One of the things I love about Decatur is the diversity of its amenities. You can visit an art museum in the morning, grab a wonderful lunch, and then within minutes, surround yourself in woods and water, trails and wildlife for an exciting afternoon.
For many years, I have enjoyed Wheeler Wildlife Refuge with its cypress trees and waterfowl. But recently I discovered another venue for outdoor recreation: Point Mallard.
Although Point Mallard is well-known for its waterpark, you’ll also find hiking and biking trails that can quickly envelop you in relaxing quiet and inspiring scenery.
From Downtown Decatur, take Church St or 8th St SE, following the signs for Point Mallard. Both streets lead to Point Mallard Dr. You can find parking on Point Mallard Dr (look for the big “Welcome to Point Mallard” sign) or in the waterpark at the East Entrance lot.
Serenity and scenery. I always find both when I bike or hike the Point Mallard Trail. A camera is always at hand; there are many photo opportunities at any time of day and season. Distant tree-covered islands in the Tennessee River or cloud reflections in the calm waters pose for great pictures.
Ponds bordering the golf course mirror the surrounding trees while small backwater coves by the river mix reflections of the sky with marshy vegetation.
Another aspect of the Trail is its window into nature. Bald Cypress trees with their tapering trunks rise from a quiet swampy cove near the trailhead off Point Mallard Dr. All along the shoreline you’ll encounter marshy vegetation, including Alligator Weed and Buttonbush. I was surprised by the Sycamore trees that extend out into the water. They’re surrounded by growths of plants. Their slender bright yellow-green leaves stand out against the darker sky, water, and the trees on the distant shoreline. While I’ve focused on trees and vegetation, you’ll find plenty of wildlife to pique your interest. From herons and kingfishers to intricately colored butterflies, there is much to see and photograph on the Point Mallard Trail. See you out there!
Steve owns Cartagram, a custom mapmaking company producing maps for cities and states, resorts, and publishers. He also co-authors the Adobe Illustrator Wow! Book (Peachpit Press). Steve enjoys the outdoors, especially biking the greenways and trails that take him through North Alabama’s woods and along its waterways. He always brings a camera when he leaves home. Decatur holds a special attraction for Steve—it offers outdoors and in-town venues filled with color, visual drama, and seasonal change. It keeps his camera busy!