Tour de Lake Guntersville State Park

 6 votes
Building Map
Loading Map Data
Map Settings
Featured Ride
Trail

9.8 Miles 15.7 Kilometers


100%

Singletrack

574' 175 m

Ascent

-576' -176 m

Descent

860' 262 m

High

606' 185 m

Low

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

13%

Max Grade (7°)

Unknown

Update

A scenic tour of Lake Guntersville State Park.

Zack Butler

Overview

Closed when wet, although these trails drain well.
This is North Alabama's version of the trails at the Tsali Recreation Area. You'll receive scenic vistas of Lake Guntersville from the Tom Bevill Trail and the Cutchenmine Trail, and for the most part, these trails are not terribly difficult but feature a few strenuous climbs.

Although these trails were not originally intended for mountain biking and receive no maintenance from a local IMBA chapter, the park's staff and other volunteers have restored them to excellent condition after the April 27, 2011, tornadoes wreaked havoc on them.

There are quite a few climbs on this route but it flows well. The Cave Trail is the most crooked although a newly re-routed segment of the Tom Bevill Trail is also more difficult. The Cutchenmine Trail is mostly easy but has a few steep but brief climbs.

Need To Know

Access at the Cave Trail start is limited. There are other access points to the park roads along the route that can be utilized, as well. The portion of the ride on the Tom Bevill Trail between the 7 and 8 mile points was badly damaged during the 2011 tornado outbreak and has been re-routed in such a way as to offer excellent views of the lake.

Lake Guntersville State Park also offers a golf course, cabins, a restaurant, a campground, and a hotel. Boat rentals are also available.

Description

This ride begins on Lodge Drive as you head towards the campground. Park on the side of the road, or park at the trailhead for the Moonshine, Kings Chapel, and Waterfall trails and ride on the park road to the Cave Trail.

The Cave Trail crosses the road here, so you'll want to take the direction going south on the trail. If you go north and pass the cave, you went the wrong way. The trail meanders through the woods and up and down a few "hills" before crossing a closed road. Although it's relatively smooth, it has a few rooty sections and some erosion in a few spots. After crossing the closed road, it gets a little more difficult with a couple of climbs before reaching the Tom Bevill Trail.

Take a left turn on the Tom Bevill Trail and continue on up it. There will be a fork after about 0.4 mile. This route assumes you take left fork, which is not as steep, but the right fork is mostly rideable if you want a nice climb. The two forks rejoin each other just before the unmarked intersection with the Cutchenmine Trail connector.

Turn left onto the connector trail and descend down to AL Highway 227. Cross the highway (be careful!) and head northeast on it (i.e., turn left) a short distance until you see a small pull-out for the Cutchenmine Trail on the right. The Cutchenmine Trail is a pleasant rolling ride along Short Creek with a couple of bridges to cross. It is wide, but it has a few somewhat steep climbs which make for fun downhills on the way back. Take the Cutchenmine Trail all the way out to its end at a creek bed and return back to the Tom Bevill Trail the way you came.

Turn left when you get back to the Tom Bevill Trail to continue the loop around Ellenburg Mountain. For the most part, this trail rolls along the mountainside with a couple of steeper climbs, but nothing unmanageable. There are two switchbacks about halfway around the mountain, and you can also get nice views of the lake from this area. The absence of trees (due to the tornado outbreak of 2011) in this area is almost eerie but the lake is beautiful. You'll then pass through a nice thickly forested area which will leave you thinking of Tsali with some fun rolling terrain before you return to the intersection with the Cave Trail again.

Once back at the Cave Trail, return the way you came. Alternate options include taking the Spring Trail to the closed road and returning via the Kings Chapel Trail or the Terrell Trail, which passes by the old Kings Chapel Cemetery.

History & Background

Lake Guntersville State Park is located along the banks of the Tennessee River in NE Alabama. The park overlooks the majestic 69,000-acre Guntersville Lake and ranges over more than 6,000 acres of natural woodlands. It has 36 miles of multi-use (hiking, biking, and equestrian) trails. Many of the trails pass by remnants of days gone by: old stills, cemeteries, old homesites, and old roads. The park also features a full-service restaurant, a beach complex, outdoor swimming pool, a hotel, cabins, and chalets, and a fishing center along with conference space. The park has recovered from the April 2011 tornadoes.

