Top 5 prettiest, least known spots in Huntsville

Huntsville's prettiest, least known spots

 

 

When I’m visiting a new city, I’m always most curious to discover those hidden gems, those tips and tricks that locals are well known for being super well versed in.

One of those local things I’m most interested in? Those romantic, easy-on-the-eye locations unique to that one particular spot on Earth.

It’s the deceptively simple things that move me most. It can be a set of sparkling string lights on a quiet corner with strands wound through a few old oak trees. Or a quiet natural trail at the top of an almost untouched mountain. I think the thing that intrigues me about these spots is this: It’s as if I’ve stumbled upon a grand secret.

Below I’ve compiled a list of what are, in my opinion, some of Huntsville and Madison County’s prettiest, least known spots. I hope you’ll venture out to some of these on your next trip to the Rocket City and snap a few photos along the way. Let us know in the comments below what we’ve missed.  If you’re from out of town, what are some of the hidden gem, scenic locations in your city that you’d recommend for us?

 

 

Madison County Nature Trail on Green Mountain

 

Madison County Nature Trail

This 72-acre park is about a 25-minute drive from the Huntsville/Madison County Visitor Center®. It sits atop Green Mountain and boasts a 1.5-mile walking trail, insanely gorgeous covered bridge, lake and pavilion area.

What I’m about to tell you might seem like copy for an especially cheesy commercial, but bear with me. On my last trip to the Madison County Nature Trail on Green Mountain, a doe could be seen leaping along the grassy path next to the road. No lie. That’s how adorable this place is.

Old water tower at the Madison County Nature Trail

Old water tower at the Madison County Nature Trail

Getting there.

When you’ve reached the circular gate, you know you’ve arrived. Be sure to follow signs for ‘natural trails’. And be prepared for a winding journey to the top of Green Mountain. Go slowly. It’s totally worth the slow going, winding trip.

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Insider’s tip.

When you’ve made it to the top, don’t get fooled by the ‘one-way’ roads. Just follow the green ‘nature trails’ signs and go merrily along your way.

Address for GPS.

5000 Nature Trail Road
Huntsville, AL 35803

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Hours of Operation.

7 a.m.- 30 minutes before Sunset

 

 

String lights by Commerce Kitchen, Courthouse Square

 

These lights at Commerce Kitchen are the cutest.

These lights at Commerce Kitchen are the cutest.

Ok. I gave it away in the intro. I’m a sucker for string lights, and downtown Huntsville’s Commerce Kitchen has the most adorable “hidden” corner with string lights tucked away for those that are on the Southside of Courthouse Square.

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Head just around the corner to the right to see the string lights!

Getting there.

Simply head toward Commerce Kitchen (right next door to Harrison Brothers Hardware) and take a right. You can’t miss them.

Insider’s Tip.

For full effect, dine at Commerce Kitchen in the evening and stroll through the area at night.

 

 Address for GPS.

300 Franklin Street Southeast, Huntsville, AL 35801

Hours of Operation.

Yay! You can see these lights any time. Obviously, they are best viewed at night and during Commerce Kitchen’s hours of operations, which are: Mon – Friday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday, 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. and Sunday brunch, 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

 

LuckyDuckProfile1EXTRA FUN.

See if you can find one of the Lucky Ducks from the Lucky Duck Scavenger Hunt VERY nearby.

 

 

 

Hidden Art at Washington Square, Downtown Huntsville

 

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Huntsville’s art and creative scene is one to be reckoned with, and pieces of the city’s artistic culture can be discovered at Washington Square in Downtown Huntsville. As your discovering some of Huntsville’s hidden art, be sure to check out the Clinton Row Project for local shopping or nearby restaurants The Bottle or Humphrey’s Bar & Grill if you get hungry.

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Getting there.

There are multiple entry points to see this awesome art. Enter via parking lot behind the Clinton Row Project, by Downtown Huntsville, Inc. offices on Washington Street or across from the Clinton Avenue Parking Garage on Clinton Avenue.

Washington Square in Downtown Huntsville

Address for GPS.

There’s no address for Washington Square, so I’d recommend plugging Downtown Huntsville, Inc. offices into your GPS. There’s a cute alleyway right by their offices that lead to the square.

127 Washington Street Huntsville, Al, 35801, USA

Hours of Operation.

Another Yay! The Square is open 24-7.

 

 

 

Big Spring Park East

 Big Spring Park East

When I was little, I remember the first time I walked over to the brilliantly shaded Big Spring Park East. It really was like discovering a secret. Big Spring International Park with the famous red bridge, lagoon and eternal fame is Huntsville 101. It’s basic Huntsville. Big Spring Park East? A bit more of a secluded secret. But a good one. Venture across Church Street and find grassy knolls to picnic, read a book and take some awesome Instagram photos with #iHeartHsv (ok, ok I had to get ONE shameless plug in…use whatever hashtag you want.)

Local rumor has it that Jesse James escaped from the old bank building that sits atop the stony hill. We can neither confirm nor deny.

Big Spring Park East, Downtown Huntsville

Insider’s Tip.

Renovation work has been on going in Big Spring Park East. Don’t let the fencing keep you from exploring though; there is still plenty of gorgeous park to see!

 

Big Spring Park Canal

Getting there.

There’s parking alongside Church Street and all around Big Spring International Park. Be sure to bring quarters if you’re visiting before 5 p.m.!

Address for GPS.

While the park itself doesn’t have an address, it’s adjacent to the downtown YMCA.

