Love nature? Learn how to support 5 of Birmingham’s beautiful parks!

Views Overlook
View from Hawk’s View Overlook at Ruffner Mountain. Photo via Ruffner Mountain on Facebook

The Magic City has no shortage of beautiful views—but one of the most unique perspectives are at our local parks. Check out these ways to support our beautiful nature preserves!

If you can’t make it out to one of Alabama’s parks right now, many of them are going virtual—learn more!

1. Ruffner Mountain

HICA volunteers weeded and planted in Ruffner Mountain’s bird habitat garden. Photo courtesy of Bob Farley

Ruffner Mountain is a 1,038 acre urban nature preserve with 14 miles of beautiful hiking trails in the heart of Birmingham—but it is so much more than that. Ruffner provides science and nature education and allows local students and researchers to conduct research projects. Perhaps most importantly, Ruffner is a protected area for thousands of native species of animals and plant life.

However, despite all it brings to the table, Ruffner Mountain does not receive any federal, state, or county funding. Although they receive some funding from the City of Birmingham, Ruffner relies on the generosity of visitors and nature-lovers in Birmingham.

Can you name a better way to support Birmingham’s urban forest while looking stylish than with Ruffner Mountain merch? Go ahead, I’ll wait. Photo via Ruffner Mountain

2. Red Mountain Park

Birmingham, Alabama, Red Mountain Park, Vulcan Zip Trip
Have you tried the Vulcan Zip Trip yet? Photo via Red Mountain Park’s Instagram

Red Mountain Park has miles upon miles of hiking trails, a dog park, community programs, a ZIP LINE (!!!) and much, much more. Membership and donations to Red Mountain help fund and upkeep their worthwhile projects, such as:

  • Restoration of the 1,500-acre forest
  • Improvements of the 15-mile trail system
  • Preservation of Birmingham’s historic iron-ore mining sites
  • Upkeep of 6-acre Remy’s Dog Park
  • Increased amenities & accessibility for disabled individuals
  • Interactive learning programs for all ages
  • Impactful volunteer projects

3. Vulcan Park

Vulcan
Vulcan keeping watch over Birmingham. Photo via Vulcan Park + Museum’s Facebook page

Vulcan Park is home to Birmingham’s most iconic symbol—Vulcan himself. In addition to the statue and museum, Vulcan Park has a 1.7 mile trail atop the side of Red Mountain.

As a 501(c)3 organization, the majority of Vulcan Park’s income comes from visitors and the Birmingham community.

4. Railroad Park

This iconic 19-acre greenspace in the heart of downtown Birmingham is the spot for local recreation, outdoor family activities, cultural events and more. Since Railroad Park relies on public and private donations to operate, your gifts help the park stay available to locals and visitors for years to come.

  • Adopt a Plant: Railroad Park has more than 100,000 plants that both enhance the beauty of the park and provides natural habitats for various wildlife including birds, lizards, rabbits, honeybees and native pollinators.
  • Become a member: Enjoy free event tickets, exclusive Park collectibles, special volunteer opportunities, and more!
  • Become a volunteer
  • Donate: Your donations support year-round community programs and helps preserves the one of a kind landscape with gardens, play areas, walking trails, water features and 100,000+ trees and plants.

5. Turkey Creek

Vermilion darter
Vermilion darters found on a new section at Turkey Creek – photo courtesy of Freshwater Land Trust

Did you know that the Vermilion darter is only found in one place in the entire world? Can you guess where it is? If you guessed Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, you’re right on the money!

Turkey Creek is an incredible natural treasure right at Birmingham’s doorstep. With 7.5 miles of hiking trails and wildlife viewing opportunities, Turkey Creek is undoubtedly an important aspect of Birmingham’s local wildlife. Each year, over 130,000 folks visit Turkey Creek for free—yet, maintenance of the park is not free.

What is your favorite park in Birmingham? Tag us @bhamnow to share your thoughts!

  • Tennessee native who fell in love with Birmingham during college. Graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 2019. Passionate about Birmingham and its continued growth.