Alabama is fortunate to have a vast, impressive trail network throughout the state. Trails wind through countless wooded areas, within close distance to white sandy beaches, and up to the highest mountains. However, historically there haven’t been many trail options available surrounding the state’s lakes. That recently changed with the addition of The Preserves, an initiative by Alabama Power to create multiple outdoor recreational areas around many of our beautiful lakes. I recently got the opportunity to do some exploring on two of Alabama Power-owned properties that make up a portion of The Preserves—Double Cove at Logan Martin Lake and Fox Creek at Lake Wedowee.
From hiking and biking, to bird watching and lounging, The Preserves are core to the Alabama Power ideal of merging nature with recreational activities. The lands allow people to enjoy, learn, and grow a deeper appreciation of the state’s ecology and natural landscape, and they are inclusive and open to all. The Preserves feature varying amenities such as playgrounds, trails, boat ramps, picnic areas, gazebos, fishing piers, and swim areas. Lakes that currently have completed projects or will have them completed in the next year include Lay Lake, Logan Martin Lake, Weiss Lake, Lake Martin, Lake Wedowee, Neely Henry Lake, Smith Lake, and Lake Jordan.
I decided to run the trails at Double Cove (Logan Martin Lake) and Fox Creek (Lake Wedowee) a few weeks back in order to experience for myself what Alabama Power had developed. Trails at all the different lake locations range from half a mile to close to five miles in length. They vary in terms of difficulty, as I would find out on my runs.
I started with exploring Double Cove at Logan Martin Lake. The land features amenities ranging from a 4,000 square-foot playground to fishing piers and a swimming area. But I was there to run the main loop trail, a nearly 2-mile loop around most of the property. I took off on my run going counterclockwise and was immediately impressed. The trail was very well maintained and markings for wayfinding were great. The trail featured an overlook of the lake about 1.5 miles into my run.
Before I knew it, I was back at the trailhead and lounging by the water. It was very clear to me that this property and trail system will be very popular for lake visitors on any weekend throughout the year. I ended my day with dinner at The Back Porch on Alpine Bay. Appropriately named, this restaurant is the perfect spot to have a drink outside on the back porch while watching the boaters come in from a day on the lake. I’d recommend the catfish, it was delicious!
Next up, I drove to the eastern side of the state to visit Fox Creek at Lake Wedowee. This property features an outer loop trail called Fox Trot and several connector trails in the middle. I arrived at the trailhead and was immediately excited about my run. The trail features include forested single-track, constant views of the lake, and an abundance of silence. What surprised me the most was the amount of elevation change that occured. Despite being right next to the water, the trail was constantly rolling and included a few big climbs/descents.
Similar to Double Cove, Fox Creek is very well marked with trail signage every 15-20 yards. Though leaves had recently fallen and covered the trail, it was good knowing that I wasn’t going to get lost out there. The trail was perfect for runners and hikers looking to test their legs while having scenic views of the lake throughout. Around the 2-mile mark, running counterclockwise, the trail takes you to a newly-constructed gazebo that is perfect for a quick break and a great view. After sitting for a few minutes, I took off to explore the rest of the trail. Soon, I passed an area with soil overturned and realized this is where Alabama Power is adding pollinator plots in the middle of the property. Once completed, this will add some additional beauty to the trails.
With daylight fading, I soon found myself back at the parking lot and feeling quite accomplished. Though the trailhead stated that Fox Trot trail is 3.36 miles long, my watch recorded closer to 4 miles in distance. In need of some food after a hard run, I stopped at Randy’s on the River for a burger and fries. If you go on the right day, they even have karaoke and trivia!
More information on The Preserves will soon be available on a dedicated website. Be on the lookout for it on our website so you can get out there and log your 100 Alabama Miles Challenge miles!