Hike details: Easy, one mile round trip.
Location: Near Madison, AL South of I-565 (see map at the bottom)
We have both been involved with a local Forest School group since 2020. I have remained plugged in to the group and was excited to join them on a hike today at the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge’s Beaverdam Boardwalk. While we did not observe the actual beaver dam, we did see a forest of towering Tupelo Gum’s, some early spring wildflowers, and a few different species of mushrooms. Since we had our five combined kids in tow along with around 30 other outdoor enthusiasts, we primarily got photos of the kids and less of the flora and fauna.
This is such a great hike for families. As I’m writing this, I realized it would be a great place to bring my grandparents because it is wheelchair accessible! There is a section in the beginning that is crushed gravel, but it was wide and flat enough that it should not pose an issue to wheelchairs unless it was muddy. We have had a lot of rain recently and had no issues. We were lucky to make our first visit following recent renovations of the boardwalk. In total, the hike is one-mile. It is an out-and-back trail with majority of the walk consisting of boardwalk. You can’t get lost. It’s easy, fun, and beautiful. Due to its location just south of I-565 there is some road noise, it was hard to hold a conversation in the parking area, but once we were in the woods it became less noticeable. I enjoyed this trail because it exposed us to an entirely different ecosystem than we usually enjoy on our hikes in North Alabama and Tennessee. Bonus points that it is close to home and stroller friendly!
While we had no issues with bugs or gators on this warm February morning, those are two things that I imagine would frequent the area in warmer seasons. Something to keep in mind when you are planning your hike.