Rainbow Mountain Alabama provides you ecstatic hiking to rocky terrains in the City of Madison. It is a small beautiful mountain that delivers natural intimacy.
It is a tourist hotspot for hiking with beautiful wildflowers and enriched fauna. Across the Tennesse River, this mountain unfurls a chain of diverse trails. If you are planning for hiking this season, then check them out.
Madison City, Alabama, is one of the fastest-growing cities in the US. Famous for military activities and aerospace development, the city is bordered by Huntsville. Enriched with limestone pockets, the city has versatile geography. Last year it witnessed 3.35 million visitors with a 6% hike.
The city has several parks and preserved areas that attract tourists from several parts of the country. Insanity Skate Park, Dublin Memorial Park, Palmer Park, and Creek Wood Park are tourist hotspots. Madison Public Library and Madison City Farmers Market can also be accessed for a change.
Meanwhile, Rainbow Mountain, Alabama, is the most visited place in Madison. The comfortable weather and less snowfall make it an ideal hiking spot. Within the limits of the city’s life, you can feel the ineffable wildflowers and trees. It secures the top rank in the Vacation Idea Magazine.
There is a fascinating story behind the name Rainbow Mountain. Previously this mountain area was owned by Elisha Rainbolt and his wife Phyllis, with Dutch ancestry. Rainbolt was mispronounced and misunderstood as Rainbow. Thus the mountain became popular as the mispronounced name.
Today the area is protected collaboratively by North Alabama Land Trust and Huntsville City Administration. The area is part of the Appalachian Plateau, with the Tennessee River on one side. Fountains that spur from the rocks rhyme with the serenity of the woods.
Just a few minutes of ride from Hughes Road, the mountain flourishes a series of exciting and unpaved paths trails. Stretched to an area of 65-acre, it catches your attention with its sandstone outcrops. These sandstone outcrops are one of their attractive features.
Exotic Trails of Rainbow Mountain Alabama
The Rainbow Mountain is a 3 miles trail with an impressive rock formation. Rock variation distinguishes it from other trails. Located in the heart of Madison, Alabama, it provides an adventurous hiking experience with a flavor of serendipitous wild aroma. Balanced Rock, with a unique exhibition of gravitational surrealism, is the center of attraction.
Rainbow Loop and Ja Koo Moo are the two main trails. Most of the travel writers mention only these two trials. However, the mountain exhibits several other unpaved trails juxtaposed in a natural setting.
There are several intersections. The web of trails has a variety of hiking experiences to exhibit. These trails present various trees, some unique wild entities, a playground, and a waterfall. Boulders, fallen trees, and uneven pave make the hiking experience more exciting.
Trails of the Rainbow Mountain Alabama can be categorized as easy, medium, and difficult based on their accessibility. Although reaching the mountain area is not a tiring task. You can park your bike in the parking area near the preserve. You can get a map and instructions in the parking area.
2 Exotic Trails of Rainbow Mountain Alabama:
1. Rainbow Mountain Loop Trail
Top of the list is Rainbow Loop Trail. It is the main trail that gives access to other trails. It is the adobe of the Balanced Rock, and the entrance is quite easy.
There are two entrances to the trail. One is the common entrance straight from the gravel parking lot. Another is near the water tower in the old parking area. There is also a cellular tower that can be used as a navigation point. The map guides you easily to find both entrances.
The first half-mile hiking is easy as the trail is well paved. As you progress further 1/2 mile, the trail becomes rocky. Before it intersects with the Spring Trail, there lies a creek bed. There is also a historic playground at the intersection that offers a good picnic spot.
The trial proves to be technical. It challenges you with rocks and roots. The inclines are an additional feature. Hiking lovers will surely enjoy this.
You can also accompany your dog as it is well paved with a little rock setting.
