The northernmost leg of a proposed 22-mile ribbon of trails through the rural South Brevard town of Malabar, the Al Tuttle Trail provides access to several distinct natural-surface trail systems.
Between its Sandhill Crane trailhead adjoining the 1927 Malabar schoolhouse, now an event venue, and its terminus at Port Malabar Blvd in Palm Bay, the trail interconnects with four tracts of public lands.
Trails lead into Malabar Scrub East, Cameron Preserve, and Malabar Scrub West, with access to the Turkey Creek Trails at Turkey Creek Sanctuary.
In all, the Al Tuttle Trail provides a backbone connector to 12.6 miles of interconnected trails in the Malabar Trails / Turkey Creek Trails system built and maintained by the Brevard Mountain Bike Association.
To the south of the Sandhill Crane trailhead, a signposted trail route guides trail users along the shoulder of Marie Street to Jordan Scrub Sanctuary, south of Malabar Rd.
As a paved trail, the Al Tuttle Trail is entirely accessible, running along the rim of natural habitats for the majority of its length.
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Length: 2.4 mile linear / 4.8 mile round-trip
Trailhead: 28.0024, -80.5734
Address: 1400 Marie Street, Malabar
Restroom: At the trailhead
Land manager: Town of Malabar
Open dawn to dusk. Both the Al Tuttle Trail and the restrooms at the trailhead are accessible, with accessible parking spaces provided.
The trailhead is otherwise optimized for equestrians, with trailer parking space and horse stables. Picnic tables provide a nice place to enjoy your lunch.
From Interstate 95 exit 173, drive east on Malabar Rd (SR 514). Cross Babcock Rd and continue 2.4 miles, passing Malabar Woods Blvd and a disc golf course. Within 0.7 mile, turn left on Marie St and continue 0.1 north mile to the Sandhill Crane trailhead, immediately past the historic Malabar House. Enter the second drive, as it’s a one-way loop through the trailhead.
The paved path begins by the trailhead kiosk along the fence line adjoining the historic school, heading due west along the fence.
Pass the side path to the restrooms on the left before the trail goes through a fenceline gap into Malabar Scrub Sanctuary East, a tenth of a mile in.
The equestrian trail inside Malabar Scrub starts on the left immediately after the gap. The paved trail makes a sharp right.
As it follows a pine-shaded corridor, it curves gently, revealing pine savanna to the left. At a curve to the right, the Red Trail joins the paved trail at 0.2 mile.
Continue along a straightaway edged by tall pines, with more pine forest beyond the fenceline on the right.
After the next sharp right curve, the Red Trail leaves the Al Tuttle Trail at a palm hammock at 0.3 mile.
After another forested straightaway, the path turns 90 degrees left. A gap provides residents for access off Marie Street. Residences parallel the fenceline next to the trail.
Scrub and pine savanna stretch off in the other direction across the vastness of Malabar Scrub East.
Once the road on the other side of the fence ends, scrub forest surrounds the trail. Cross a broad boardwalk in the scrub at 0.8 mile.
The trail passes through another fenceline gap at 0.9 mile and makes a curve left to continue due west along the edge of the Boundary Canal between Malabar and Palm Bay.
There is no guardrail or other obstacle between the paved path and the drop into the canal, so keep alert while biking northbound along the next long straightaway.
Across the canal is a power line and a subdivision. The fence on the left is along Malabar Scrub East.
At 1.4 miles, a bridge crosses the canal into the subdivision on the other side, a walk or ride-in trailhead for local residents.
Within a half mile, a fence gap on the left enables cyclists and hikers to access Malabar Woods Blvd, the abandoned road slicing through Malabar Scrub East.
You can use this access points to connect to the natural-surface Red Trail, which in turn connects to the Yellow Trail connector to Cameron Preserve.
You can also follow the pavement 0.7 mile to the south end of the preserve to Malabar Community Park for a restroom, or just to loop it to the south end to add 1.4 mile to your ride or hike.
At 1.7 mile, the fence ends and the public land on the south side of the Al Tuttle Trail is now Cameron Preserve. Look for benches in the shade.
Gopher tortoises browse the unfenced grassy shoulder, and connector trails to the singletrack in Cameron beckon with arrows pointing into the oak hammocks.
The junction with the main north-south trail in Cameron Preserve, the Green Trail, is clearly marked at 1.9 miles.
The trail passes more connectors to the Yellow Trail in Cameron Preserve before it reaches the next 90-degree turn at 2.2 miles.
A natural surface connector trail leaves the Al Tuttle Trail to the left and leads to the Malabar Scrub West trailhead, with access across Briar Creek Blvd to the Turkey Creek Trails.
The paved trail, however, turns north. It is bounded by the canal and subdivision to the east and apartments to the west.
Curving to match the canal, this final section of the Al Tuttle Trail has a side path into the apartment complex before it ends at a walk-in / ride-in trailhead at Port Malabar Blvd at 2.4 miles.
Turn around here, or use the sidewalk to the west to reach the Turkey Creek Trails entrance to Turkey Creek Sanctuary. It’s a tenth of a mile up, just past the crossing for Briar Creek Blvd.
See our photos from the Al Tuttle Trail
Video tour of the Al Tuttle Trail
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Step into the wonder of an extensive scrub habitat south of Palm Bay, snatched away from development and restored to its natural beauty.
With loop trails showing off scrub, pine flatwoods, and the floodplain of Fern Creek, Malabar Scrub West provides miles to roam southeast of Turkey Creek.
Discover a deeply folded landscape of basins and bluffs at the edge of the scrub forest along the eastern rim of Turkey Creek, with a beautiful boardwalk across the Fern Creek floodplain at its heart.