2 Magnificent Trails of Rainbow Mountain Alabama

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rainbow mountain alabama
by Angorius / unlimphotos

As majestic as it sounds as beautiful as it is. Rainbow Mountain Alabama provides you with everything from terrific hiking to rocky terrains in the City of Madison. It is a small beautiful mountain that delivers natural intimacy.

Across the Tennessee River, this mountain unfurls a chain of diverse trails. It is a tourist hotspot for hiking with beautiful wildflowers and enriched fauna.

If you are planning for hiking this season, then be sure to check them out.

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Photo by Åaker on Unsplash. Copyright 2018

Rainbow Mountain Alabama

Madison, Alabama, is one of the fastest-growing cities in the US. Last year it witnessed 3.35 million visitors with a 6% hike.

Famous for military activities and aerospace development, the city is bordered by Huntsville. Enriched with limestone pockets, the city has versatile geography.

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. It also secures the top rank in Vacation Idea Magazine.

History of the Name

There is a fascinating story behind the name Rainbow Mountain Alabama. Previously this mountain area was owned by Elisha Rainbolt and his wife Phyllis, of Dutch ancestry. Rainbolt was mispronounced and misunderstood as Rainbow.

Thus, the mountain became popular as the mispronounced name.

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Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash. Copyright 2016

The area is a part of the Appalachian Plateau, with the Tennessee River on one side and the fountains that spur from the rocks rhyme with the serenity of the woods on the other. Today, the area is protected by North Alabama Land Trust and Huntsville City Administration.

Just a few minutes of ride from Hughes Road, the mountain flourishes with many exciting and unpaved paths and trails. Stretched over an area of 65 acres, 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 Alabama is a 3 miles trail with an impressive rock formation. It’s the rock variation here that 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. With a unique exhibition of gravitational surrealism, Balanced Rock is the center of attraction.

Rainbow Loop and Ja Koo Moo are the two main trails. However, the mountain exhibits several other unpaved trails juxtaposed in a natural setting.

The web of trails has a variety of hiking experiences to exhibit. These trails present various trees, unique wild entities, a playground, and a waterfall. Boulders, fallen trees, and uneven paths make the hiking experience more exciting.

Trails of the Rainbow Mountain Alabama can be categorized distinctively 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 and can get access to a map and instructions in the parking area itself.

1. Rainbow Mountain Alabama Loop Trail

Entry Point

  • The 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, while 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.

Main Trail

  • The first half-mile of 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 get your dog to accompany you since the path is well-paved with a little rock setting.

Center of Attraction

  • Balanced Rock is the center of attraction at the Rainbow Loop Trail. It is part of the trail that is like a pyramid structure upside down. Its base is narrow and holds a larger rock structure vertically.
  • The head of the rock is flattened and square, one would assume that it could fall at any moment in time. But it has been standing there for a long time and will continue to entertain visitors in the future.
  • All the rocks of the mountain are made of limestone, there are even natural caves in rock settings. For your assistance, a few trees have navigation marks for proper roaming.
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Photo by Gary Yost on Unsplash. copyright 2020

Along the Trail

  • The preserved area is around 65 acres, but the trail is 3 miles long. Rainbow Loop Trail covers half the distance and gives you good exercise within a few miles.
  • The trail offers diverse vegetation, oaks and other hardwoods are the main natural trees, and even mushrooms and wildflowers are available in exciting varieties.              
  • You can discover serene flowers like hepatic, Betsy trillium, and others during the blooming season. 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 pavement. The trail has a creek and a spring. The trail gives you a complete experience of wildlife hiking with rock boulders and fallen trees.
  • The wild trail is another section that brings us back to the Rainbow Loop Trail. It doesn’t have any natural charm to deliver, so 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, the Ja Moo Koo. It has some large rocks just one and a half-mile from Rainbow Loop Trail. It is advised to be alert for any distractions that may lead to wandering on the mountain trail.

It is an extension of the Rainbow Loop Trail headed to the northeast and has a great forest setting. Pine trees can be seen here with little variation than other species. The humid-temperate and humid-subtropical climates of Alabama are responsible for hardwood forests in this area.

Hiking at Ja Moo Koo

  • Ja Moo Koo Trail belongs to the moderate hiking zone.
  • The trail is sloppy a few meters ahead as there are several rocks on the pavement that make it a rocky climb.
  • Persimmon trees cover the area, and you can find orange persimmon fruit on the ground.

Along the Trail

  • Trees and rocks are the two main features of this trail.
  • Birds, possums, and skunks can be seen on the trail as they feast on persimmon fruit.
  • 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 Top 10 Best Waterfalls In North Alabama.

In the Nature’s Lap

It feels 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 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 also found in abundance.

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by geargodz / unilimphotos

During the whole hike that starts from the Rainbow Loop Trail and ends at the Wild Trail, you observe some unique and memorable creatures of nature.

Whether it’s the Balanced Rock or the wildflowers like wild blue phlox, Betsy trillium, violet wood sorrel, and others, their presence makes you feel in the lap of nature. 

Do’s and Don’ts

  1. Always follow the navigating trees.
  2. Try to hike in a group.
  3. Don’t hold on to the trees, as some wild trees are poisonous.
  4. Keep an eye on the trail as there could be snakes.
  5. You can accompany your dog on a leash.

March to May and September are the best months to visit Rainbow Mountain Alabama.

In September, purple butterflies appear here, which are beautiful. It is an oasis amidst the city. During winter you can easily see the city downwards. The natural diversity is remarkable here and it would help if you visited this oasis.

The Rainbow Mountain Preserve is well maintained and administered by the Land Trust of North Alabama.

End Note

The comfortable weather and less snowfall make Rainbow Mountain Alabama an ideal hiking spot within the limits of the city’s life, you can choose to camp, hike, or just simply relax, whatever you want for your perfect getaway.

Visit now and let us know your experience in the comments!

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