The Chattahoochee River Valley Railroad Trail (CRVRT) is a 7-mile rail-trail that connects the historic textile mill villages of Shawmut, Langdale, Fairfax and Riverview. The North segment is a 1.4-mile segment that links to the longer South segment via a .5-mile road and sidewalk link in Langdale. The railway that forms its base once carried cotton, cloth passengers and supplies, but was paved for the trail after rail transit became obsolete in 1992. The surface is asphalt and the path is straight and nearly flat, making for an easy, leisurely stroll with your fur-pup.
Sparsely used, the CRVRT travels from the trailhead in Shawmut Mill Village, through tall, fragrant pines and away from town, passing old cotton mills and a few houses that are set back a distance from the trail. Quiet and remote-feeling, you will see and hear many birds flitting between trees, plus small mammals like squirrels and chipmunks in the undergrowth. Dappled sunlight accompanies you on good days. Fiberglass panels with graphics that describe what you're seeing pop up here and there to orient you to your location and the history behind the old and abandoned shops and train depots.
If you decide to continue your hike when you reach the trailhead in Langdale, you'll need to cross a portion of sidewalk and the busy 2-lane Highway 29 to the old Langdale Mill. The southern end of the trail traverses gently rolling hills through Fairfax and Riverview and provides access to the Chattahoochee River where you can fish, swim or paddle with your pooch.
Though modest compared to some of the wilder and more popular trails on offer in Alabama, the CRVRT features peaceful and pastoral access to part of the state's mill and cotton production history in towns that are all listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Its almost 3-mile out-and-back route is a pawrfect way to get some exercise for you and your pup, whether you live in the area or are visiting.