5 Birmingham hiking trails you must discover today for spectacular views, wildlife and more


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If your hike includes a place to cool off, that’s a definite plus. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

It’s easy to stay active when you’re surrounded by beautiful views and unique wildlife. If you’re looking for some motivation to get moving this summer, head out on one of these Birmingham hiking trails.

1. Peavine Falls

One way to beat the summer heat is to make sure your hike takes you to a 65-foot-high waterfall. The Oak Mountain State Park Green Trail, better known as the Peavine Falls Trail, achieves this goal.

In addition, Oak Mountain welcomes The Alabama Wildlife Center (AWC) —Alabama’s oldest and largest wildlife rehabilitation and education center. AWC saves, rehabilitates and releases nearly 2,000 native birds each year, so be sure to bring your binoculars.

  • Best for: If you take a few young hikers with you or are looking for a shorter hike that always ends with a view. As Alabama’s largest state park, there’s a lot more to explore after the hike.
  • Directions: 200 Terrace Drive, Pelham, AL 35124
  • More information: Website | Menu

2. Loop hike to Laurel and Lost Falls

Desoto State Park in northeast Alabama greets you with waterfalls, wildflowers, and wilderness. While there are hiking trails in Birmingham closer to the city, the state park is ideal for a day trip.

PS The park has one of the highest waterfalls in the state of Alabama!

  • Best for: Those who are up for a moderate 2.5 mile hike and don’t mind sharing the terrain with mountain bikers. If you are a fan of wildflowers, find the plant in season from late March through October.
  • Directions: 7104 Desoto Pkwy NE, Fort Payne, AL 35967
  • More information: Website | Menu

3. Overlook the path

Since Ruffner Mountain is the third largest urban nature reserve in the country, the chance of seeing something eye-catching during your visit is 100% guaranteed.

In addition to supporting over 150 species of birds, other protected wildlife include the red fox, tree frogs, flying squirrels, and coyotes. You’ll also get some of Birmingham’s best views on your hike.

  • Best for: Those looking for a getaway from city life for a few hours without setting out on a long expedition on other Alabama hiking trails. Neither bicycles nor motorized vehicles are permitted on the 2.8 mile trail.
  • Directions: 1214 81st Street South, Birmingham, Alabama 35206
  • More information: Website | Menu

4. NEW: Jones Valley Trail Extension

Not all Birmingham hiking trails require you to travel far – experience nature in the heart of the city. When completed in 2022, the new Jones Valley Trail extension will pick up where the Rotary Trail ends at 32sd Street South and connect Birmingham city center to Avondale.

For now, you can enjoy the scenic tree-lined stretch that connects Railroad Park and Sloss Furnaces.

  • Best for: Bikers, walkers, joggers and anyone looking for a new way to experience the city of Birmingham and its famous landmarks.
  • Directions: Start at one end of the course: 1st Avenue South & 25th Street & 1st Avenue South & 32nd Street
  • More information: Website | Menu

5. Purdy Lake

Protected forests surround the 990-acre reservoir on the Little Cahaba River, making it a rare destination for birding. Depending on what time you go, you may see a wild turkey or an American goldfinch. See Canada Geese, Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets year round.

  • Best for: Bird watchers and anyone who needs a quiet getaway in nature.
  • Directions: 3780 Boat Launch Road Birmingham, AL 35242
  • More information: Website | Menu

Looking for even more off-the-beaten-path trails? We’ve covered 19 Hidden Trails in Birmingham and how exploring them can improve your mental health.

Stay on top of your health and safety this summer with help from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama by visiting AlabamaBlue.com. Or follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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