7 things to know about East Pinson Valley, including a local oasis, Turkey Creek

Birmingham Alabama

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Birmingham Alabama
Swimmer at Turkey Creek Nature Preserve – Photo via Southern Environmental Center

East Pinson Valley is one of those parts of Birmingham that you might not get to much unless you live here…like me! It’s home to some hidden gems you’re gonna want to check out.

1. Where is East Pinson Valley?

Screenshot of East Pinson Valley via Imagine Birmingham

East Pinson Valley is a short drive past the airport going Northeast on Highway 79. The community consists of 5 of Birmingham’s 99 neighborhoods:

  • Apple Valley
  • Bridlewood
  • Echo Highlands
  • Pine Knoll Vista
  • Sun Valley
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If you do decide to head out to East Pinson Valley and make a trip to Turkey Creek, wouldn’t you love to be driving a Ford F-150 from Adamson Ford? Right now, they’re offering up to $12,491 off Ford F-150 trucks. Visit www.adamsonford.com to learn more.

2. A little history lesson on East Pinson Valley

Downtown Pinson, AL in 1911 via Turkey Creek Nature Preserve

East Pinson Valley is one of Alabama’s oldest communities and existed before the state was even a state. First settled in the early 19th century, East Pinson Valley was originally known as Hagood’s Crossroads which is a really cool name if you ask me! The name was a tribute to the first early settler, Zachariah Hagood and his family. Some other interesting facts:

  • the community was once home to ancient Native-Americans
  • it has the oldest-known Native American cave dwellings/ burial site in the U.S.
  • it was home of a former slave, Andrew Jackson Beard, who became an important African-American inventor and dubbed the first millionaire of color
  • it was the home of Andrew Jackson’s soldiers after the end of the Battle of Horseshoe Bend

3. What’s special about East Pinson Valley?

East Pinson Valley is a hidden oasis and it happens to be where I grew up! It may not seem like much, but this community is home to some pretty cool spots. Personally, I would 10/10 recommend living here.

East Pinson Valley is far enough removed from the city to enjoy some peace and quiet. It’s an escape from the urban heat island so the temperature is at least 10 degrees cooler!

Although the community seems so far removed from the city, it takes no more than 30 minutes to get to some of Birmingham’s hottest spots like Avondale, Lakeview, and Downtown.

4. Most Instagram-worthy spot in the area? Turkey Creek: East Pinson Valley’s outdoor oasis

If you ever want to escape the hustle and bustle of metropolitan Birmingham, Turkey Creek Nature Preserve is a hop and a skip away. This 466-acre preserve has a 5-mile national recreational trail system, one of the state’s top swimming spots, and hosts seriously fun events such as the Darter Festival, Float Your Boat, and Bat Bioblitz.

Just 15 miles North of Birmingham hides one of the most biodiverse places in the WORLD! The waters of Turkey Creek are home to three endangered species of fish and are the ONLY place you can find the Vermilion Darter. With a total of 7 endangered and threatened species, Turkey Creek is one of the most critical habitats for rare species in the country! How dope is that?!

Vermilion darter Birmingham Alabama
This is a Vermilion Darter. You can only find this lil guy in Turkey Creek! Photo via Outdoor Alabama

5. Where do locals like to hang in East Pinson Valley?

Pinson Valley Bicentennial Park

Pinson Valley Bicentennial Park’s superb playground via The Trussville Tribune

The Pinson Valley Bicentennial Park was opened in 2017 to celebrate the community’s 200th anniversary. It features disc golf, a playground, walking trails, an amphitheater, a multipurpose community center, and a brand spankin’ new SPLASH PAD! The park also offers free movies in the park during the summer.

East Pinson Valley Recreation Center

I live in this community and didn’t even know the recreation center offered such a cool variety of activities. Want to take a dip in the pool? How about learning how to line dance? Boxing class taught by the Birmingham Police Athletic Team? Sign me up for all of them!

Jefferson State Community College

Okay…I cheated a bit. This really isn’t a hangout, but if you’re looking to pursue higher education, you’ll be hanging here quite a bit. A lot of people aren’t aware that the 200-acre campus is settled right in a suburban area of East Pinson Valley.

6. Sweet spots to check out in East Pinson Valley…literally

Indulge LLC

Indulge is on Valley Crest Drive right of Highway 79. When it comes to making cakes, they mean business! This isn’t your typical one-tier, vanilla grocery store cake folks. Indulge features some of the most whimsical cakes for kids and adults, for any occasion.

Shelly’s Bakery/ Palateria & Neveria

Shelly’s Bakery can make your Marvel birthday dreams come true! Photo via Shelly’s Bakery’s Facebook

Shelly’s Bakery is located on Pinson Valley Parkway. Don’t let the name fool you though. Not only do they offer sweets such as cakes, ice cream, popsicles, and cupcakes. They have a full menu offering tacos, tortas, quesadillas, burritos, tamales, wings, burgers, and Mexican street corn in a cup! Personally I didn’t even know this place existed but consider it at the top of my list for restaurants to try.

7. East Pinson Valley is newsworthy

Remember hearing about that viral video of 3rd graders performing a remixed version of “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X? That was right here in Birmingham at Sun Valley Elementary School!

The video got so much buzz that the teacher, Jasmine Merlette, was interviewed on Ellen! With 12 million views and counting, Billy Ray Cyrus (Yep! Mr. Achy Breaky Heart himself) couldn’t help but notice and shared the video on his Twitter handle.

Where can I read about the other neighborhoods?

This is the 13th installment in a 23-part series Bham Now is doing to feature Birmingham’s 23 communities, comprising 99 neighborhoods. So far, we’ve featured the following communities:

Look for our next installments to learn things you never knew about all 99 of Birmingham’s neighborhoods.


There’s plenty to see in East Pinson Valley, whether you’re in the mood to visit Turkey Creek, Pinson Valley Bicentennial Park, or take a class at Jeff State.

Now we want to hear from you, Birmingham. What are your favorite spots in East Pinson Valley?

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