You heard it here first, folks. Fall is the prettiest time to enjoy the beauty of some of Birmingham’s best parks. If you want to see the changing leaves in all their glory, there is no better time than now—so, we rounded up five of the best spots to see the changing Fall landscape in Birmingham.
Check out our Ride
For our trip out to Oak Mountain State Park, our friends over at Mercedes-Benz of Birmingham hooked us up with a new 2020 GLE350 SUV. With its optional third row, this was the roomiest GLE we’d ever been in—perfect for carrying picnic supplies and more!
If you haven’t driven up the road to Peavine Falls, let me tell you—you’ll need some horsepower. Luckily, the GLE350’s 255-horsepower engine was more than enough to get us up the steep hill.
Coming from a driver of an older vehicle, the Mercedes-Benz User Experience is unmatched. Want to change the music? Simply say “Hey Mercedes, play Autumn Leaves by Nat King Cole” to set the perfect tone for your ride through one of these parks.
1. Oak Mountain State Park
At nearly 10,000 acres, Oak Mountain State Park is Alabama’s largest state park. Whether you’re interested in hiking, mountain biking, overnight camping or simply visiting for a scenic drive, Oak Mountain has it all—and more.
My personal recommendation? Plan a visit to Peavine Falls Overlook atop Oak Mountain. The short—but scenic—drive will take you to the top-most ridge in Oak Mountain, and you can see for miles. Be sure to bring a picnic blanket and some snacks—there are several tables up top with an unbeatable view. And if you’re up for a hike, plan to visit Peavine Falls—a 65-foot tall, spring-fed waterfall.
2. Ruffner Mountain
Ruffner Mountain, located about fifteen minutes northeast of downtown Birmingham, is a gorgeous spot for a hike. With 14 miles of trails open to the public each day from dawn to dusk, Ruffner Mountain is a wonderful opportunity to view some of Birmingham’s biodiverse flora.
And if you’re looking for an unbeatable view of downtown Birmingham, check out the Hawk’s View Overlook trail—you won’t regret it!
3. Red Mountain
Like many of Birmingham’s mountain-side parks, Red Mountain Park was once the site of extensive mining. From the mid-1800s to 1971, miners gathered more than 305 million tons of iron ore in the area that is now Red Mountain Park.
Today, Red Mountain Park is an exciting example of Birmingham’s natural beauty, spanning more than 1,500 acres along Red Mountain. Additionally, with over 6 acres of green space, Remy’s Dog Park is the largest dog park in the entire state!
Make sure to bring your hiking boots to Red Mountain—15 miles of trails take you to some of the mountain’s prettiest views. And if you’re feeling adventurous, make plans to try the Vulcan Materials Zip Trip—including seven zip lines, a sky bridge and a rope swing.
4. Birmingham Botanical Gardens
If you’re looking to see different types of plants, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens is by far the best bang for your buck (especially since admission is free). The Gardens are home to more than 12,000 different types of plants, located on a 67.5-acre campus. Inside, you’ll find dozens of unique gardens, such as the Japanese Garden—which includes bamboo groves, Japanese Maples and a lake filled with colorful Koi.
With miles of trails, including a 2-mile walking/running trail, Birmingham Botanical Gardens is a wonderful spot to see the changing scenery.
5. Turkey Creek Nature Preserve
Located just 15 minutes north of downtown Birmingham, the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve protects some of Alabama’s most sacred beauty. In fact, the creek is home to three endangered species of fish: the Watercress Darter, the Rush Darter, and the Vermillion Darter (which is found only in Turkey Creek!)
The 466-acre nature preserve was established through a partnership between Alabama’s Forever Wild Program and the Freshwater Land Trust. With five miles of trails, Turkey Creek Nature Preserve has plenty of opportunities to exercise and admire the natural beauty of Alabama—especially in the fall.
Celebrate the Beauty of Fall
Whether you’re looking to go for a hike, an overnight camping trip or mountain bike through the trails, Birmingham’s parks have all you need to make the most of the fall season.
Where is your favorite spot in Birmingham to view the changing leaves? Tag us @bhamnow to share your photos!