Tannehill Historic Ironwork State Park has an atmosphere unlike any other. With the historic furnace, Iron and Steel museum, cotton gin as well as 45 other historic buildings and exhibits it has a feel of a time when everything moved at a slower pace. Though this might not sound like a place that mountain bikers would be excited about, BUMP in cooperation with Tannehill is on course to change that. With 600 feet of elevation change, lots of interesting topography, rock outcroppings and creeks one can almost imagine the technical rocky singletrack working its way through the 1500 acres of pine and hardwood forest.
In November of 2009 BUMP began construction of the single track mountain bike trail, completing the first 1.4 miles connecting the new trail head to the existing hiking trail. Another 10 miles of single track is in the works. The existing hiking trail is a 4.5 mile loop of historic dirt roads as well as a few short out and back hiking trails all open to bikes. The loop is smooth and accessible to all skill levels. There is one climb that may be challenging for beginners or children.
Enter the park and turn right. The Collins House is the first log cabin on the left right behind the museum. Enter the Furnace Quarry trail just to the right of the cabin. The trail switches back and forth up the ridge and through the site where the stones were quarried for the pre Civil War furnace structure. When you exit the single track you will pass the furnace on the left. Then cross the steel Folsom Bridge and follow the Iron Road up the hill. The Iron Road will lead you along Mud Creek and through beautiful old hardwood forest with rolling terrain. There are a few short hiking trails along the way, but if you follow the main trail you will continue on the loop. When you reach the intersection with the Montevallo Stagecoach Road turn left and soon you will start the climb just past the old slave cemetery. At the bottom of the mountain turn left onto the Slave Quarters Trail. Follow this trail back to Folsom Bridge back track the Furnace Quarry trail to the Collins House. All of the intersections are well signed and this route will give you a good 7.3 miles of riding with a combination of single and double track trail.
BUMP is excited to embark on the construction of an eleven mile single track trail utilizing property not currently accessible to park visitors. The trail construction began in November of 2009. Only a small portion of the existing loop will be used so it will be almost entirely new single track. There will be several points where the existing loop will be crossed creating many options for entry and exit points while maintaining a continuous flow if following the singletrack.
Directions to Start:
From Birmingham take I-459 to exit 1and follow signs to park.
From Tuscaloosa take I-59 to exit 100 and follow signs to park.
There is an admission charge, $3.00 for adults and $1.00 for children.