hiking trails near Birmingham, Alabama

18 Hiking In Birmingham Alabama Trails You Should Try!

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Why Should You Go Hiking In Birmingham Al? 

Birmingham, Alabama, is a bustling southern city surrounded by beautiful natural state parks & national forests.

What makes Birmingham hiking trails great is that it has various hiking trails for all levels of hikers (From beginners to experienced hikers) with breathtaking nature views to enjoy.

Read on as we explore the top choices for hiking in Birmingham Alabama including:

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Best Places To Go Hiking In Birmingham Al:

hiking birmingham al

If you are an avid hiker and are excited to go hiking in Birmingham Al, you’d be thrilled to know that there are several gorgeous and adventurous hiking trails near Birmingham, Alabama. 

1. Red Mountain Park 

This 1,500-acre park is owned and maintained by a non-profit organization, specifically, Red Mountain Greenway and Recreational Area Commission.

It is also home to Remy’s Dog Park, the largest dog park in Birmingham, Alabama!

Things You Need To Know About Red Mountain Park

  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Location: 7.3 miles from Downtown Birmingham 
  • Operation hours: Open daily (7 am to 7 pm)
  • No. of Hiking Trails: 18 trails.
  • What we love about this place: 
    • You can bring your dog to Remy’s Dog Park
    • Explore its hiking & walking trails
    • It has two high-powered off-road wheelchair trails called The Nomad
    • It has a zipline adventure tour (temporarily closed until further notice)

2. Ruffner Mountain Preserve 

Check out this 1,038-acre urban forest that connects East Lake, Irondale, Roebuck Springs, and Greater Birmingham via 14 miles of nature trails.

This is a great hiking place in Alabama, especially for those who have a passion for nature and wildlife, as it is home to thousands of species of plants and animals.

Things You Need To Know About Ruffner Mountain Preserve:

  • Entrance Fee: 
    • Members: Free but must bring member parking permit upon entry
    • Non-members (Public): $5 for a visitor parking permit* via the ParkMobile app.  

*Note: The visitor parking permit covers everyone in your vehicle and is valid for 1 day only.

  • Location: 9 miles from Downtown Birmingham 
  • Operation hours: Open Daily (7 am to 7 pm) except Monday
  • No. of Hiking Trails: 15 trails. 
  • What we love about this place: 
    • It has a monthly/ yearly membership program (Great for local families)
    • It has a nature observatory center that hosts multiple nature-based educational programs
    • You get to explore mining ruins, natural forests, artificial wetlands, and a quarry.

3. Moss Rock Preserve 

hiking in Birmingham
source:Alltrails

Moss Rock is a 349-acre natural park with approximately 10 miles of hiking paths which are owned & managed by the city of Hoover.

This nature preserve is also a popular destination for rock climbers. It also has a unique ecology known as a sandstone glade

What makes this ecosystem so unique is that  it is home to 4 rare plant species that can survive harsh conditions.

Things You Need To Know About Moss Rock Preserve:

  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Location: 12.5 miles from Downtown Birmingham
  • Operation hours: Open daily (7 am to 7 pm)
  • No. of Hiking Trails: 9 trails (official track)
  • What we love about this place: 
    • Great spot for rock-climbers!
    • You get to explore mining ruins, natural forests, artificial wetlands, and a quarry.
    • Great place to hike or have a picnic

4. Oak Mountain State Park 

Oak Mountain State Park is Alabama’s largest state park with approximately 10,000-acres of hills and valley.

What makes Oak Mountain State Park an ideal place to hike is that you can still enjoy natural wildlife despite it being only a 35-minute drive from downtown Birmingham.

Things You Need To Know About Oak Mountain State Park:

  • Entrance Fee: Day Pass & Annual Pass
  • Day Pass – You have to pay at the gate and in CASH only.
  • Ages 3 and under: Free
  • Age 4-11   : $2
  • Age 12-61: $5 
  • Ages 62 and above: $2
  • Annual Pass – You have to purchase the pass at the Park Office.
    • Individual Pass: $180
    • Senior Pass (62 and Older): $80
    • Family Pass (up to 4 people): $230

Note: There will be a $25.00 fee for replacement passes 

  • Location: 20.4 miles from Downtown Birmingham 
  • Operation hours: Open daily*

*Note: The state park will open at 7 am and close just 1-hour before sunset. As such, the closing time varies depending on the season.

