Guntersville Parks and Mountains 76

        This ride is 76 miles, exploring the parks and mountains northeast of Guntersville. The route is flat to rolling with three climbs and a few long hills, traveling on mostly good pavement over varied terrain.

The ride starts at the lodge in the Lake Guntersville State Park. Having recently completed a $25 million renovation, this is a very nice start point and the Pinecrest dining room offers a breakfast buffet weekend mornings from 6:30 to 10:00 am for $8, menu only on weekdays.

Warning: A bridge on CR-44, between Langston Gap and Bucks Pocket, is currently out. You can bypass it by continuing on CR-38 after the climb, for 2 miles, then Right on CR-41 for 1 mile, Right-Left onto CR-44 for 1 mile, then left onto CR-152, returning to the route. This detour only adds a mile.

There are 54 mile and 63 mile versions of this ride, and an alternate start point in downtown Guntersville (closer to Huntsville but adds about ten miles to the ride).

Guntersville Lake state park lodge
Cue sheet Route map Google Earth file:
        This route begins with a descent to a counter-clockwise tour of Lake Guntersville state park, then travels north along the lake and through farmland to the first climb at mile 20, up Sand Mountain at Langston Gap (topo), gaining 600' in 1.4 miles for an average grade of 8%. This is a pleasant tree-covered climb on a quiet road.

The route then turns south for a few miles of rougher pavement, dropping down into the Buck's Pocket State Park at mile 27 for a rest stop at the picnic area (restrooms with water and coke machine but no food). Just before the park the road can be under water if there have been recent heavy rains, though it's usually passable on a bike.

The climb out of the park (topo) is short, only a half mile, but gains 270' for an average grade of 10% with a few very steep sections. There's an optional hilly out-and-back side trip to an overlook with a picnic area but no water, left at the top of the climb 0.5 miles, then left for another mile.

Guntersville Parks and Mountains map
        At mile 33 there's an optional side trip to High Falls, a wide waterfall with a bridge and swimming area. This out-and-back side trip adds five miles total on some rough roads, including a short steep road down to the falls which may be uncomfortable in cleated shoes. While there are restrooms and coke machines the facilities are spartan and the water has a strong mineral taste. Buck's Pocket state park
        The ride continues through quiet and varied farmland, on generally good roads, with a few small 100' to 200' gorge climbs. The route finishes with a descent down off Sand Mountain along a wonderful winding road leading back to the Lake Guntersville state park and the final climb (topo) back up to the lodge, which gains 300' in 0.7 miles for a moderate average grade of 8%.

The total elevation gain is 3,070', starting at 580' with a maximum elevation of 1,245'.

Guntersville 76 ride elevation profile
        Directions to start:

This ride begins and ends at the lodge in Lake Guntersville State Park, about a 50-minute drive from the Sutton Road intersection near Hampton Cove (Walmart/Publix). From that intersection:

Travel south on US-431 29 miles into downtown Guntersville. Turn left at AL-227/Lusk Street and travel 7.1 miles. Turn left into the Lake Guntersville State Park, turn right on Aubrey Carr Scenic Drive just inside the park and travel uphill 1.6 miles past a golf course to the Lodge on your left on Lodge Drive:

Google Maps driving directions to:

The Lodge in Lake Guntersville State Park
1155 Lodge Drive
Guntersville, AL 35976

Directions to Lake Guntersville