The 3.4-mile Tom Bevill Trail features old home sites and excellent views of the lake, and was a 1980 YACC project. The Cutchenmine Trail is 2.2 miles one way (4.4 out-and back), and follows an old coal mine road along Short Creek. It is a good place to spot herons, wood ducks, and other waterfowl. Eagles are sometimes visible from this trail, depending on the seasons.

Contacts

Land Manager: Alabama State Parks

Rate Featured Ride


   Clear

4.0 from 6 votes


Get On-Trail Navigation

Send to Phone
Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

none

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 6 votes

#1300

Overall
  4.0 from 6 votes
1 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
3 Star
17%
4 Star
67%
5 Star
17%
Rankings

#19

in Alabama

#1,300

Overall
73 Views Last Month
2,483 Since May 29, 2013
Intermediate Intermediate

0%
0%
100%
0%
0%
0%

Conditions



Forecasting the weather...

Sorry you had to deal with the spiders! Unfortunately, the relative remoteness of Lake Guntersville State Park makes it less accessible to the nearest population center (Huntsville). The resulting lack of trail traffic tends to encourage the presence of the critters. IMBA, and SORBA-Huntsville (to some extent), have been working with the state park to renovate the Golf Course Loop (near the Lodge), which is expected to be complete by the spring of 2015; this trail currently is not mapped. There is a possibility that more trails will also be improved (or constructed) in the future. You are correct in that the early spring and late fall are the best times of the year for riding these trails. Winter can also be pleasant if the weather cooperates. Sep 9, 2014


Thanks for the heads up Zack.....I saw the Lodge trail you mentioned....next time I am in the area I will check it out.....although I'm more likely to test the wilds at Monte Santo next time I'm up your way.. Sep 9, 2014


Monte Sano has a lot more visitors since it's closer to Huntsville (actually, it is in Huntsville). The easier trails at Monte Sano are on the plateau (Family Bike Trail, South Plateau Loop, Fire Tower Trail), while the more technical ones are on the slopes of the mountain (Mountain Mist Trail, Sinks Trail, Goat Trail, Logan Point Trail, Keith Trail, McKay Hollow Trail, etc.). If you have a lot of time to ride (i.e., at least 6 hours), you can do a loop all the way around the mountain. I've never done it since I've never had that much time, but you can theoretically start at the Land Trust Parking Lot on Bankhead Parkway and take the Bluff Line Trail over to Monte Sano Blvd (about 2.5 miles with a steep hike-a-bike section at about 2 miles in), then take the Arrowhead Trail back down the mountain to the McKay Hollow Trail (about 4.5 miles on Arrowhead + 2 miles on McKay Hollow), which will take you back up the mountain. You may run into some spider webs on the Bluff Line, Arrowhead, and McKay Hollow trails since they don't see quite as much traffic as the trails on the other side of the mountain. You can also take the Natural Well Trail instead of the Arrowhead Trail, but you'll have to hike-a-bike once you get below the Natural Well. The Arrowhead Trail will take you past Arrow Spring. If you don't care for going all the way to the top, you can take the Bucca Trail over to the Warpath Ridge Trail and ride the Goat Trail to the Sinks Trail, which will take you to the Keith Trail and Logan Point Trail. Then you can go to the Mountain Mist Trail and head down the closed section of Bankhead Parkway to the "hairpin turn" and take the Dummy Line Trail (I originally posted the Dummy Line Trail as the "Gummy Line Trail" before it officially opened and the real name was announced) back to the parking lot. That loop should be between 16 and 17 miles. When it's not hunting season, you can take the Flat Rock Trail down from the Goat Trail. It will take you to the Land Trust Parking Lot, as well, and it's slightly longer (but more confusing) than the route that stays within the state park. It doesn't have any bail points and part of it is on private property so I don't recommend it unless someone else is with you. I've posted several shorter rides within Monte Sano State Park that will take you up on the plateau and down into the Sinks Valley; these rides should take 2 to 3 hours if you had no trouble with the Lake Guntersville ride, but they are more technical than Lake Guntersville. Sep 9, 2014


MTB Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Mountain Bike

MTB Project is supported by

Support Your Local IMBA Chapter