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Coldwater Mountain (AL) Bronze-level

Sandwiched halfway between the major metropolitan areas of Birmingham, Ala., and Atlanta, Ga., is the small town and big trail dreams of Anniston, Ala., and its 4,000-acre property, Coldwater Mountain.

More than 25 miles of trails have already been built under the direction of IMBA Trail Solutions, with up to 75 miles scheduled to be completed by 2017. To incorporate the best qualities of North America’s finest trail systems, Trail Solutions is not only putting its own to work, but is inviting pro trail builders from all over the country to leave their creative signatures on the mountain. As a result, the Coldwater trails will eventually be accessible by a short ride from downtown Anniston, which itself can be reached by Amtrak train.

The mountain offers everything a rider could wish for: Explore red-dirt trails in a backcountry setting, shuttle the gravity runs and style out the optional technical lines, or enjoy scenic, entry-level trails that will stoke a novice rider’s fire.

City leaders, local businesses and the Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association are fully committed to the project. They understand Moab’s allure of being a mountain bike town and want to create something similar: where the riding is good and the encompassing bike culture is even better. Anniston is hoping Coldwater Mountain—the city’s progressive perspective on the economic and community benefits of trail systems—will drive mountain bike tourism to the area and motivate a younger generation to live and work in Anniston.

As of spring 2013, the city has contributed more than half a million dollars to help fund the trail system. City leaders formed a caretaker committee with the singular purpose of ensuring the project is completed and maintained well into the future. In addition, Anniston’s leaders are actively courting new business, planning a renovation of the Amtrack station, building paved bike paths and lobbying the Alabama legislature to allow the city opt out of the state’s ban on Sunday alcohol sales. All for mountain bikers.

+ For more information, check out the North East Alabama Bicycle Association.

+ For discounts on lodging via IMBA Destinations partners, check out: