Hike To the Hidden Lost Sink Falls in Huntsville, Alabama
Most people come to Huntsville, Alabama for the NASA space center. While NASA’s space center is unquestionably a great road trip pit stop, there are a few hiking trails in the area worth detouring for. Lost Sink Trail is one of these trails made for an amazing little day trip!
If you’ve ever watched Sweet Home Alabama, you’ve seen Alabama portrayed as a swampy middle of nowhere. While true for some of Alabama, while driving through Northern Alabama, you’ll probably be surprised by the sheer size of the mountains! We didn’t know that Alabama was mountainous when my parents moved down a few years ago. Northern Alabama is actually the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains!
For anyone looking for an Alabama hiking trail with a stunning destination – this hidden gorge waterfall in Alabama will satisfy your adventurous spirit! For actual hiking time: The trail took us around an hour. As with all of our trail guides, we highly recommend taking time to slow down and enjoy the falls. The area is beautiful, and you won’t remember it if you only take a peek and leave.
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How To Get To The Trailhead
McMullen Cove area used to be entirely farmland and about 15 years ago it was sold to developers. Fortunately, the area is really clean despite the construction which destroys many rural areas. All of the state parks have been preserved! This trail is located in the Keel Mountain Preserve, and the official trail title is ‘Lost Sink Trail’.
When considering this trail – we highly recommend downloading your directions before driving. You’ll be driving through the Foothills of the Appalachians, and cell phone service is notoriously spotty. We have Verizon, which seems to work the best on that side of the mountain, but you never know!
While you’re focusing on getting to the trailhead – remember to enjoy your drive. This region of Alabama is steeped in small-town vibes and winding back roads. Enjoy the mountain scenery as it drops away to flat pastures with grazing cattle, and little country homes settled serenely in the woods.
Remember that you’re looking for a sign for ‘Keel Mountain Preserve’!
Trail notes for ‘Lost Hiking Trail’ in Huntsville, Alabama
The trail itself is actually almost 3 miles total but you don’t need to do the full 1.5 miles in to find this hidden waterfall. If you notice on our recorded hike trail map above, we actually only did around 1.25 miles before we found the ‘Lost Sink’.
To really enjoy this trail, prepare for a moderately difficult 2.5-mile round trip hike that takes about 1.5 hours (with time to enjoy the views!).
The elevation change can be steep at times, but you’re rewarded with gorgeous vegetation and crisp cool air when you drop down the first few steps into this ravine. Please use caution because the ravine itself is steep. We don’t recommend hiking down to the falls base unless you’re wearing proper footwear that will keep you from slipping. (See hiking necessities below for a few things we highly recommend before all hiking trips!)
As with all hike recommendations, we’re avid supporters of ‘Leave No Trace Principles.’ This means preserving the stunning mossy greens and the crisp cool smell of the waterfall in this gorge. For more information, see this post on how to reduce your impact while exploring.
Places like this in the forest deserve to be observed and left as they were found. Leave no trace means you don’t move anything or tag anything with spray paint. Lost Sink Trail was remarkably one of the few trails we’ve hiked recently not covered in spray paint or surrounded by a million people. Do your part to keep it this way so that we can continue to enjoy them the way they were intended!
Don’t Forget Your Hiking Necessities!
One of the quickest ways to hate hiking is to have the wrong gear. As much as we love encouraging everyone to enjoy the forests – there are easy ways to prepare to enjoy these amazing views. Good hiking boots, a camelback backpack, and natural bug sprays are necessities when hiking this region!
Hiking in Alabama (really anywhere in the South) means you need shoes that are water-resistant. We’ve joked that Kentucky, West Virginia, and South Carolina are the rainforests of the south? That somewhat includes this region of Northern Alabama. The amount of rainfall keeps the area lush and gorgeous for hiking – but that means it’s more slippery as well. Down into the gorge is a solid 30 angle – that means plenty of places to slip if you’re not careful!
We highly recommend having hiking boots that have ankle protection when hiking through the rocks! This region is rocky and combined with the elevation makes it even more difficult with just tennis shoes!
What To Do After hiking in Huntsville, Alabama
This hike will only take you a few hours and if you’re looking for more ways to enjoy Northern, Alabama be sure to check out a few other attractions in the area. The big draws for the area are Hunstville and NASA Space Center, local breweries, and hiking trails.
Some of our favorite breweries in the area include: Rocket Republic Brewery, Yellowhammer Brewery for their amazing patio, and Strait to Ale.
For other nature related things to do: Try a few kayaking trails and hiking trails! The Paint Rock Canoe & Kayak Company does tours of the area that can be awesome in the summer heat. Flint River is gorgeous, and kayaking is an easy low impact way to enjoy Alabama’s mountainous region.
Other hiking trails include:
- Alum Hollow Trail – Waterfall!
- West Bluff Trail – Panoramic Views
- Bethel Land Trust Loop – Cascading Falls
awesome local Restaurants in hunstville, alabama
Alabama is home to southern food and specifically BBQ. If you ask any local- they’ll probably route you to the nearest mom and pop shop and that’s just the way they like it.
Some great local non-BBQ eats:
- Rosies Mexican Cantina – Farm to table Mexican – They even make their own tortillas!!
- Wintzell’s Oyster House – On the river and great for families and large groups
- Lowe Mills – An arts and entertainment center complete with a distillery, gourmet chocolates, and a few different restaurants including Peruvian food, vegan food, and a burger spot!
This region of the country is all about slow living and enjoying the small things. Enjoying those small moments while hiking, trying new food, or navigating a rural country drive are memories you’ll never want to forget!
They also make for the best throwaway days when you’re trying to unwind whether alone or with your partner. You’ll lose signal, maybe get lost a time or two, forget to download music, and have to listen to the radio. That’s the fun of exploring a region like this. Find what hidden gems are right up the road while you’re cruising to your destination.