Hiking in Birmingham, AL – Our Favored Trails


Welcome to the Magic City. Tucked in the Appalachian foothills, Alabama’s biggest metropolis earned it is nickname following it seemingly appeared overnight in the 1870s when mining firms and iron foundries sought the ore deposits in its low mountain ridges. Now, these mines are gone, leaving behind a historic downtown, essential cultural web-sites, vibrant culinary scene and some definitely awesome terrain for hikers to discover. These eight treks, as shared on Hiking Project, REI’s digital trail guide and on the web hiking neighborhood, are the excellent way to get started—then use the absolutely free mobile app to navigate whilst out on the trails.

  • Place: Ruffner Mountain Preserve, 9 miles northeast of Birmingham
  • Length: .eight-mile lollipop loop
  • Difficulty Rating: Quick
  • Finest For: An educational outing for households and novices
  • Dogs: Leashed

After an old mine web page, Ruffner Mountain is now household to trails exactly where you can spot all the things from wildflowers and ferns to frogs, turtles and bats. Young children and adults alike will adore attempting to recognize new plants and animals on the informative Marian Harnach Nature Trail applying the trailside interpretive indicators. Soon after your hike, stop by the Exhibit Hall at the Nature Center to view even much more native species. Or swing by the Animal Care Division to study about the park’s function rehabilitating injured animals.

  • Place: Jemison Park, 7 miles southeast of Birmingham
  • Length: two.four-mile round-trip, out and back
  • Difficulty Rating: Quick
  • Finest For: A shaded stroll to a historic mill
  • Dogs: Leashed

In 2018, the Jemison Park Trail was voted the region’s quantity 1 walking and operating trail in a poll sponsored by AL.com and Birmingham Magazine. The wide path, close to the city of Mountain Brook, winds by means of tunnels formed by tree branches, with scenic creek crossings and wildflowers, which ordinarily bloom from March to June. The shallow water of Shades Creek adds a peaceful soundtrack to the hike, and be positive to take some time to delight in the Old Mill, a historic waterwheel with a bridge across the creek.

A wood and stone bridge crosses a creek to a mill house.

Shades Creek Old Mill (Photo Credit: argusfoto below CC BY-SA)

    • Place: Birmingham Botanical Gardens, four.9 miles southeast of Birmingham
    • Length: two.-mile loop
    • Difficulty Rating: Quick
    • Finest For: A curated nature excursion
    • Dogs: No dogs

The 67-acre Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Alabama’s biggest living museum, provides an outstanding mix of native and foreign plants. The garden’s 30 thematic gardens are connected by a net of wide, gravel paths and narrow side trails. This two-mile route requires you previous the Japanese, rhododendron, bog and rose gardens to name a handful of horticultural highlights. Hold your eyes open for sculptures and other artwork along the way, then swing by the Conservatory to see exotic tropical and arid plants and rotating seasonal displays.

  • Place: Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, 16 miles northeast of Birmingham
  • Length: three.five-mile loop
  • Difficulty Rating: Quick/intermediate
  • Finest For: Year-round hiking and a summer season swimming-hole retreat
  • Dogs:Leashed

Turkey Creek Nature Preserve is household to some of the ideal scenery in the state. 5 miles of trail wind by means of a biologically diverse region that is household to 3 endangered fish species and a range of birds. And with a wealthy history—including a grist mill and tiny iron forge which after operated along the shores of the creek—you’ll have lots to discover. Although it is particularly scenic in autumn, when the woodlands turn shades of orange and yellow, this loop also involves a cease at Turkey Creek Falls, 1 of the Alabama’s most well-liked summer season swimming holes. It is a all-natural waterslide, so anticipate the region about the cascade to be well-liked (and noisy) on hot days.

A waterfall with green trees.

Turkey Creek Nature Preserve (Photo Credit: nousernameforme below CC BY SA)

  • Place: Moss Rock Preserve, 12 miles south of Birmingham
  • Length: two.1-mile lollipop loop
  • Difficulty Rating: Intermediate
  • Finest For: Waterfall views, wildflowers and fascinating rock formations
  • Dogs:Leashed

Moss Rock Preserve touts this two.1-mile hike as 1 of its ideal. Surrounded by forests of longleaf pine and mountain laurel, you will meander along the banks of Hurricane Creek till you attain Higher Falls cascade. Whilst the falls supply a soothing location to cool your feet, do not linger also extended, as there is much more to see on this loop. In addition to a hike more than a tiny all-natural bridge and a spin although the Rock Residence Boulders (household to some of the state’s ideal climbing), you will get a glimpse of a uncommon sandstone glade exactly where trees, grasses and wildflowers develop from slabs of pavement-like rock. These glades are fragile and include uncommon plants, so be positive to keep on the marked trail. Pay a visit to in spring when the abundant mountain laurel blooms, adding a fairy-tale good quality to the lush landscape and mossy boulders.

Mossy boulders and a few trees.

Moss Rock Preserve (Photo Credit: Hiking Project contributor Daniel Meacham)

  • Place: Red Mountain Park, 7.three miles southwest of Birmingham
  • Length: eight.1-mile loop
  • Difficulty Rating: Intermediate
  • Finest For: An adventurous outing for the whole loved ones
  • Dogs: Leashed

Red Mountain Park, a green space just 25 minutes southwest of the city center, is steeped in history. There are much more than 15 miles of trails to discover, but this forested, eight-mile circuit will take you on a tour of lots of of the ideal sights which includes side trips to see historic mines and the city views from Ishkooda Overlook. The park is also household to zip lines, tree homes, a ropes course and a six-acre dog park.

  • Place: Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, 29 miles southwest of Birmingham
  • Length: six.7-mile lollipop loop
  • Difficulty Rating: Intermediate/complicated
  • Finest For: Equally delightful servings of history and scenery
  • Dogs:Leashed

Amongst the scenic hardwood forests of Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, you will locate cabins, cotton gins, gristmills and enormous stone furnaces. The hiking trails, some of which trace the paths of historic railways, have a rustic, old-timey charm. This narrow, pine- and oak-shaded loop hits each historical and scenic highlights like the tiny waterfall along Mud Creek. Interested in much more history? Pay a visit to the Iron and Steel Museum following your hike to view mining artifacts, or program your trip for March by means of November, when classic artisans can be identified crafting pottery, artwork, quilts and much more.

A historic building with trees and shrubs.

Historic web page at Tannehill Ironworks. (Photo Credit: Hiking Project contributor Josh Moore)

  • Place: Oak Mountain State Park, 20.five miles south of Birmingham
  • Length: 19.7-mile point-to-point
  • Difficulty Rating: Intermediate/complicated
  • Finest For: A extended distance day hike or backpacking trip
  • Dogs:Leashed

Regardless of its name, this point-to-point trek by means of Oak Mountain State Park clocks in at just below 20 miles. We’ll forgive it simply because the miles fly by as you take in the woodlands, creeks, waterfalls, wildflowers, foliage and overlooks of Alabama’s biggest state park. Do it in 1 extremely extended day or shoulder your overnight pack for a fantastic two-day excursion. Just be positive to grab a permit and camp at 1 of the designated backcountry web-sites.

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Hiking Project is a neighborhood-constructed resource with much more trails added each day by members like you. Come across your subsequent hike, or sign up to comment on and price other trails and share your personal hiking adventures.


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