Hays Nature Preserve

Central Loop, North Alabama | Madison | Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter

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The Hays Nature Preserve  (Site #30, Central Loop) hosts several miles of paved trails that follow the Flint River and its associated oxbow lakes through low riparian habitat, old fields, and a golf course.  There are a total of 10 miles of trails that wind through bottomlands, swamps, and sloughs, suitable for hiking or mountain biking. This is an incredible area, easily accessible for birders near the large metropolitan area of Huntsville. Species to look for along the river include Great Blue and Green Herons, Belted Kingfishers, and in winter, Wilson’s Snipe. The edges of woodland host Eastern Bluebirds, Song Sparrows, and numerous other resident and migrant species.

GPS: N 34.6420, W -86.4706

Fee: Free

Amenities: Hiking, Handicap Access, Parking, Restrooms, Biking, Picnic Area, Viewing Area

Contact Info:
City of Huntsville Recreational Services
308 Fountain Circle
Huntsville, AL 35801
(256) 427-5116



In Huntsville from the intersection of I-565 and US Highway 431/231 (Memorial Parkway), take Highway 431 south for 10.7 miles. The Hays Preserve is on the left (north) side of the road just after mile marker #324. Turn off just before crossing the Flint River.

7153 Hwy 431 S Owens Cross Roads, Huntsville, AL 35763


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