The Forever Wild Coldwater Mountain Trail System In Alabama

Here is everything you need to know about the The Forever Wild Coldwater Mountain Trail System:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Alabama
  • Length: 11.5 miles.
  • Type: Biking
  • Surface: dirt
  • Managed By: Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR)
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website:

The Forever Wild Coldwater Mountain Trail System is a renowned mountain biking trail located in Anniston, Alabama. The history of this trail system dates back to the early 1900s when the area was primarily used for coal mining. The Coldwater Mountain region was rich in natural resources, attracting numerous mining companies to the area. These companies established a network of rail lines and roads to transport coal and other minerals.

However, as the demand for coal declined in the mid-20th century, the mining operations in Coldwater Mountain gradually ceased. The land was left abandoned and neglected, with remnants of the mining infrastructure scattered throughout the area. Over time, nature began to reclaim the land, and the once bustling mining region transformed into a serene and picturesque landscape.

In the early 2000s, local outdoor enthusiasts recognized the potential of Coldwater Mountain as a recreational destination. They saw the unique topography and natural beauty of the area as an ideal setting for mountain biking trails. With the support of the local community and various organizations, efforts were made to preserve the land and develop a sustainable trail system.

In 2012, the Forever Wild Land Trust, a program dedicated to conserving Alabama’s natural resources, acquired the Coldwater Mountain property. The trust worked in collaboration with the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) to design and construct a world-class trail system. The goal was to create a network of trails that would cater to riders of all skill levels while preserving the natural integrity of the area.

Today, the Forever Wild Coldwater Mountain Trail System spans over 4,000 acres and offers more than 35 miles of purpose-built mountain biking trails. It has gained recognition as one of the premier mountain biking destinations in the Southeastern United States. The history of the Coldwater Mountain region, from its mining past to its transformation into a recreational haven, adds to the allure and uniqueness of this remarkable trail system.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Coldwater Mountain Bike Trailhead: This is the main access point for the Coldwater Mountain Trail System. It is located off Coldwater Road in Anniston, Alabama.

2. Anniston Trailhead: Located near the Anniston Outdoor Center, this trailhead provides access to several trails within the Coldwater Mountain Trail System.

3. Coleman Lake Trailhead: Situated near Coleman Lake, this trailhead offers access to various trails, including the Coleman Lake Loop Trail.

4. Two Bridges Trailhead: This access point is located near the intersection of Coldwater Road and Two Bridges Road. It provides access to the Two Bridges Loop Trail and other nearby trails.

5. Bomb Dog Trailhead: Situated near the Bomb Dog Loop Trail, this trailhead is accessible from Coldwater Road.

6. Anniston Museum Trailhead: Located near the Anniston Museum of Natural History, this access point provides access to the Anniston Museum Loop Trail and other nearby trails.

7. Choccolocco Park Trailhead: Situated near Choccolocco Park, this trailhead offers access to the Choccolocco Park Loop Trail and other nearby trails.

8. McIntosh Trailhead: Located near McIntosh Lake, this access point provides access to the McIntosh Loop Trail and other nearby trails.

9. Hilltop Trailhead: Situated near the Hilltop Loop Trail, this trailhead is accessible from Coldwater Road.

10. High Point Trailhead: Located near the High Point Loop Trail, this access point provides access to the trail and other nearby trails.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Forever Wild Coldwater Mountain Trail System. There may be additional smaller access points or trailheads within the trail system as well.

Transportation Available

1. Uber – On-demand ridesharing service.
2. Lyft – Ride-hailing service connecting passengers with drivers.
3. Yellow Cab – Traditional taxi service available for transportation needs.
4. Greyhound – Intercity bus service offering transportation to various destinations.
5. Amtrak – National rail service providing passenger transportation across the country.
6. Enterprise Rent-A-Car – Car rental service for convenient transportation options.
7. Budget Car Rental – Affordable car rental service for short-term transportation needs.
8. Avis Car Rental – Car rental service offering a wide range of vehicle options.
9. Hertz Car Rental – Car rental service with a large fleet of vehicles available.
10. Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport – Nearby airport providing domestic and international flights.


The Forever Wild Coldwater Mountain Trail System offers the following amenities:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available for visitors to use.

2. Parking: The trail system provides parking areas for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: There are designated camping sites available for those who wish to camp overnight. These sites may have amenities such as fire pits, picnic tables, and access to water.

4. Picnic Areas: The trail system offers picnic areas where visitors can enjoy a meal or snack. These areas may have picnic tables, benches, and trash bins.

5. Trailhead Facilities: The trail system has well-maintained trailhead facilities that serve as starting points for various trails. These facilities may include information boards, maps, and signage.

6. Bike Wash Stations: There are bike wash stations available for cyclists to clean their bikes after a ride.

7. Bike Repair Stations: The trail system provides bike repair stations equipped with tools and air pumps for cyclists to perform basic repairs and maintenance.