Downtown Huntsville YMCA:

101 Church St SW
Huntsville, AL.

Hours of Operation.

Big Spring Park East can be accessed 24/7.

LuckyDuckProfile1EXTRA Fun.

One of the hardest (most well hidden) Lucky Ducks to find is somewhere hidden in Big Spring Park East waiting for you to discover.

 

 

 

Gateway Greenway

 

 

Just a short 5-minute walk from the Visitor Center, Gateway Greenway is right next to A.M. Booth’s Lumberyard, Sandwich Farm, Bud Cramer Park and a quick 10 minute walk from Courthouse Square. A new park development, I classify this space as lesser known simply because it’s so new. Visit this spot sooner rather than later. I have a feeling it won’t remain so secret for much longer.  It’s the perfect stop for those who want to take a quick stroll or sit by the creek and view a Huntsville sunset.

Beautiful views at Gateway Greenway

 

Getting there.

Walk from the Visitor Center by following Cleveland Avenue to the park.

 A.M. Booth's Lumberyard

Address for GPS.

Plug in A.M. Booth Lumberyard’s Address to your GPS:

108 Cleveland Avenue Northwest, Huntsville, AL 35801

 

Hours of Operation.

Gateway Park is open 24/7.

 

 

LuckyDuckProfile1EXTRA FUN.

There are two Lucky Ducks in this area.

 

 

 

 

 Which iHeartHsv blogger wrote this?

Jessica Carlton Image

Jessica Carlton, a native of Huntsville, Alabama, has been a fangirl of NASA and Star Trek since before birth  she can remember. She’s also a sucker for West Wing and the dramatics. Jessica graduated with a Master’s degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the University of Alabama in 2012. In her day to day role, Jessica is part of the marketing team responsible for the overall communication efforts of the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Recognized as a Rising Star of the Industry by the Alabama Tourism Department in 2013, she enjoys coming to work every day to help share the Rocket City’s story. Jessica lives in Madison with her husband David and two rescue dogs, Lilly and Grantham.

  • Jessica, I really enjoyed your article on this and the video clips. I thought I knew all the good spots in HSV to take photos since I do freelance photography, but you told me about a few I didn’t know about! Absolutely LOVE Green Mtn, Big Spring Park and shooting in downtown HSV and have taken Senior pix, Weddings, family pix at all of those locations but have never wandered around Washington Square and I did not know they had completed the area near AM Booths Lumberyard and now I’ve definitely gotta go check it out!! My late friend Karen has a brick at The Lilies of the Valley Garden of Life and Remembrance and I’ve gone there often to just sit and enjoy the day. Can’t wait to go see how they’ve improved that area. Thx so much!

    • Jessica Carlton says:

      Hi Ginger,

      So glad to hear you enjoyed the article! I’m constantly delightfully surprised by the many, off-the-beaten-path spots in Huntsville and Madison County. You should definitely head back on over to Gateway Greenway in the A.M. Booth Lumberyard area. I just love the creek area! I did get the chance to sit in The Lilies of the Valley Garden of Life and Remembrance area while I was there. What a peaceful place to honor your late friend.

      Thanks so much for reading iHeartHsv.com and chatting with us!

      Jessica

  • SO good to know. I’ll have to do a prettiest place tour soon!

  • Pam Wilkerson says:

    I love your article! Huntsville is a great place to live and explore! It truly has something for everyone! Dining outside at Pane e’ Vino is a great place to enjoy Big Spring Park, take a walk, and feed the ducks! Also, don’t forget about the view of the city Burritt Museum has to offer. This is a great place to live!

  • Courtney M says:

    I was born and raised in Huntsville, and now live in Ga. I was happy to see this posted, it brought back my favorite places that I will soon be visiting again. Big spring park is great!

    • Jessica Carlton says:

      Hi Courtney,

      Happy to hear you enjoyed the post! I’m also glad to hear you’ll be coming back home to Huntsville soon for a visit. Big Spring International Park is always pretty, but my goodness is it gorgeous in the spring when the cherry blossom trees are blooming! 🙂

      Thanks so much for reading iHeartHsv.com!

      Jessica

  • Ashley says:

    I too was born and raise in Huntsville, having lived in Atl. Ga since 1977 so glad Huntsville is getting the recognition it so richly deserves. Birmingham has never been able to hold a candle to the “Rocket City!

  • Souls in the Waves

    Good Morning, I just stopped in to go to your web site and imagined I would say I enjoyed myself.

  • Caren says:

    Hi and thank you for the list! My husband and I visited Huntsville on May 9 after I read your article. We had a great time visiting the places on your list with the exception of Washington Square. The mural at the entry of the alley was eye catching, but the smell was almost a deterrent. We pushed on expectantly looking for other art that would justify this location being on your “prettiest” list. We did see Mason’s wall art posted with your article and we spoke with employees of the restaurant that opens up into the alley asking if they knew where any of the other art was located in the square. They were very helpful and friendly, but were as clueless as we were. Oh yeah, we did also see the red and yellow art/seating(?). Nevertheless, we had so much fun exploring your city that we are already planning to visit again in July to explore some more! Thanks again!

    • Jessica Carlton says:

      Hi Caren,

      So glad you put that list to good use! Sorry to hear about your Washington Square experience. Maybe it deserves a second try? 🙂

      Did you discover anything during your trip to Huntsville that you think we should have added to the “Prettiest, Least Known Spots” List? Honestly, it was so hard just picking those few!

      Hope you are having a great week and thanks for reading iHeartHsv.com!
      Jessica

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