The Old Cahawba Prairie Preserve is a 3,000-acre tract of remnant blackland prairie, one of the remaining half dozen such areas in the entire Black Belt. The western portion of the parcel is almost five square miles of predominately native grassland, early emergent scrub and small trees. The topsoil is quite shallow and covers a deep layer of dark chalk-Selma chalk. This layer is too thin to support the root systems of a mature forest but well suited for native tallgrass, small trees (Eastern Red Cedar, Redbud and Hackberry) and scattered shrubs.
The eastern portion of the tract includes several miles of the Cahaba River and Big Swamp Creek, where there is a canoe/float site. Anticipate Louisiana Waterthrushes, Swainson’s Warblers, Acadian Flycatchers, Yellow-throated Warblers, Northern Parulas, American Redstarts and Prothonotary Warblers. Substantial stands of plantation-planted pines provide homes for Pine Warblers, Brown-headed Nuthatches and numerous woodpeckers.
The Old Cahawba trail system is comprised of three trails with a combined length of 11.6 miles. The individual trails are: the Federal Trail, 3.7 miles; Cahawba Trail, 6.3 miles; and the Indian Trail, 1.6 miles. The trails are free to all and open during daylight hours year-round to hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders. The best way to access the pine-forested portion of the preserve is to walk in from Old Cahawba Archaeological Park. Check in with the visitors’ center at the Archaeological Park for directions to the southeastern entrance to the preserve. The visitor’s center can be reached at (334) 872-8058. To cover a substantial part of the preserve would require a full day. Learn more about this location on the Black Belt Birding Trail by visiting here.
GPS N 32.315495 W -87.125966
Old Cahawba Prairie Preserve c/o Old Cahawba (Mailing address)
719 Tremont Street
Selma, AL 36701