Shady Paint Rock 70
This 70 mile route travels up and down the Paint Rock river and the Larkin Fork and Estill Fork creeks that feed it. The route is flat to rolling with a few longish climbs, many of the roads are shaded so it's a great hot weather route. While basically out-and-back it covers some of most scenic and lightly traveled roads in the area, with lots of curves to keep it interesting.
There are two main rest stops, one a convenience store in Huntland, the second a water only stop at the Paint Rock Valley Lodge near Estill Fork. The lodge is private but the owner is friendly and doesn't mind cyclists stopping for water from his well pump. There's a third rest stop at a convenience store on AL-65 but it's only a few miles from the finish.
This route can be shortened to 53 miles (53 mile Cue Sheet) by skipping the 17-mile Estill Fork out-and-back (shown in orange on the map). The Estill Fork section includes some rough pavement, nothing bad.
Another option is to skip the out-and-back up to Huntland, which shortens the route to 47 miles (47 mile Cue Sheet). This option skips the longer climbs but also bypasses the store in Huntland.
The total elevation gain for the 70 mile ride is 1,870', starting at 680' with a maximum elevation of 1,140'. Most of the climbs come within the first 30 miles, they're long hills, not mountain climbs (elevation profiles exaggerate steepness).
Directions to start:
This ride starts at the Paint Rock Valley Health Center (Google Maps directions from Huntsville), just off AL-65 in the small town of Trenton. From Huntsville take I-565 east to US-72...
Travel East on US-72 15.4 miles to AL-65 (two miles past Gurley, just as US-72 curves to the right) and turn Left/North. Travel North on AL-65 7.2 miles to Trenton and turn Right onto CR-106 (no sign, as AL-65 curves left and uphill). The small clinic is immediately on the right with a grass and gravel parking lot, across the street from the Trenton Post Office; it's only open on Fridays.