The Hays Nature Preserve,located near the mountains of Owens Cross Roads Alabama, offers several miles of walking/hiking trails. It is also an access point for both the Flint River Greenway and the Big Cove Creek Greenway paved walking trails.
The trail heads are located about 0.5 miles from the entrance of Hays Preserve
To access the trail head: You can't miss them, they are near the parking area.
The trails are easy to hike.
Hiking the Trail:
From the parking area you can walk towards the picnic area and begin there. You will hike around to the Beaver Dam Run area where you will see where beavers have dammed the area up. As you continue on your hike you will arrive at the glass lake area. This is where you will start to see the swampland. Continuing further you will hike towards the tupelo tree swamp. After passing the swamp the will connect to the Big Cove Creek Greenway. Just take a right on the greenway and this will take you to the Flint trail. the Flint trail will take you through the match sticks forest swamp area and then back to the parking area. (Warning: You will need waterproof boots for the Flint trail). If you have time I suggest hitting up the Flint River Greenway and the Big Cove Creek Greenway.
You will get great views of the Flint River and Big Cove Creek. You will also get to see a tupelo tree swamp and also other swamp areas. A big beaver dam is located close to the trail head as well.
The trails are well maintained. There are wooden footbridges built to take you across the swamp areas and foot bridges to take you across the creeks.
There are bathrooms located in the parking areas. The preserve also has horse back trails with parking for horse trailers. There is also picnic areas located on the preserve.