Stony Lonesome OHV Park, Cullman, AL and Flint Creek OHV Trails, Bankhead National Forest
We had a great weekend in central Alabama, about halfway in between Huntsville and Birmingham. We spent the days riding trails, the nights at a cabin right next to the trails, and had dinner at someone’s house/restaurant Saturday night.
I met a buddy from Huntsville Friday night at Stony Lonesome OHV Park, a Cullman county park about 8 miles west of Dodge City or 18 miles east of Jasper. http://www.stonylonesomeohv.us/
They have about a dozen small cabins with a large dirt lot for parking Jeeps, dirt bikes, 4 wheelers, and trailers.
Cabins are about 200 sq ft. They have 2 pairs of bunk beds, a small bathroom with a shower, a small A/C unit, and a mini-fridge. The park manager stopped by and pointed out where they should have RV pads and a new bath house in about 6 months. We saw signs for primitive camping, but didn’t see the campgrounds. They have some sort of special right now for $22 / night for a cabin and $5 entry to the park.
Cullman County is dry – no alcohol allowed. I didn’t know this at first, but I do know that some parks in the South have strict alcohol policies. I called to ask about the park policy. After a long pause, the woman at the park said, our policy is not to check coolers.
We spent a few hours hanging out with locals who alternated playing guitars, drinking beers, and wheelie-ing 4 wheelers and dirt bikes across the parking lot.
Trails: 45 miles
Dirt roads: 5 miles
Paved roads: 0
Saturday we watched a short safety video, paid our $5 discounted price, and hopped on the dirt roads to the trails. A couple of STEEP dirt roads later, we got down the pavilions.
There are about a dozen kiosks next to large flat spots. The kiosks show GPS coordinates and have a radio phone to call in a med-evac helicopter in the event of an emergency. They had to call in a helicopter one time last year.
There are dozens of trails branching off the two main dirt roads.
Four wheeler trails are rated easy, advanced, and extreme.
All trails were well marked. The dirt roads were two way, but the trails were all one way. In the morning, we stuck to easy trails. Easy trails had a lot of switchbacks to keep the speeds down and no significant elevation changes.
They were able to stick a lot of mileage into a small space by keeping everything compact. We rode all morning then headed back to the cabin for lunch. In the afternoon we rode the rest of the easy trails and a few advanced trails with a lot more breaks. Fun is hard work!
We also ventured down towards lower elevation with more mud.
Advanced trails had much steeper elevation changes as well as worse general conditions. Extreme trails were steeper still.
We rode some singletrack, too. Singletrack was less maintained and set on the side of a steep hill. Turns were still more switchbacks.
At the end of the day, I plugged in my Christmas gift – a boot dryer from LL Bean. It worked great -- the boots were dry in the morning
We went to Porky Hollow BBQ in Hanceville, AL. We had to stop to let a cow cross the road. Just when we thought there were nothing but farms and houses… well, there were nothing but farms and houses! Someone had converted their kitchen and garage into a small restaurant serving great pulled pork with their own sweet sauce.
When we got back to camp, we loaded the bikes up to drive over to the next riding area Saturday – Flint Creek OHV Trails.
Trails: 17 miles
Dirt roads: 17 miles
In spite of only being less than 30 miles away as the crow flies, Flint Creek has a totally different personality than Stony Lonesome. Flint Creek is less designed and more organic. The trails are still well maintained with erosion control and obvious care. The OHV area has two loops. There are a few technical moves on each and more varied surfaces than Stony Lonesome. There was dirt, deep mud in a few spots, shale and sand in the corners, and a couple of rock steps.
My buddy managed to ride this through:
I managed to get up, but the bike wheelied and got sideways. I stalled at the top.
The trails were faster, too, with a better view through the corners.
We knew we had a shorter riding day, so we took more opportunities for photos.
Between the two days, I devised a new method to obscure my license plate for internet photos – mud.
Both days were a lot of fun. The weather was perfect (mid-60s and partly sunny). There were probably a hundred other people at Stony Lonesome and a dozen at Flint Creek, but neither ever felt crowded.
After we finished up at the trails, my buddy took me on a quick side trip to a waterfall that had been tagged on ADV. It was a nice finish to our riding.