Hiking Huntsville Alabama is a little slice of heaven with over 150 named trails and 200 miles of hiking. There are dozens of Huntsville hikes within the city limits or just outside. Monte Sano State Park has over 25 miles of hiking and is only six miles from downtown Huntsville. The Land Trust of North Alabama has over 70 miles of trails, with some even closer to town than the state park. This guide also covers Nature Conservancy and Forever Wild preserves and some Madison County parks too.
With all of these options, how do you choose? Don't worry. We have you covered. As locals, we'll tell you all the deets you need to get out and explore the best Huntsville hiking trails.
What Huntsville hiking lacks in top-end trails, it makes up for with options, variety, and accessibility. We are not including walking on greenways in this guide, but you can find that information in our Huntsville bike trail guide. In general, you 'may' mountain bike on most of these trails, with a few notable exceptions. However, only about 80% of these trails are really suitable for riding. We'll break those down in an upcoming Huntsville mountain biking guide.
MONTE SANO STATE PARK. Hiking in Monte Sano State Park is one of the extraordinary perks of living in Huntsville. This 2,140-acre park nestled on the summit of a 2000' mountain is only 6-miles from downtown. There are even campgrounds and cabins for out-of-town guests or stay-cationers. People have been traveling to Monte Sano for healthy living for over a century.
MONTE SANO PLATEAU TO O’SHAUGHNESSY POINT. Another ‘must-do’ hike on Monte Sano is the 3.3 mile South Plateau Loop. You head out the Monte Sano Plateau to O’Shaughnessy Point. This is the driest part of the mountain because it drains well, and there’s no water flowing in. There’s also very easy hiking with fantastic views, especially in the fall when the leaves are most colorful.
The return leg is my only knock on this hike. The plateau’s eastern edge has marginal views, and you’re hiking on a gravel road for a bit. Still, this is one of the best hikes for muddy days, and the wide road gives you more places to step.
MCKAY HOLLOW. McKay Hollow is the most remote part of Monte Sano. In fact, so remote that you walk off the edge of the park property and take trails that (as of yet) don’t show up on Google Maps. Plus, with trails called Rocky Nightmare and segments called Death Trail Climb, you might wonder why you’d ever come here. The forest service even posts signs warning you that you’ll be at least two hours away from the nearest exit if you head out.