The city’s close proximity to state parks and nature reserves means lots of opportunities for biking and hiking in Birmingham. Here are five of the best parks near the city, where you can hit the trails.
1. Oak Mountain State Park
Image via Flickr by Outdoor Alabama Photos
Oak Mountain extends for 9,940 acres, making it the largest state park in Alabama. Although just a 30-minute drive from Birmingham, this park is a true slice of wilderness. More than 50 trails weave throughout Oak Mountain State Park and the Red Trail is one of the best-known mountain bike trails in the world. There’s also a pump track and a BMX course. Meanwhile, non-bikers can choose from the extensive hiking trails.
2. Ruffner Mountain Nature Reserve
Image via Flickr by kellyv
Ruffner Mountain Nature Reserve is one of the biggest privately owned urban nature reserves in the U.S. It’s also one of the best places to go hiking in Birmingham, as all its trails are accessible and free to use. If you’re looking for a challenge, try the 17-mile Ridge and Valley Trail, which features over 1,000 feet of elevation change. For a more relaxed afternoon, stroll through the habitat gardens and the pollinator corridor. Ruffner Mountain is just a short drive from Birmingham city centre where there are a variety of hotels and motels to choose from.
3. Moss Rock Preserve
Nature enthusiasts will love Moss Rock Preserve — a serene 349-acre area of forests, waterfalls, and wildlife. The Boulder Field is popular with rock climbers and it can get a little crowded at weekends. But 12 miles of quiet hiking trails also weave through Moss Rock Preserve, easily allowing all visitors to explore its natural beauty.
4. Red Mountain Park
The area covered by Red Mountain Park used to be an iron ore mining site. Today, this 1,500-acre park is an impressive urban green space. There’s a diverse 15-mile trail system that includes stunning lookout points and historic walking trails. All trails are also open to mountain bikes, making Red Mountain Park an excellent place for biking. There are also bike racks and pumping stations in the park.
5. Jemison Park
Image via Flickr by argusfoto
The Jemison Park Nature Trail is an easy three-mile loop that’s ideal for walking, biking, or dog-walking. A creek runs alongside the trail and the tree canopy provides shade during summer. Spring is a particularly pretty time to wander through Jemison Park as it comes alive with colour.
Birmingham might be Alabama’s biggest city, but it’s also a town with incredible access to the great outdoors. Wild reserves and vast state parks are just an easy drive from the city centre. From biking rugged mountain paths to strolling through forests, it’s easy to get active in Birmingham.
Planning to go biking and hiking in Birmingham?
- Birmingham winters are usually mild, so you can get outdoors throughout the year.
- But spring is a particularly beautiful time of year for hiking and biking.
- Cahaba Cycles has an extensive range of bikes available for rent, including road bikes and mountain bikes.
- You might also like: Seasonal Things to do in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
This post was written in collaboration with Hotel Planner – a hotel booking service specialising in group hotel rates.