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Parks and Recreation

The Limestone County Parks and Recreation Department has lots to offer for campers as well as trail lovers. The County offers camping at Cowford Campground, located on the beautiful Tennessee River. Cowford has forty-six campsites. Thirty-six of the sites have full hooks up and the other ten sites have water and electricity only. We have climate-controlled bathhouse facilities with washers and dryers. We have two boat ramps with a pier adjacent to the ramp on the east side. We have a sand beach area in the park with lots of picnic areas. We have a short walking trail on the property for campers and visitors who just may want to walk.

We also have our Rails to Trails area which has ten miles of trail for biking, walking, and equestrian lovers. There are trailheads at Piney Chapel road on the south end and Veto road on the north end. The city of Elkmont lies about halfway through the trail and has a store for some refreshments.

Just north of Veto is the upper Elk River where you can launch your Canoe or Kayak for a journey down the river. There are several stops along the river for food or just to rest for a picnic. The website has a map of the canoe trail and the boat ramps along the river. The Elk River empties into the Tennessee River some fifteen miles south of the Veto launching area.

Cowford Campground

Contact Information

Camping is truly a pleasure at Cowford Landing at Round Island Recreational area.

Located on the beautiful Tennessee River. Round Island Recreational area is part of the North Alabama Birding Trail. We offer well-groomed and shaded campsites with many of the amenities you might want for your RV vacation.

Many of our 52 campsites are pull-through, graveled, and level with the water, complete with sewer and 30/50 amp electric. Cowford Landing offers swimming, fishing, and boating with a sandy beach area and boat launches with a floating pier. Our private entry climate-controlled bathhouse/laundry room is the ultimate in handicapped-accessible facilities.

Features

  • Shaded & several pull-through sites
  • Climate-controlled bathhouse/laundry room
  • Key coded entry gate
  • 30 sites on the river, with picnic tables on all sites
  • Water, sewer, and 30/50 amp electric

Rates and Regulations

Limestone County Commission and the city of Athens in conjunction with the Limestone County Parks and Recreation Board, offer this facility for your convenience and enjoyment. The park is located on federal property and is patrolled by the Limestone County Sheriff’s Department and Athens Police Department, as well as TVA security.

New Rates: Effective 8-1-2019

  • $26.00 per day
  • $135.00 per week
  • $350.00 per month
  • 5% lodging tax (under 90days)

Continued, successful operation of the park depends upon your cooperation and compliance with the following rules and regulations:

Regulations

  • Check-In and Out by 12:00 noon.
  • All fees must be paid in advance; there are no refunds for early departures. If rent is past due, late fees of $5 per day will be added to the rent.
  • Camping is permitted in designated areas only. (No Tent Camping).
  • Only one camping unit per site. Rates are based on family units.
  • No more than 8 people, including visitors, are allowed at each campsite without prior approval.
  • A maximum of three (3) vehicles may park at each campsite. Boat trailers are counted as vehicles, as well as motorcycles and PWSs. Parked vehicles must not hinder traffic flow or create a safety problem. Motorized vehicles are to be used for transportation only – NOT RECREATION. Golf cart operators must have lights after dark. (NO 4-Wheelers.) Boats tied to the pier overnight are in violation of rules.
  • The normal length of stay is thirty (30) consecutive days on any one campsite, especially popular riverfront lots. Extension of stay is at the discretion of the campground management. 50% of our non-riverfront lots are seasonal. We close for 2 weeks in December.
  • Quiet hours are enforced from 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM. Excessive noise, loud music, and public drunkenness are prohibited. No barking dogs
  • All pets must be kept inside or on a leash (not to exceed 6 feet). NO ATTACK DOGS ALLOWED (such as Pitt Bulls). No more than two dogs per camper and pet waste must be picked up and discarded. Do not tie dogs outside. No pets are allowed in the laundry room. Pets must be kept on your lot.
  • Do not cut or damage trees. No clotheslines, no yard ornaments, or exposed wires on the campsite that could be cut by mowing grass. Appliances such as refrigerators must be kept inside. Decorative lights are limited to the camper. Do not hang decorative lights on the trees or attach them to trees.
  • Fires shall be confined to grills or other appropriate facilities.
  • Campers are responsible for their own garbage. Garbage must be sealed and placed in a dumpster located in the park. Please keep lots clean. The camp host will post a warning if a lot is unacceptable. No decks or permanent structures. Handicap steps must be approved.
  • The washing of cars, boats, or campers is prohibited.

CAMPERS VIOLATING THESE PROCEDURES SHALL BE SUBJECT TO IMMEDIATE REMOVAL FROM THE CAMPGROUND AND ITS PREMISES, AND BE FURTHER SUBJECT TO DENIAL OF FUTURE USE OF THE CAMPGROUND AND ITS PREMISES, WHETHER SUCH FUTURE USE BE AS A RENTER OR GUEST OF A RENTER, OR OTHERWISE.

OBSERVE THE SPEED LIMIT, CHILDREN RIDING BIKES AND PLAYING

Rails to Trails

Contact Information

One of the best-kept secrets of the south, this 10.2-mile trail winds its way past the site of the Battle of Sulphur Creek Trestle. Walkers can retrace the same steps as civil war heroes. This trail offers a back-to-nature getaway for thousands of local residents and tourists. Hikers, bikers, joggers, bird watchers, and horseback riders, as well as naturalists, students, and historians, are just some of the groups who enjoy the great variety of opportunities created by the trail. The trail is also accessible to wheelchairs so that everyone can enjoy the wonder and beauty of this trail.

