Sandwiched between Birmingham, AL and Atlanta, GA sits a small town with a BIG biking problem.  Anniston Alabama is not what you’d expect from an IMBA Epic ride destination.

The town feels a bit rough and impoverished despite its stunning early architecture.  So when we heard they built a 3 million dollar mountain bike trail system we knew we had to check it out.  Let’s find out if Coldwater Mountain is a worthy mountain bike destination.

General Information

Mileage: 40 miles of purpose built mountain bike trail with an additional 35 miles planned

Difficulty: Beginner to advanced trails

Hours:  Gated trailhead sunrise to 2-hours after sunset

Trail Map

Directions

If you’re not using this FREE trail map app it’s time you start.  All of the trails mentioned here can be found on TrailForks and even used off-line while riding.  Check it out!!!  Did we mention it’s free!

Coldwater Mountain Bike Trailhead

There are two trailheads for accessing Coldwater Mountain.  There is the Anniston trailhead which is closer to town and then the Coldwater Mountain trailhead which puts you at the very top.  

The most popular and what we recommend is the Coldwater trailhead.  After a steep and windy drive up you’ll find yourself on top of Coldwater Mountain.  Take a minute to soak up some views before hitting the trails.

The parking lot has portable bathrooms and even a fire pit where they host weekly bike and brew sessions.  Give the local bike shop, Wig’s Wheels, a call for details.

Coldwater Mountain even has a Fat Tire Fest in the fall that we will be checking out for sure.

While we were there the local NEABA trail crew was putting in a skills park at the Coldwater trailhead which should be finished by the time you’re reading this.

Coldwater Mountain Bike Trails

It was immediately clear that this trail system wasn’t hacked together by some bored locals.  We rode the trail system after very heavy rainfall and found almost no drainage issues.

You’ll find a more modern style of mountain bike trail building here.  Think wide, fast, and flowy with plenty of purpose-built features to give your tires a breath of fresh air.

The trail system has plenty to offer whether you’re just starting out or an advanced rider.  For advanced riders, even the green trails when ridden at full speed are an absolute blast.  A roller coaster of fast and flowy berms.

Check out the video below to get an idea of the riding here at Coldwater Mountain

Beginner Trails

The GREEN trails right out of the Coldwater Mountain trailhead are wide and smooth but with enough berms and flow to make them fun at speed for more advanced riders. 

Mama Bear and Papa Bear are the two trails worth checking out which will connect you to the remainder of the trails.

Intermediate Trails

The INTERMEDIATE trails add a touch of rock to the smoother beginner trails.  Here you will start to see more technical climbing and loose rock downhill.

We recommend hitting all of the blue trails here as they are excellent.  Especially Bomb Dog, which was a perfect mix of fast and flowy with just the right amount of jumpy rock features.

Advanced Trails

So far the area offers one BLACK DIAMOND designated trail called Gazza.  This trail is riddled with big rock, loose rock and everything in between earning it’s black diamond rating.

I much preferred the blue rides of Oval Office, Goldilocks and Bomb Dog over Gazza.  These blues offer plenty of challenges at speed for more advanced riders. 

Coldwater Mountain Final Verdict

When we left the Northwest we had no idea what we’d find for riding in the South and in all honesty our expectations were quite low.

But we have been nothing short of blown away by some great riding in Alabama.  Coldwater Mountain has definitely been our favorite but nearby Oak Mountain is also worth a visit.

Bomb Dog was an absolute blast and we wish we could have ridden it 10 more times.  The trail system here is fantastic and it’s obvious why the area has been recognized by IMBA.

Does the trail system live up to its 3 million dollar price tag?  Hell yes it does!

Coldwater Mountain gets a fat two thumbs up from us.