There are a lots of small waterfalls along theses trails, and plenty of nice views as well. Since the trails aren't that difficult and the preserve seems to be well-kept up with minimal trash, this would make for a nice outing with an adventurous family.
The preserve parking is lot located at 34.90711 -87.62087. There are no fees for for using this area. The preserve is a pretty clean area along Shoal Creek north of Florence Alabama. There are two loops trails here (the Jones Branch Loop
and the Lawson Branch Loop
), for a total of about 4.5 miles of hiking trails.
Depending on which way you hike, you may encounter pretty steep though short climbs or some fairly long climbs. To follow the hike as mapped, from the parking area, head left on Jones Branch Loop
along the west side of the field. Before long the trail ducks into the trees as it descends towards Lawson Branch Creek. The trail up to this point is fairly easy and manageable by most. When you reach the creek, take a left onto the Lawson Branch Loop
The Lawson Branch Loop
is the tougher of the loops. It isn't that bad, however, there are more hills (some steeper), and there are a lot of roots on the uphill/downhill stretches. The Jones Branch Loop
is a fairly easy trail that makes for a good cool down from the Lawson Branch Loop
. After the first big climb the trail will turn south and begin to descend towards the eastern extent of Indiancamp Creek. The trail follows the creek south, briefly overlooks the lake, then turns east to follow Lawson Branch Creek back to the junction with Jones Branch Loop
A left onto Jones Branch Loop
will take you east and south, following the contour above Jones Branch Creek. Eventually it turns west and brings you back to the parking lot.
There is a lot of of wildlife in the preserve, so your chances of seeing some critters is pretty high. The abundant creeks and waterfalls add to the beauty of the area. There are also 2.1 miles of horseback/atv trails in the preserve.
You can find a little more information about Shoal Creek Preserve here
Deer, hawks, ducks, geese, small animals. There will be a lot of plant life to look at as well.