Hopefully you’ve heard the news. Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve, our 7th public preserve, is officially open! This 371 acre property is located just to the east of Huntsville on HWY 72. While we have plans for 10 miles of trails, a little over 3 miles are currently open and ready to explore. Like all of our public preserves, Chapman Mountain will be open dawn to dusk. These trails are not just for hiking though. Mountain bikers and horseback riders are also welcome. We also have a long term plan for the preserve that will establish it as a one-stop for a variety of outdoor adventures. We’re very excited to invite you to explore our newest natural retreat and look forward to offering even more ways to enjoy this space over the next few years. Here’s a preview of the trails currently open and a look at what’s coming next!
Current Trail System:
- Moonshine Trail: This easy, half mile trail begins from the parking lot and ends at a natural spring area rumored to have once been used for making moonshine (hence the name).
- Terry Trail: Named for the family who donated the property, this one mile journey takes you to the northern end of the property and back again. Along the way you’ll see large hardwoods, mossy rocks, and an old roadway.
- Whole Planet Trail: This .2 mile connector from the Moonshine Trail to Terry trail features lots of red buckeye trees. It’s a moderate hike courtesy of our friends at Whole Foods Market, who lended several hands (and lots of volunteer hours) to build many of the trails at Chapman Mountain.
- Amphitheater Trail: This quick and easy .2 mile out-and-back trail leads to an area above the Moonshine Spring. The unique geography below the trail resembles a natural amphitheater.
- Chasco Trail: A half mile, easy loop circles the future location of two scout camp sites near the southern border of the property along Hwy 72.
- Driskell Trail: Another easy loop but this one is a full mile. It starts at the parking lot and circles the upcoming disc golf course (now under construction). This trail is still a work in progress at this time. The trail is flagged but trail diamonds are not posted to mark the entire trail. If you’re interested in helping us build and maintain trails on Land Trust preserves, you can sign up for upcoming trail care days at https://landtrust-old.cloudaccess.host/volunteer.
You can find Trail Maps for this property and all Land Trust nature preserves at https://landtrust-old.cloudaccess.host/explore/.
We have big plans to make this preserve an outdoor recreation destination. It’ll take some time to complete all of the proposed projects but some are in the works right now and will be ready to enjoy before the end of 2018.
- More Trails: Future plans for the property include a total of approximately 10 miles of multi-use trails that will be added over the next three years.
- Disc Golf: A disc golf course is currently under construction and scheduled for completion later this year. We’re working with Billy Drake, a pioneer in the local disc golf community, to design the course.
- Terry Education Pavilion: Construction of a 1,920 square foot, open-air facility is currently underway. Terry Education Pavilion will provide a space to expand our environmental education offerings and also serve as a community gathering space for groups – such as public and private schools and other child-centered organizations (such as Boys & Girls Clubs, Scouts, and YMCA) – for hands-on outdoor environmental education programs. Donations from the Terry Family, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, and Vulcan Materials Company provided funding needed to construct the pavilion. The pavilion is scheduled to be completed by fall 2018.
- Scout Camping: Our long term plan includes adding group camping sites for scouts and civic organizations. We’ll share more details about this as they become available.
Directions to Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve:
Coming from Huntsville, cross Chapman Mountain and u-turn at Moores Mill Road. When safe, get into the merge lane on the right (plenty of time). When the silver guard rail ends, be ready to turn right onto the paved entrance. Drive through the gate and down the gravel road to the parking area at the bottom of the hill.