  • No. of Hiking Trails: 16 trails (official track)
  • What we love about this place: 
    • Have a hands-on learning program on animals and plants.
    • You get to discover numerous species of animals & botany.
    • It has 2 sandy beaches within the state park lakes.
    • You can do so many activities here like:
      • Hiking
      • Horseback riding
      • Canoeing,
      • Fishing, 
      • Swimming 
      • Camping
      • Mountain Biking 
      • Golfing

and many more!

5. Aldridge Gardens

This 30-acre garden first opened its gate to locals in 2002. It was previously a former private home which was then converted into a local botanical garden which is now owned by the city of Hoover.

  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Operation Hours: Open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. except for public holidays & private events.
  • Location: 12 miles from Downtown Birmingham 
  • What we love about this place: 
  • It has a 6-acre lake (Great for fishing)
  • Fun photography & botanical class
  • Home to 89-species of bird (Great for bird watchers!)

Top 18 Best Hiking Trails Near Birmingham Alabama  – Easy To Advanced

So here are some of our top highly recommended hiking trails that you should try when you visit Birmingham.

We have also included several hiking trails available in other parks & national forests, such as Vulcan Park, Talladega National Forest, and many more.

Let’s start with easy hiking in Birmingham Al trails first!

Easy Hiking In Birmingham Al Trails

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1. Aldridge Gardens Trail

Birmingham hiking trails

Are you planning to visit Birmingham with your kids?

Good news!

Aldridge Gardens is at the top of my list of easy hiking trails as it is by far the shortest and easiest trail for those looking for a great weekend activity, especially if you want to bring your kids/dogs who love to explore nature. 

  • Difficulty Level: Super Easy!
  • Distance: 0.4 miles (loop)
  • Estimated Hiking Duration: 14 minutes
  • Pet/Family-friendly: Absolutely! 

2. Vulcan Trail

If you happen to be near Vulcan Park, hike here as it is one of the best hiking trails in Birmingham with city views,  and it is a popular spot to hike with your dogs!

As you hike, try and find the colossal Vulcan statue in Vulcan Park, Birmingham.

It is home to the world’s largest cast-iron statue and is regarded as one of the most iconic civic artworks in the United States.

  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Distance: 1.6 miles (one way)
  • Estimated Hiking Duration: 44 minutes
  • Pet/Family-friendly: Yes!

3. Overlook Quarry Trail,  Ruffner Mountain 

hiking birmingham al

This Quarry Trail comes highly recommended as it connects to several other paths within Ruffner Mountain.

This hiking trail will begin to ascend at the 0.75-mile mark before dropping to a five-way junction where hikers can select their path and adventures.

  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Distance: 2.7 miles (one way)
  • Estimated Hiking Duration: 1 hour 13 minutes 
  • Pet/Family-friendly: Yes!

4. Maggie’s Glen Loop, Oak Mountain State Park 

This 2-mile hiking loop is perfect for families, beginner hikers, or anybody seeking a quick scenic hike while surrounded by a nearby creek.

It is important to note that this loop will reach a junction, which can be crowded, especially during weekends. 

For the best experience, try hiking this loop during off-peak periods (i.e., weekdays).

  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Distance: 2.15 miles (loop)
  • Estimated Hiking Duration: 1 hour 5 minutes 
  • Pet/Family-friendly: Yes!

5. Eureka Mines Trail, Red Mountain Park 

This is one of the easiest and family-friendly hiking trails in Red Mountain Park as it is located nearby a parking lot with a 2-mile flat trail.

I highly recommend this hiking trail in Birmingham, especially for those who’d like to hike with their babies (So, whip out those amazing hiking strollers!)

