17 Birmingham walking trails, including Kiwanis Vulcan Trail and more

Birmingham walking trails
Rotary Trail – photo from Freshwater Land Trust

We know Birmingham’s hottest days aren’t the best for getting outside. But you don’t have to limit your exercise to the gym during the scorching summer. Birmingham walking trails offer lots of places to get out and get moving—and, in many cases, lots of shade as well.

Here’s your guide to get out and moving on Birmingham walking trails.

Birmingham walking trails
Aldridge Gardens in Hoover
Aldridge Gardens

You’ll find plenty of space to roam at the 30-acre Aldridge Gardens, the former property of horticulturalist Eddie Aldridge and his wife, Kay. The flora and fauna are sure to delight, and you’ll enjoy the walking trail, as well.

Try these:

  • Birding trail: Pick up a guide and keep an eye out for the 89 species that formed the foundation of the gardens’ birding program.
  • Take a self-guided tour and learn about the many on-site features, such as the urban forest and teaching garden.
Birmingham walking trails
Via- Avondale Park Facebook
Birmingham City Parks

Conversation often focuses on hiking trails or major, county-wide projects. Those merit attention, for sure! But so do the city’s own parks, many of which include walking trails.

Try these:

  • Avondale Park is a favorite. Since its 2011 renovation, the park’s many facilities have seen increased use, including its walking paths.
  • Clairmont Triangle Park is a small space at the intersection of Clairmont Avenue and Ninth Avenue. If you continue to walk along Clairmont toward Crestwood, the sidewalk is surrounded by greenery and capped with a canopy of trees.
  • Highland Parks aren’t connected by trails, but Rhodes, Caldwell and Rushton parks are within an easy walking distance of one another. Stroll through each and enjoy its unique character.
Birmingham walking trails
Nadia Tellis and Roald Hazelhoff at the Birmingham Southern College Ecoscape

Did you know BSC is home to the Southern Environmental Center? The educational facility stretches beyond campus, though, with ecoscapes that help with urban revitalization throughout the community. There’s a lot more to this than walking trails, and you can learn about it while exploring your natural surroundings.

Try these:

  • Hugh Kaul Ecoscape is a four-acre outdoor classroom at the college’s campus. It includes a wooded path, a demonstration garden and a beginners orienteering course, among other features.
  • Seven Springs in Powderly is on the grounds of Faith Apostolic Church. Walk through garden pathways in this ecoscape, which is near a border of Red Mountain Park.
Kiwanis Birmingham Birmingham walking trails
View of Vulcan from Kiwanis Centennial Park, photo by Pat Byington
Red Rock Trail System

Jefferson County’s massive trail system already includes 100 miles of walking and biking space—and it’s nowhere near finished. Birmingham walking enthusiasts will find plenty to explore, alongside cyclists, hikers and other fans of the outdoors. Red Rock Trail System’s complete plan will include 750 miles (yes, you read that right!) of trails, parks, bike lanes and sidewalks. (Hint: Many of your favorites, such as Railroad Park, Rotary Trail or Mountain Brook’s Jemison Park Greenway, are part of this system.)

Try these:

Birmingham walking trails
Photo via Oak Mountain State Park
Oak Mountain State Park

Yes, it’s a bit of a drive from the city center, but Oak Mountain State Park is worth it. You might think of it as a destination for dedicated hikers and mountain bikers. Yes, that’s part of what the park offers. But it’s also a welcoming destination for those who prefer to see the paths as walking trails—not only spaces for more involved pursuits.

Try these:

  • The Lake Trail is 2.3 miles with some incline and ample views of Double Oak Lake.
  • Maggie’s Glen is a scenic spot that doesn’t require too much effort to access. From the north trailhead, take the yellow or white trail.
  • Kings Chair is a stunning but more strenuous hike, requiring 4.2 miles round trip and a good bit of climbing.

What are your favorite Birmingham walking trails?

Carla Jean Whitley
Carla Jean Whitley

One of Carla Jean Whitley's prized possessions is a postcard from Birmingham's long-gone Terminal Station. That's because she's a proud Magic City native who reflects on the city's imperfect past while embracing its present-day progress. Carla Jean is the author of "Birmingham Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Magic City," "Balancing Act: Yoga Essays" and "Muscle Shoals Sound Studio: How the Swampers Changed American Music." Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @inkstainedlife.

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