Balanced Rock is the center of attraction at the Rainbow Loop Trail. It is part of the trail that is very much like a pyramid structure upside down. Its base is narrow. It holds a larger rock structure vertically. The head of the rock is flattened and square. It assumes that it could fall at any moment in time. But it has been standing there for a long time and will continue to entertain the visitors in the future.
All the rocks of the mountain are made of limestone. There are even natural caves in rock settings. Few trees have navigation marks for proper roaming.
The preserve area is stretched around 65 acres, but the trail is 3 miles long. Rainbow Loop Trail covers half the distance. It gives you good exercise within a few miles.
The trail offers diverse vegetation. Mushrooms are available in exciting varieties. The moist air helps fungi grow. Oaks and other hardwoods are the main natural trees.
Before meeting the Ja Moo Koo Trail, the Spring Trail intersects in the 3/4 mile way. The trail has good wildflower varieties to offer.
During the blooming season, you can see serene flowers like hepatic, Betsy trillium, and others. The best months to enjoy a glimpse of these wild delicacies are March and April.
Spring Trail progresses downhill, and the trail is untouched by any artificial pave. The trail gives you a complete experience of wildlife hiking with rock boulders and fallen trees. The trail has a creek and a spring.
The wild trail is another section of the trail that brings back to the Rainbow Loop Trail. It doesn’t have any natural charm to deliver. Hikers generally skip this trail.
It is advised to follow the map and the navigation to hike properly. Otherwise, you may keep walking in a circular path returning to the same point every time.
2. Ja Moo Koo Loop Trail
The variety of rocks at Rainbow Mountain, Alabama, makes it an interesting destination for beginners. This variation is witnessed in the next popular trail that is the Ja Moo Koo. Just one and a half-mile far from Rainbow Loop Trail, it has some large rocks. It is advised to be alert for any distractions that may lead to wandering on the mountain trail.
It is an extension to the Rainbow Loop Trail headed to the northeast. It has a great forest setting. The humid-temperate and humid-subtropical climates of Albama are responsible for hardwood forests in this area. Pine trees can be seen here with little variation than other species.
Ja Moo Koo Trail belongs to the moderate hiking zone. There are several rocks on the pavement that make it a rocky climb. The trail is sloppy after few meters ahead. Persimmon trees cover the area, and you can find orange persimmon fruit on the ground.
Birds, possums, and skunks can be seen at the trail as they feast over persimmon fruit. Trees and rocks are two main features of this trail. If you are a fitness lover, this trail is best for you. The rocky boulders and narrow pave will let you sweat more.
You may also check some other natural sites of North Alabama at the link below:
In Nature’s Lap
It feels really amazing to find a place like Rainbow Mountain, Alabama, within the limits of a populated city. The mountain is known as the heart of Madison city. When you visit the mountain, its atmosphere freshens you with pure air. The scenery view of fossils, trees, stones, and wildflowers soothes your eyes.
Part of the Appalachian Plateau, these mountain trails exhibit some unique wild creatures and habitats. The hot easterly slopes and the moist, cooler westerly slopes have trees like oaks, hardwoods, and several other species. Squirrels and chipmunks are found in abundance.
During the whole hiking that starts from the Rainbow Loop Trail and ends at the Wild Trail, you definitely observe some unique and memorable creatures of nature. Whether it’s the Balanced Rock or the wildflowers like wild blue phlox, Betsy trillium, violet woodsorrel, and others, their presence makes you feel in the lap of nature.
Dos and Don’ts
- Always follow the navigating trees.
- Try to hike in a group.
- Don’t hold on to the trees, as some wild trees are poisonous.
- Keep an eye on the trail as there could be snakes.
- You can accompany your dog but on a leash.
March to May and September onwards are the best months to visit Rainbow Mountain, Alabama. In September, purple butterflies appear here, which are so beautiful to see. It is really an oasis amidst the city. During winter you can easily see the city downwards. The natural diversity is remarkable here. It would help if you visited this oasis.
The Rainbow Mountain Preserve is well maintained and administered by the Land Trust of North Alabama.