoreline land use, permitting procedures, water resources, recreation and other issues relating to TVA’s natural resources.
If you are looking for a place to come play for the day, you can’t do better than TVA’s developed recreational lands. At the Muscle Shoals Reservation, there are ample fishing opportunities including a handicap accessible pier and overlooks at Wilson Dam. Also, found here are boat launching ramps, two modern playgrounds, picnic areas, and picnic pavilions. Take a hike! Whether you’re on feet, wheels, or pushing a stroller, find your trail here. The options for fun are nearly endless with the 17 miles of trails for every type user from easy to moderately difficult. The interconnected trail system offers scenic vistas, historic structures, backcountry experiences, bank fishing access, and open meadows. Several sites on the Reservation and along the trails are great for viewing migratory birds, especially the open waters of the Wilson Dam Tailwater.
1416 Alabama Ave.
Sheffield, AL 35660
(256) 386-5615; (256) 383-0783
This city-owned park boasts one mile of inviting shoreline on Pickwick Lake. A variety of recreation available, including boat launch, fishing piers, docking facilities, walking trails, bicycle path, splash pad, special needs playground, restrooms.
1201 N. Montgomery Ave
Sheffield, AL 35660
(256) 386-5615; (256) 383-0783
This 44-acre, city-owned, wooded park is accessed within the historical downtown residential district and was laid out in the original town of Sheffield in 1820. Home to many species of wildflowers and plants, it is a bird sanctuary and a great place to hike. Vietnam Memorial on site.
400 Main Street
Tuscumbia, AL 35674
(256) 389-1357; (256) 383-0783
This family friendly, city owned park is in the center of the small, quaint city. A small lake is located at the center of the park where geese and two white swans make their home. A beautiful waterfall is located at the head of the lake with water spilling some 150 feet (great photo opportunity). A lighted, musical water show is performed on most nights at dusk from a fountain shooting water skyward about 150 feet; a great show that commemorates the music of the Muscle Shoals area. Children’s amusements are located within the park and are operated seasonally – roller coaster, carousel, and narrow gauge train. (nominal charge for amusements). Walking trails crisscross the park and several pavilions are available for use, grills, picnic tables, and restrooms. Many festivals and special events are held here throughout the year.
Coon Dog Cemetery
4945 Coondog Cemetery Road
Cherokee, AL 35616
Open daily, year round, daylight hours
On Labor Day in 1937 Key Underwood buried his faithful coon hound, Troop, at the edge of the forest of Freedom Hills in NW Alabama. Following this burial, many of Underwood’s friends also needed a burial ground for their favored hunting dogs and so each chose a spot, close to that first grave, and so it went. Today, over 300 coon dogs have been laid to rest in this quiet, scenic, natural area. Unique headstones and epitaphs pay tribute to man’s best friend. It is said to be the only cemetery of its kind in the world.
This cemetery is used only for authentic coon dogs and there is a fee and procedures for burying a dog. Go to www.CoonDogCemetery.com to learn about burials.
Annually, each Labor Day, a festival is held to honor those buried there and coon dogs in general. There is music and dancing, food, a liar’s contest, and lots of fun. The event begins mid-morning and is over about 4 p.m.
North Alabama Birding Trail
(256) 383-0783; (256) 350-3500
Traverses Colbert County from East to West
The northwest loop of the North Alabama Birding Trail boats more than a dozen sites. Several sites are noted for their impressive congregations of winter birds – waterfowl, eagles, gulls – as well as a long list of rare or vagrant species to the state. Leighton Ponds, with its assemblage of flooded sinkholes, is one of Alabama’s best interior sites for shorebird migration. The Natchez Trace Parkway with its wooded, scenic byway offers Barred Owls and Wild Turkey. Another site on the historic trace, Rock Springs, is renowned for its concentration of fall migrating hummingbirds. These sites and more make for great birding.