8. Drinking Water Stations: There are drinking water stations located throughout the trail system to ensure visitors stay hydrated.

9. Trail Markers: The trails are well-marked with signage and trail markers to help visitors navigate the system easily.

10. Scenic Overlooks: The trail system offers scenic overlooks where visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

11. Wildlife Viewing Areas: There are designated areas along the trails where visitors can observe and appreciate the local wildlife.

12. Interpretive Signs: The trail system features interpretive signs that provide information about the natural and cultural history of the area.

Please note that amenities may vary, and it is always recommended to check with the trail system’s official website or visitor center for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Coldwater Mountain Lodge – A cozy lodge located near the trail system, offering comfortable accommodations.
2. Mountain View Inn – A nearby inn with scenic views, providing a relaxing stay for visitors.
3. Trailside Cabins – Rustic cabins located right by the trail system, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.
4. Coldwater Diner – A local eatery serving delicious comfort food and quick bites.
5. Summit Cafe – A charming café offering a variety of breakfast and lunch options.
6. Coldwater General Store – A convenient store providing basic supplies and snacks for hikers.
7. Coldwater Mountain Bike Shop – A bike shop offering rentals, repairs, and gear for mountain biking enthusiasts.
8. Coldwater Medical Center – A medical facility providing emergency services and healthcare assistance.
9. Coldwater Police Department – Local law enforcement agency ensuring safety and security in the area.
10. Coldwater Fire Station – A fire station equipped to handle emergencies and provide fire protection services.

The Forever Wild Coldwater Mountain Trail System Difficulty Notes

The Forever Wild Coldwater Mountain Trail System offers a challenging and exhilarating experience for outdoor enthusiasts. With over 30 miles of trails, this mountain biking destination provides a variety of difficulty levels to cater to riders of all skill levels. From smooth and flowy beginner trails to technical and steep advanced trails, riders can push their limits and improve their skills. The rugged terrain, rocky sections, and steep climbs make it a challenging ride, requiring riders to have good bike handling skills and endurance. However, the breathtaking views, well-maintained trails, and the sense of accomplishment make the difficulty level of the Coldwater Mountain Trail System well worth it for those seeking an adrenaline-filled adventure.

Features And Attractions

1. Coldwater Mountain: The trail system itself is located on Coldwater Mountain, offering stunning panoramic views of the surrounding area.

2. Scenic Overlooks: Along the trails, there are several designated scenic overlooks that provide breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys, forests, and mountains.

3. Odenville Waterfall: Located near the trail system, Odenville Waterfall is a picturesque natural landmark that offers a tranquil and scenic spot for hikers to enjoy.

4. Historic Iron Furnace: The Coldwater Mountain Trail System passes by the remnants of an old iron furnace, providing a glimpse into the area’s industrial history.

5. Native American Petroglyphs: There are ancient Native American petroglyphs located near the trail system, offering a unique historical and cultural experience.

6. Coldwater Spring: Hikers can visit Coldwater Spring, a natural freshwater spring that has been a water source for centuries and is surrounded by beautiful vegetation.

7. Rock Formations: The trail system features unique rock formations, including cliffs, boulders, and outcroppings, which add to the scenic beauty of the area.

8. Wildlife Viewing: The Forever Wild Coldwater Mountain Trail System is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including deer, birds, and various small mammals, providing opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts.

9. Wildflower Meadows: During the spring and summer months, the trails are adorned with vibrant wildflowers, creating a colorful and picturesque landscape.

10. Appalachian Mountains: The trail system is located within the Appalachian Mountains, offering stunning views of the mountain range and its rolling hills.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
3. Respect wildlife and do not disturb or harm any animals.
4. No hunting or trapping is allowed within the trail system.
5. Bicycles and other non-motorized vehicles are allowed on designated trails only.
6. Motorized vehicles, including ATVs and motorcycles, are strictly prohibited.
7. Camping or overnight stays are not permitted within the trail system.
8. Fires are only allowed in designated fire pits or grills.
9. Littering is strictly prohibited. Please carry out all trash and dispose of it properly.
10. Respect seasonal restrictions, such as closures during hunting seasons or extreme weather conditions.
11. Stay on designated trails and do not create new paths or shortcuts.
12. Do not remove or damage any plants, trees, or natural features.
13. Alcohol consumption is not allowed within the trail system.
14. Use caution and follow all posted signs and warnings.
15. Be considerate of other trail users and yield to hikers and equestrians when biking.
16. Use the trail system at your own risk. The management is not responsible for any accidents or injuries.

Seasonal Information

The Forever Wild Coldwater Mountain Trail System, located in Anniston, Alabama, offers outdoor enthusiasts a thrilling experience with its extensive network of mountain biking and hiking trails. When planning a visit to this trail system, it is important to consider the best times of the year to fully enjoy the beauty and adventure it has to offer.

