ElevationAscent: 1,581' 482 m
Descent: -1,580' -482 m
High: 1,481' 451 m
Low: 729' 222 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 30% (17°)
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“Great run that covers Blevins Gap from end to end.”— Luke Brisk
Fanning Trail starts at the Southeast Church of the Nazarene. The Scout Trail connects from the east around the 2-mile mark. the Fanning Trail is a short but very aggressive trail with steep elevation gains from the start and many switchbacks within the first mile. There are a lot of rocky areas and routes that require some good technical running skills.
The most recent trail map from the Land Trust of Northern Alabama shows Fanning Trail ending just after the intersection with Scout Trail but it is actually marked all the way to Cecil Ashburn Drive. This is where you cross over into the Land Trust of Northern Alabama parking lot and follow it to the Bill and Marion Certain Trail.
The first 1/2 mile is a good incline with a few switchbacks and a lot of roots, especially in the beginning. You'll soon reach the top of Green Mountain, around mile 3 of this run, and from there to the end it is flat and fast. There is an offshoot of the trail that runs parallel along the west side of Green Mountain that eventually meets back up with the Bill and Marion Certain Trail. The power line cut at about mile 3.5 offers some of the best views in Huntsville which is what makes this run so great.
When the Bill and Marion Certain Trail ends at the TV tower you make a sharp cut back to the Varnedoe Trail. At this point, there is immediately a steep descent requiring some sure-footedness. Like most trails in the area, there are plenty of rocks and roots for a majority of the way. One of the worst sections that requires the most caution is through the power line cut (mile 4.75) where there are a lot of large sharp rocks to run across.
Varnedoe Trail dead ends into the Sugar Tree Trail which you take south into the valley. This section starts with a nice gradual downhill which picks up at mile 6 and finishes with a big decline that will require some surefootedness.
Now, if you are feeling froggy, you can turn around and do it backwards or head back on the road.
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Flora & Fauna, History & Background
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