Seasonal Events

March Sassafras Tea Day. An early wildflower walk with a taste-testing treat of freshly brewed sassafras tea from sassafras trees on the Trail.
April — The dogwoods and redbuds are in full bloom.
May Horse and Buggy Day, for all area equestrians.
JuneNational Trail Day.
August — Jewelweed is in full bloom, attracting hundreds of hummingbirds and butterflies.
October — The arrival of beautiful fall colors. Although the Trail is a non-motorized trail, there is a Fall Walk and Ride each year, at which time senior citizens are driven down the Trail in busses to enjoy the fall colors at their peak.

Art and Activities         

Rock piling by walkers — If you pass the way of the rock pile, you are supposed to put a rock on top of the rock pile.

Springtime on the Trail — A print that depicts a Tiger Swallow Butterfly and a white dogwood in full bloom with an Eastern Bluebird on it and redbud trees with wildflowers, yellow stare grass, mountain phlox, and foam flowers growing on the ground. It was painted by Larry Chandler, a world-famous wildlife artist, depicting a couple walking down the trail with walking sticks.

For bird watchers, the trail will also allow access to wetlands where hundreds of varieties of birds nest and feed in this area. On this trail, you will see species such as Eastern Blue Birds and Great Blue Herons

Throughout the construction of the Trail, the Boy Scouts of America have been involved. Eagle Scouts have done various projects to earn their badges.

New Facilities

At the Piney Chapel Richard Martin Trailhead, is a pavilion with restrooms, a parking lot for vehicles/horse trailers, and hitching posts.
At the Veto Trailhead, are new restroom facilities, along with the restoration of an 1800s community church.

Rules of the Trail

  • Trail hours are daylight until sunset.
  • Smoking, camping, hunting, and motorized vehicles are not permitted at any time on the trail.
  • Do not disturb or remove any plants.
  • No alcoholic beverages.
  • Be a good neighbor. PLEASE STAY on the trail at all times. Please do not trespass on adjoining property.
  • Children on bicycles are required to wear helmets.
  • Horseback Riders are required to travel on the far right side of the trail and yield to everyone.

Trail Map

A map of the Trail with Elkmont highlighted

Canoe and Kayak Trail

Quick Info

Travel down the scenic Elk River which empties into the Tennessee River. It is the perfect place for canoeing and kayaking in Limestone County, Alabama. The water is challenging and the scenery is beautiful. As you travel the Elk River in the fall, you will see beautiful fall colors, especially during October. In the spring, the breathtaking white dogwood and redbud trees bloom along the riverbanks. Launch your canoe and kayak near the Tennessee state line in Veto, Alabama. 

Stop for a picnic and enjoy the beautiful landscape or have lunch at local restaurants located at Maples Bridge or Elk River Mills Park.

The Canoe and Kayak Trail is a class 1 stream, with towering bluffs, untouched forests, and rolling meadows. The route begins at Elkmont, Alabama just west of I-65 at Exit 361, and is 21.9 miles along the scenic Elk River with five easy in-and-out points. Elk River water levels are TVA Dam controlled, which means good canoeing even during dry summers.

Directions

The route begins at Elkmont, AL, which is located, a short drive from I-65, Exit 361. Turn West on Sandlin Road. Once in Elkmont, turn right onto Upper Ft. Hampton Road. Proceed .1 miles and turn onto Veto Road. Go 5.2 miles to the Tennessee/Alabama Stateline. Continue straight for 6.6 miles to the Elk River.

There are five sites for easy in and out along the river.

  • Site 1 – Veto Road
  • Site 2 – AL Hwy 127 (6.2 river miles from Site 1)
  • Site 3 – Easter Ferry Road (10.3 river miles)
  • Site 4 – AL Hwy 99 (15.9 river miles)
  • Site 5 – Elk River Mills (21.9 river miles)

Riders may be picked up at either of the sites.

  • Go back to Elkmont on Veto Road, Turn right in Elkmont on Upper Ft. Hampton Road.
  • Go .9 miles to AL Hwy 127 – Site 2
  • Continue to Site 3 by traveling 3.1 miles to the river.

A map of the Canoe and Kayak Trail

Call
(256) 233-6400
Fax (256) 233-6403

Location
310 W. Washington Street
Athens, AL 35611

Office Hours
Monday-Friday, 8:00AM-4:30PM

Other Links
www.VisitAthensAL.com
www.TourAthens.com

Emergency Numbers
Weekends: (256) 434-0174
Weekdays: (256) 349-6212

Location
8700 Cowford Rd,
Athens, AL 35611

Call
(256) 732-4211

Access Locations
Veto-Stateline
Richard Martin Trailhead

(runs south to Piney Chapel)

Elkmont Public Parking
Richard Martin Trail


Hays Mill Public Parking
Richard Martin Trail


Piney Chapel
Richard Martin Trailhead

(runs north to Veto-Stateline)

Trail Hours
Daylight – Sunset

Access Locations
Sportsmans Park
Canoe and Kayak Launch

Trail Hours
Daylight – Sunset