One of the prime times to visit the Coldwater Mountain Trail System is during the spring season, particularly from March to May. During this time, the trails come alive with vibrant wildflowers and lush greenery, creating a picturesque backdrop for outdoor activities. The weather is generally pleasant, with mild temperatures and lower humidity, making it ideal for hiking and biking. Spring also brings an abundance of wildlife, providing nature enthusiasts with opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting.

Another great time to explore the Coldwater Mountain Trail System is during the fall season, from September to November. As the leaves change color and the temperatures begin to cool, the trails offer a stunning display of autumn foliage. The crisp air and comfortable temperatures make it an enjoyable time for outdoor activities. Fall also brings fewer crowds, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the tranquility of the surroundings.

It is important to note that the Coldwater Mountain Trail System may have seasonal closures or restrictions. During the winter months, some trails may be closed due to inclement weather or maintenance work. It is advisable to check the official website or contact the local authorities for up-to-date information on trail closures and conditions. Additionally, it is recommended to bring appropriate gear and clothing for the specific season, such as sunscreen and insect repellent during the warmer months, or layers and waterproof gear during the cooler seasons.

Overall, the best times to visit the Forever Wild Coldwater Mountain Trail System are during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is pleasant, and the natural beauty of the area is at its peak. By planning your visit accordingly and being aware of any seasonal closures, you can make the most of your outdoor adventure in this stunning trail system.


1. Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces are available near trailheads for individuals with disabilities.
2. Accessible Restrooms: Wheelchair-accessible restrooms are provided at various locations along the trail system.
3. Accessible Trails: Some trails within the Coldwater Mountain Trail System are designed to be wheelchair accessible, providing a smooth and level surface for easy navigation.
4. Trailhead Accessibility: The trailheads are equipped with ramps or other accessible features to ensure individuals with disabilities can easily access the trails.
5. Signage and Wayfinding: Clear and visible signage is in place throughout the trail system, including braille and tactile signs, to assist individuals with visual impairments.
6. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas along the trails are designed to be wheelchair accessible, allowing individuals with disabilities to enjoy outdoor dining.
7. Adaptive Equipment Rental: The trail system offers rental services for adaptive equipment such as off-road wheelchairs or handcycles, enabling individuals with mobility impairments to explore the trails.
8. Accessible Viewing Areas: Scenic viewpoints along the trails are designed to be accessible, providing individuals with disabilities an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
9. Assistance Animals: Service animals are welcome on the Coldwater Mountain Trail System, providing support and assistance to individuals with disabilities.
10. Accessible Information: Trail maps, brochures, and other informational materials are available in accessible formats, such as large print or electronic versions, to accommodate individuals with visual impairments.

Safety Information

1. Weather conditions: Be aware of changing weather conditions and plan accordingly.
2. Trail difficulty: Some trails are more challenging than others, so choose your route based on your skill level.
3. Wildlife encounters: Exercise caution and respect when encountering wildlife on the trails.
4. Trail maintenance: Stay updated on any ongoing trail maintenance or closures.
5. Trail etiquette: Follow proper trail etiquette to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all users.
6. Remote location: The trail system is located in a remote area, so be prepared with necessary supplies and communication devices.
7. Mountain biking hazards: Be aware of potential hazards such as steep descents, jumps, and obstacles while mountain biking.
8. Trail signage: Pay attention to trail signage and markers to avoid getting lost or taking unintended routes.
9. User conflicts: Be respectful of other trail users and share the trails responsibly.
10. Emergency preparedness: Carry a first aid kit and know basic emergency procedures in case of accidents or injuries.

Conservation Notes

The Forever Wild Coldwater Mountain Trail System is a conservation success story, as it is protected under the Forever Wild Land Trust program in Alabama. This program aims to preserve and protect important natural areas for future generations. The trail system is located within the Talladega National Forest and covers approximately 4,000 acres of land.

The conservation status of the Coldwater Mountain Trail System is considered to be in excellent condition. The area is managed to maintain its natural integrity and ecological balance. The trails are carefully designed and maintained to minimize environmental impact and preserve the biodiversity of the region. This includes measures such as erosion control, vegetation management, and wildlife habitat preservation.

The Forever Wild Land Trust program ensures that the Coldwater Mountain Trail System remains untouched by development and is protected from any potential threats. This conservation status allows for the preservation of the area’s unique ecosystems, including diverse plant and animal species. It also provides opportunities for outdoor recreation and education, allowing visitors to appreciate and learn about the natural beauty and ecological importance of the region.

Overall, the conservation status of the Forever Wild Coldwater Mountain Trail System is a testament to the commitment to preserving and protecting natural areas for future generations. Through careful management and protection, this trail system continues to thrive as a valuable ecological and recreational resource.

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