Hikes,  Kid Friendly Hikes

Rainbow Mountain Nature Preserve

Rainbow Mountain Nature Preserve in Madison City, Alabama, is part of The Land Trust of North Alabama. It offers over 3 miles and 147 acres of unique hiking experiences that differ from many other trails and preserves in the area. It’s mostly rocky terrain provides numerous moderate to difficult trails in the lower areas of the preserve, making it an excellent place for a workout. A playground for children is located at the entrance of the preserve, inviting the entire family to stay active. However, it’s important to note that not all the trails in the preserve are kid-friendly. If hikers stick to the top of the preserve, close to the playground, on trails such as High Trail, Balance Rock, Stone Ridge Trail, and parts of Rainbow Mountain Loop, the terrain is fairly flat and easy. But once the trails start to descend, especially on Rainbow Mountain Loop, the hike becomes more strenuous due to elevation changes and lots of rock climbing. In many places it felt like goat climbing since you literally have to climb over rocks.


Rainbow Mountain Loop (1.53mi): This is the longest and most popular of the trails on the Rainbow Mountain Nature Preserve. This trail is not for the weak. It is probably a moderate to difficult due to the descent down the hills and the terrain becomes quite rocky where you will be climbing around rocks. A hiking pole is recommended over here if balance is an issue.

Stoneridge Trail (0.07 mi): This trail starts from beginning of the trailhead on the middle trail that is directly behind the playground. This trail stays relatively flat making it quite a simple and charming trail to walk. Stoneridge Trail ends on Jakes Trail.

Balance Rock Trail (0.27 mi): This trail has to be the most kid friendly trail at the preserve. It has amazing rock formations and boulders that kids can climb on. The trail is also relatively easy and flat. This is my kids’ absolute favorite trail to go on when we come.

High Pass Trail (0.11 mi): A beautiful, easy connecter trail the takes you through a path of wildflowers and berries leading to a scenic overlook of the rocky preserve. The trail can be accessed from the Balance Rock Trail close to the upper parking lot.

Spring Trail(0.2 mi): This is my favorite trail at the preserve. It takes you along multiple waterfalls and springs as you climb the trail. It is simply beautiful! There are four entrances to the trail, two of them are connected with Rainbow Mountain Loop, one enters from Wild Trail and the other from the Oakhurst Drive neighborhood.

Wild Trail ( 0.35 mi): This is a short connecter trail. The trail lives up to its name with rocky terrain, elevation and lots of plants on the trail.

Ja Moo Koo Trail (0.8 mi): Is an optional extension to Rainbow Mountain Loop, making it an additional loop. This loop itself is less rocky and intense then the main loop. It also has quite a bit of shade keeping it cooler. If you are feeling like doing an extra-long hike, this is the perfect trail to add on to Rainbow Mountain Loop.

Jakes Trail (0.07mi): A short, easy connector trail that intersects at the end of Stoneridge Trail and at two points of Rainbow Mountain Loop. Jakes Trail was named after the original owner’s dog.

Berry Trail (0.08 mi): This trail connects Rainbow Mountain Loop to Wild Trail. It is a short but extremely steep trail. It is great for a shorter hike if you do not feel like taking the full Rainbow Mountain Loop Trail.

Important Info:

Difficulty: Trails range from easy at the top of the preserve to strenuous as you walk deeper into the trails.

Location: 230 Stoneway Trail, Madison AL,35758

Parking: There are two parking locations areas for the Preserve offering plenty of parking. The main parking area is next to the the Pavilion. The second parking area is up the road near the water tower. Balance Rock Trail will be accessible from the parking lot to start your hike off.

Map: A map of the preserve can be accessed here.

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