The SHOAL CREEK PRESERVE TRACT in Lauderdale County consists of approximately 298 acres. Habitats across the site include fallow fields, mature upland hardwood stands and scenic creek bottoms. Waterways consist of Indian Camp Creek, Lawson Creek, Jones Branch, and Shoal Creek. Management objectives are preserving natural plant and animal species and habitats, while providing opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, fishing, canoeing, picnicking, bird watching, photography and nature study. Motorized vehicles are only allowed in designated parking areas and access roads. The tract is located approximately 7 miles from Florence, AL and 3 miles north of the St Florian community. Access is via an unimproved road off Lauderdale County Road 61. The Shoal Creek Preserve Tract has two hiking trails; the Jones Branch Loop (2.4 miles) and the Lawson Branch Loop (1.8 miles). The Tract also has a 2.1 mile horseback riding trail.
Not bad! There's a lot more trail than shown on the map. We ran for a good bit of the hike, as the trails were generally even enough to allow for it, with only a few hills, etc. to climb. There's some sort of grave or memorial in the parking lot I was very curious about and we found a small sinkhole/cave on the northernmost section of horse trail.
Definitely a good place to go horseback riding! There's a large parking lot and a few spots along the trails with water available from the creek.
yeah, you might want to know that the trail is pretty long before you take your 3 year old daughter and your wife with you for a great day out in nature. Some maps at the trail head would have been nice or some mile markers on the trail ( I guess that is what this website is for...duh). Other than that, we had a great time and it was a great trail once you get in the woods and it was pretty well marked.
I would also like to add to my review that as a responsible gun owner who legally carries a gun everywhere I would like to apologize for the idiots that shoot up the trail marker signs. Who ever did that is not a representation of gun owners in general. If you are reading this and are one of the perpetrators please stop!
Hiked both trails in the preserve - you have to hike part of the Jones Branch Loop to get to this one. Well marked and maintained. Horse trail crosses Lawson Branch Loop in many places - helped me to keep track of where we were on the trail. Pretty scenery - wildflowers, follows smaller creeks that empty into Shoals Creek and follows Shoals Creek part of the way with trail reaching bluff over the creek. Rescued a box turtle that was flipped on his back. Met 2 people on horseback. Examined a hole/small cave on the bluff - couldn't tell how deep it was. Used insect repellant, but bugs weren't bad at all. Took about 2.5 hours to walk both trails clockwise - easy pace.
Nice hike - did both foot trails in this preserve. Beautiful woods - trail is very well marked and maintained with red blazes. The horse trail crosses the foot trail in many places. If you can only hike one trail, the Lawson Branch Loop is the prettiest and most interesting of the two, since it follows more of Shoals Creek, but you'll have to hike about a third of the Jones Branch Loop to reach the Lawson Branch Loop. There is a large graveled lot at the start with a kiosk showing a map of the trails. If you take the trail to the left, you'll be on the shorter section to reach the other trail. I love that both trails are loops. Preserve is just north of Florence, AL, and near the St. Florian area.
Great ride!...there is a lot of ground to cover here, beautiful scenery trails are well kept! I only rode Jones Branch loop but I plan to explore the rest very soon. There is a nice parking area with a map posting all trails (I recommend using a tracker). Trail signs are marked throughout but could be confusing to some but overall it was a fantastic experience!
Hiked this trail again yesterday. Trail was in excellent shape. Looks like some folks come out here to drink at night as there were several bottles around. I always seem to lose my way on this trail though it's easy to follow. I just have trouble correlating my position on the ground to my position on the map. Also I wish the blazes (there are many, and easy to follow) were different colors rather than red and double red. Overall great place.
This is a pretty hike when I don't have the gas to get to Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve or the Sipsey Wilderness. If you do both loops you can do a 5-mile hike. The first time we did this trail we missed the connection to head back and ended up doing the whole 5-miles. My girls were in flip-flops and there were not happy! There is a pretty creek area and an interesting cave on this trail.