Outside Magazine features Oak Mountain State Park in U.S. of Adventure online series

Birmingham, Oak Mountain State Park, Wasabi Juan's, holiday entertaining
Take in pristine nature at Alabama’s largest state park. Photo via Oak Mountain State Park’s Facebook page

Just in time for summer, Outside Magazine’s online publication is highlighting  several of our favorite local and nearby natural wonders in their United States of Adventure series.

Making the list – Oak Mountain State Park, Horse Pens 40 and Cheaha State Park and Little River Canyon National Preserve.

Established in 1977, Outside magazine’s mission is to “inspire active participation in the world outside through award-winning coverage of the sports, people, places, adventure, discoveries, health and fitness, gear and apparel, trends and events that make up an active lifestyle.”

The publication has more than 600,000 monthly readers.

The List

Presented by Honda the United States of Adventure is billed as the ultimate guide to the best state parks, recreation areas, trail systems, and adventure destinations in every state.

Here are the chosen Alabama places and activities:

Oak Mountain State Park

Oak Mountain Peavine Falls 2 0 Outside Magazine features Oak Mountain State Park in U.S. of Adventure online series
Photo of Peavine Falls at Oak Mountain State Park courtesy of Alabama State Parks.

A little bit of Alabama history for you… Did you know before Oak Mountain State Park was created by the state of Alabama, in the 1930s, there were visions to make it a National Park unit?  We could have been the “Smoky Mountains of the South.”

Today, the nearly 10,000 acre State Park is one of Alabama’s most popular – and Outside recognized that fact by making it the feature in its U.S. Adventure story about Alabama.

Little River Canyon – Best Waterfall

Little River Canyon Falls – photo by Pat Byington, Bham Now

Speaking of National Parks, Alabama’s only National Park unit dedicated to a natural area is the Little River Canyon National Preserve.

According to Outside, Little Rivers Falls is the best waterfall in the state.  As locals, we can add, it is also very accessible.

Another fun fact…. Little River Canyon is arguably the deepest canyon East of the Mississippi.

Fall at Little River Canyon, photo by Pat Byington, Bham Now

Horse Pens 40 – Best Bouldering

Bouldering at Horse Pens Outside Magazine features Oak Mountain State Park in U.S. of Adventure online series

Only about 40 miles from Birmingham, Horse Pens 40, which is privately owned, but opened to the public, is paradise for folks who love to hop on top of boulders.

Additional bonus… the place is family friendly, and there are places to pitch a tent of sleep for the evening in small cabins.

Cheaha State Park – Best Vista

View from Bald Rock at Cheaha State Park, photo by Pat Byington, Bham Now

Here is a seasonal challenge. Visit Cheaha’s Bald Rock 4 times in the next 12 months and take a photo for each season.  You will be amazed by the changes in the rolling green foothills of the Appalachians you’ll see.

Who did Outside miss?

Nearby, they missed the Sipsey Wilderness of course. Coldwater Mountain for mountain biking – and Turkey Creek Nature Preserve for tubing.

Who else got left out?

Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

Articles: 2014