Horseback Trail Riding at Seven Springs Lodge
1292 Mt. Mills Rd.
Tuscumbia, AL 35674
This facility offers horseback trail riding. Organized equestrian group trail rides held throughout the 3500 acres of meadow and woodland, dotted with waterfalls and caves. Shiny, silver grain silos and cabins, outfitted as bunkhouses, along with campsites and horse stalls make this site a popular overnight destination or weekend retreat. While there, enjoy a meal and a cold brew at the Rattlesnake Saloon, located onsite. The saloon is open Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. and on Sundays, seasonally, at 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Telephone: (256) 370-7200; www.rattlesnakesaloon.net
Hawk Pride Mountain Off-Road Park
3834 Hawk Pride Mountain Rd.
Tuscumbia, AL 35674
This privately owned park offers a wide variety of offroading, spread over 1500 acres. Over 40 trails accommodate everyone from the most sophisticated rock crawlers to simple 4x4s and ATVs. Camping pads for RVs, primitive camping, bathhouses, restrooms are located onsite.
Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at the Shoals
990 Sunbelt Parkway, Muscle Shoals, AL 35661
(256) 446-5111; (800) 949-4444
Two, 18-hole, championship courses overlooking Wilson Lake and the Tennessee River are included on Alabama’s RTJ Golf Trail. The links-style Fighting Joe measures an astounding 8,092 yards, offering simple, straight-forward golf that challenges both the amateur and the PGA pro. The tree-lined Schoolmaster is traditional golf with every hole keeping with the natural topography along the river. Wooded, rolling, spectacular. Club house, dining, pro shop.
Cypress Lakes Golf & Tennis Facility
1211 E 6th St., Muscle Shoals, AL 35661
The City of Muscle Shoals offers you Cypress Lakes Golf & Tennis. The golf course is an 18-hole, par 71, layout that is challenging and fun for all skill levels. With five sets of tees available a good time can be had by all. The tees, fairways, and rough are comprised of wonderfully manicured bermuda grass, while the putting surfaces feature the highly acclaimed mini verde ultra dwarf bermuda grass. Our goal is to offer you the best possible playing surfaces year round so that you feel you are given the best chance to play your best. With numerous doglegs and water hazards throughout the course, your tee shots are of utmost importance during your round. This will obviously give you your best chance to score well and leave with a smile on your face.
The facility is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday with seasonal hours. Cypress Lakes also offers tennis with our six Hydrocourt playing surfaces, a seasonal outdoor pool, and fitness center. Memberships are available as well. Call 256-381-1232 to book your next tee time or with any questions you may have.
Spring Creek Golf Course
800 Woodmont Dr., Tuscumbia, AL 35674
This nine-hole, city-owned course is a flat one, excellent for beginners and seniors. Paved cart paths, pro shop.
Twin Pines Golf and Country Club
1855 Country Club Dr., Russellville, AL 35653
Beautiful 18-hole course, bentgrass greens, Bermuda fairways, over 6,200 yards, par 71. Pro shop, driving range, PGA professional on staff. Tee times required.
Three state-managed Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and one national wildlife refuge offer lands for public use including hunting.
Freedom Hills Wildlife Management Area
Located in west Colbert County, near the town of Cherokee and bordering the Natchez Trace Parkway, 34,500 acres offers hunting for both small and large game. A public shooting range is located in this area as is the world’s only Coon Dog Cemetery.
Lauderdale Wildlife Management Area
Located in west Lauderdale County, near the town of Waterloo, this 13,000-acre area offers hunting for both small and large game.
Seven-Mile Island Wildlife Management Area
Accessed from the Tennessee River and by land from the north side of the river, this area has acreage of just under 6,000 and offers small game, waterfowl and deer (archery only) hunting.
Key Cave National Wildlife Refuge
Located adjacent to Seven Mile Island WMA, this refuge of just over 1,000 acres offers small game hunting.
The Tennessee Valley Authority
(TVA) has over 19,000 acres of property available for public use, including hunting, along the Pickwick Lake reservoir in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. No permit is required when hunting TVA lands in Alabama, although a hunting license is required.
NOTE: A resident hunting license is required for those ages 16 through 64, and for non-state residents over age 16. Licenses may be obtained from any Alabama county courthouse, toll free at 1-888-848-6887, and online at www.outdooralabama.com