Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve is a 551-acre property located just to the east of Huntsville. The preserve, owned and managed by local nonprofit Land Trust of North Alabama, includes a diverse forest of mature hardwoods, pines, red cedar groves and dense mixed species of understory vegetation. The 4.5-mile trail system of well-maintained natural paths provide access to both the high and low elevation forested ecosystem and a spring-fed water drainage ravine.
The one-mile long and primarily level Driskell Trail transverses four diverse habitats, offering an exceptional birding environment. The trail first winds through a dense forest understory, entering into a mature hardwood forest alongside a dense shrub-covered water drainage ravine. It then circumvents a large pine forest and finally returns along a spring-fed creek back to the parking lot through a small wet-weather marsh area.
A key feature for birders is the Bird Blind & Habitat, located along Moonshine Trail just a short walk from the trailhead. The blind, set within a plant restoration and conservation area, accommodates protected viewing positions for over 20 birders and photographers overlooking a bubbling water feature. The water feature’s natural design attracts a variety of bird species throughout all seasons. The main highlight for birders is the attraction of multiple neotropical migrating birds on their fall and spring migrations. Mixed flocks of warblers, vireos, thrushes, flycatchers, buntings, orioles and cuckoos can be observed drinking and bathing in the rock water pools.
• 4.5 miles of natural dirt trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding
• Bird Blind & Habitat along Moonshine Trail with designated viewing area
• portable restrooms available at trailhead parking area
• Terry Education Pavilion, located next to the trailhead parking area, provides a covered picnic and gathering space
• 18-hole disc golf course
Signature migrating bird species that birders and photographers seek include Black-throated Blue, Golden-winged and Chestnut-sided warblers along with Yellow-billed and Black-billed cuckoos, water thrushes, and wood thrushes. During the spring and summer breeding seasons the forest hosts Kentucky warblers, Pine warblers, White-eyed vireos, Great Crested Flycatchers, Yellow-breasted chats, Pileated Woodpeckers and Eastern bluebirds.
Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve is a 551-acre property offering convenient access to the outdoors just a short distance from downtown Huntsville. A little over 4.5 miles of trails are ready to explore. Like all Land Trust of North Alabama nature preserves, Chapman Mountain is open from dawn to dusk and access is free. These trails are not just for hiking though. Mountain bikers and horseback riders are also welcome and an 18-hole disc golf course adds another way to play outside.
Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve is open dawn to dusk daily.
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.
Amenities Available: Gravel or Dirt Trails, Picnic Tables, Restrooms, Viewing Platform
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