  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Distance: 2.4 miles (one-way)
  • Estimated Hiking Duration: 1 hour 10 minutes 
  • Pet/Family-friendly: Yes!

6. Jemison Park Nature Trail, Lane Park

This 3.4-mile route in Mountain Brook is worth exploring if you wish to trek or walk in nature with your family or dogs.

This trail has lovely wildflowers, a creek, and numerous historical landmarks such as The Old Mill, which was built by Robert Jemison Jr. (also known as “Father of Birmingham”) making it one of the most unique hiking landmarks in Birmingham, Alabama. 

Do arrive early as parking is limited! 

  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Distance: 3.4 miles (one-way)
  • Estimated Hiking Duration: 1 hour 27 minutes
  • Pet/Family-friendly: Yes!

Intermediate Hiking In Birmingham Al Trails

hiking place in Alabama

If you have enough stamina or are generally a fit person, then keep reading as I take you through some intermediate-level hiking in Birmingham Al trails!

7. Green and White Trail Peavine Fall, Oak Mountain State Park 

This hiking trail is a little under 2 miles long, but it has some steep ascension and rocky terrain that can be thrilling yet challenging.

What’s great about the Green and White Trail is that you get to enjoy beautiful greenery, and this trail will lead you to Peavine Falls, one of the most popular attractions in Oak Mountain State Park.

As suggested by local hikers, you can start hiking using the Shackleford Point Trail (White Trail) as the route is not too challenging and you will encounter a short downhill path before a steady climb.

If you plan to bring your dogs for hiking, be sure to keep them on a leash at all times.

  • Difficulty Level: Slightly moderate
  • Distance: 1.6 miles (loop)
  • Estimated Hiking Duration: 54 minutes
  • Pet/Family-friendly: Yes

8. Grace’s Gap, Red Mountain Park

Grace’s Gap Trail is another introductory hike that is slightly moderate in terms of its difficulty level.

Within its 3.9 mile trail, it is surrounded by lovely wildflowers and historical old mining structures, including cottages and mine shafts. It even has a cool suspension bridge!

What’s great about this trail is that it has a scenic viewpoint. However, it is best to stay cautious, especially near the trail’s end due to several overgrown bushes and spider webs.

  • Difficulty Level: Slightly moderate
  • Distance: 3.9 miles (one-way)
  • Estimated Hiking Duration: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Pet/Family-friendly: Yes 

9. Kings Chair Loop, Oak Mountain State Park

hiking birmingham al

This is one of the highly-rated trails in the Oak Mountain State Park, as this trail offers plenty of opportunities to venture off to other trails with waterfalls and incredible scenic viewpoints.

The trail begins on the Blue Trail at the North Trailhead with a moderate trek up to King’s Chair (2.3 miles from the North Trailhead) with a steep climb.

It’s a great place to bring your leashed dogs to, as they’ll have plenty of water crossings to cool off on the way down.

This hike is moderate and has several steep paths; we do not recommend this trail if you plan to hike with children under 10 years old.

  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Distance: 5.5 miles (loop)
  • Estimated Hiking Duration: 2 hours 11 minutes
  • Pet/Family-friendly: Yes

10. Tranquillity Lake via White Trail, Oak Mountain State Park 

This trail is one of the best nature trails in Birmingham because you get to start your hike with a casual stroll around the peaceful Tranquility Lake which is connected to Maggie’s Glenn & other trails.

It can be challenging at first, but you will soon be rewarded with a scenic viewpoint on the top of a cliff, famously known as the Indian Lookout.

Bonus Tip: Local hikers suggest using the white-red connector path as the red road trail is a flat terrain that can be pretty boring (for those seeking a challenging hike) and full of mountain bikers.

The terrain of this trail is pretty rocky and steep at the first half of the loop, so please be extra cautious and take breaks when necessary.

  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Distance: 7.4 miles (Loop)
  • Estimated Hiking Duration: 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Pet/Family-friendly: No

11. Moss Rock Preserve Loop 

Moss Preserve Loop is one of the best hiking trails in Birmingham because this fun and scenic trail is surrounded by beautiful wildflowers, natural wildlife (e.g., squirrels and frogs) and waterfalls that can be seen along the trail’s path. 

Despite its terrain, this trail contains numerous connectors (both official and unofficial) to accommodate a half-day tour of the preserve or an entire afternoon hike.

However, keep in mind that you should go for routes with greater altitudes or go on a weekday climb if you want to avoid the crowds.

  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Distance: 5.2 miles (Loop)
  • Estimated Hiking Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Pet/Family-friendly: Yes

12. Double Oak Lake Trail, Oak Mountain State Park 

This 3.7-mile hiking trail is well maintained, especially near Double Oak Lake as it has its own lakeside beach, making it an excellent choice for families.

The fact that this route is open all year round for activities like hiking, running, and bird viewing is one of the reasons why it comes highly recommended!

  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Distance: 3.7 miles (loop)
  • Estimated Hiking Duration: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Pet/Family-friendly: Yes

Advanced Hiking In Birmingham Al Trails

Birmingham hiking trails

For the pro hikers (perhaps, you!)  reading this article, these remaining hiking in Birmingham Al trails are specially selected for you!

13. White Trail, Oak Mountain State Park 

This trail has a significant elevation increase of about 400 feet, so starting at either the North or South trailhead will require some effort if you want to enjoy the magnificent viewpoints of Indian Lookout and Shackleford Peak.

One of the things we love about the White Trail is that you will come across several streams, rock formations, and waterfalls like Peavine Falls along this hike. 

Note that some parts of the trail can be pretty rocky, so please be extra careful! 

  • Difficulty Level: Hard 
  • Distance: 12.17 miles (loop)
  • Estimated Hiking Duration: 5 hours 55 minutes
  • Pet/Family-friendly: No

14. Blue Trail, Oak Mountain State Park

This trail is one of the most challenging yet fun hiking trails in Oak Mountain State Park! 

Blue Trail (South Rim Trail) is a challenging 14 miles hiking trail in Birmingham known for its wildflowers, various terrain, and its one-of-a-kind landmark, a plane crash site that took the lives of 6 young soldiers in 1951.

The first mile of the path has a severe incline, so be prepared to work up a sweat. Though you will surely be rewarded with the scenic Eagle Nest Overlook (however, be careful as there may be some overgrown bushes there!) 

Some people do bring their pets; however, it is not recommended as this 14-mile trail may be a little exhausting for your furry friend! 

  • Difficulty Level: Hard
  • Distance: 14 miles (one-way)
  • Estimated Hiking Duration: 7 hours 20 minutes
  • Pet/Family-friendly: No

15. Skyway Loop Trail, Talladega National Forest 

This is not a trail for the inexperienced hiker because it will take a good chunk of your day to complete it. 

This trail is only available in the 392,567-acre Talladega National Forest, one of Alabama’s four national forests that is one (1) hour away from Birmingham. 

If you come across a nearby campground known as Turnip Seed campground or a scenic waterfall-like Devils Den Falls, do greet fellow hikers there! (usually, the trail is not crowded most of the time)

However, do remember to bring plenty of water, as well as bug spray and proper hiking shoes due to its challenging terrain.

  • Difficulty Level: Hard
  • Distance: 17.2 miles (loop)
  • Estimated Hiking Duration: 8 hours 55 minutes
  • Pet/Family-friendly: No

16.  Cheaha Mountain via Lake Trail, Cheaha State Park

hiking place in Alabama

This trail is located within Cheaha State Park, which is very close to Talladega National Forest. 

This particular trail can be pretty intense as you have to go through steep climbs with lots of gravel during the first half of the trail. Nonetheless, it is still manageable. 

This is a popular trail among seasoned hikers as it will lead you to the highest point in Alabama, with the tip reaching 2,407 feet above sea level.

According to local hikers, be sure to keep a lookout for  Pulpit Rock during this hike, as the view from this cliff is far superior compared to the designated viewpoint. 

As you return from the hike, Cheaha Lake will welcome you for a relaxing swim and a good rest!

  • Difficulty Level: Advanced
  • Distance: 3.2 miles (one-way)
  • Estimated Hiking Duration: 2 hours 55 minutes
  • Pet/Family-friendly: Yes

17. Pinhoti Trail (Adam’s Gap to Cheaha State Park), Talladega National Forest

hiking trails near Birmingham, Alabama

This trail is one of the most strenuous trails (even for experienced hikers) as you will have to go through a very steep climb and walk through rocky terrain at the 3-mile point of this trail.

Nonetheless, it is still a beautiful trail with a great view. However, some sections are not very well maintained, making it very easy to get lost. 

Hikers are advised to bring along plenty of water (at least 3 liters)  and not rush on this route as this trail is not for the faint of heart.

  • Difficulty Level: Advanced
  • Distance: 10.3 miles (one-way)
  • Estimated Hiking Duration: 5 hours 50 minutes
  • Pet/Family-friendly: Yes

18. Borden Creek Hiking Trail, Sipsey Wilderness

Do you have plans to go hiking in North Alabama?

If yes, then this is the place to go!

This trail is part of the 181,230-acre William B. Bankhead National Forest, one of Alabama’s four national forests.  It is also the only place you can find Sipsey Fork River,  Alabama’s only National Wild and Scenic rivers.

This National Forest is also a one (1) hour drive away from Birmingham.

One of the reasons this is one of the best trails is that despite its challenging terrain, it gives you a wilderness experience as you go through winding trails and encounter wildlife animals.  

  • Difficulty Level: Advanced
  • Distance: 4.9 miles (one-way)
  • Estimated Hiking Duration: 2 hours 6 minutes
  • Pet/Family-friendly: Yes

Essential Tips For Hiking In Birmingham Al

Don’t forget these essential tips: 

  • Please read the State Park/National Forest Regulations before your hike to avoid getting into any trouble with the authorities.
  • Pro Tip: hike on weekdays and early in the morning to avoid crowds 
  • Always wear proper hiking shoes. It’s not worth being cheap and hurting your precious feet!  
Hiking In Birmingham Al
  • Do try and join hiking clubs so that you can hike together in a group. You can try to find some of these local hiking clubs near Birmingham, Alabama, via Facebook, Alltrails, or Meetup.
  • It is strongly recommended that you plan your hiking trail so that you can enjoy your hiking journey.
  • Bring healthy snacks and a water bottle to keep you energized during your hiking.

If You Plan to Hike With Your Family & Kids

  • It’s good to invest in durable outdoor hiking strollers
  • Always ensure that everyone wears appropriate outdoor attire either during the summer/winter season.
  • Make sure to also invest in good hiking gear for kids, such as hiking ankle boots.
Hiking In Birmingham Al

If You Plan to Hike With Your Pets

  • Use a durable dog leash that is adjustable so that your pet can wander around nature safely with you. Here are some of the best dog leashes for hiking you should check out!
  • Hand-free Dog Leash with Zipper Pouch
Hiking In Birmingham Al
  • Get a good dog-harness that is comfortable and ensure that it fits your dog properly.
  • Always keep a good habit of bringing your dog poop bag (we love this dog poop bag because it’s attached to the leash, which is super convenient)
  • We strongly recommend that you get a proper pet outdoor carrier. 

Safety Hiking In Birmingham Al Tips

  • Check the weather and trail conditions before your hike to ensure you have a safe hiking journey.
  • Always keep a good habit of notifying your loved ones of your outdoor activity schedule (in case of emergency)
  • Take a picture of the hiking trail map before you start hiking so that you don’t go off the trail.
  • Do bring along geo-tracking devices & a compass which can be a life-saving tool!  (especially if you happen to get lost)
  • Here is some other hiking survival gear you should check out too:
Hiking In Birmingham Al

Hiking In Birmingham Al FAQs

Conclusions

So these are my top recommended hiking trails that you should check out if you plan to hike in Birmingham, Alabama. It is strongly recommended that you hike these trails based on your own fitness level. Be sure to use our essential hiking tips! 

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