5 ways to celebrate National Trails Day in Bham

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The Five Mile Creek Greenway runs from Fultondale to Gardendale. Photo courtesy of Freshwater Land Trust.
The Five Mile Creek Greenway runs from Fultondale to Gardendale, and it’s a family-friendly option on the Red Rock Trail. Photo courtesy of Freshwater Land Trust.

National Trails Day is coming up soon! Nature lovers will be hitting the trails nationwide on Saturday, June 5th. Here in Birmingham, there are ample ways to celebrate our incredible local trails. We chose some of our favorite hiking spots around the Magic City to celebrate. 

Red Rock Trail

Birminghamians enjoying the Rotary Trail, a part of the Red Rock Trail. Photo courtesy of Freshwater Land Trust.
Birmingham local enjoying the Rotary Trail, a part of the Red Rock Trail. Photo courtesy of Freshwater Land Trust.

The Red Rock Trail encompasses 125 miles throughout metro Birmingham. The quickly growing trail system will connect every resident in Jefferson County to a green space within less than a mile of their home. If that’s not a reason to celebrate National Trails Day, I don’t know what is!

We talked to Carolyn Buck, the Red Rock Trail System Director, for some trail recommendations.

A sunny afternoon at Railroad Park, a part of the Red Rock Trail system. Photo courtesy of Freshwater Land Trust.
A sunny afternoon at Railroad Park, a part of the Red Rock Trail system. Photo courtesy of Freshwater Land Trust.

Buck recommended Moss Rock and Turkey Creek Nature Preserves for longer hikes and mountain biking. For a more family-friendly option, she suggested the Five Mile Creek Greenway that starts in Fultondale and runs through Gardendale. Finally, Railroad Park and the Rotary Trail are great options for a more urban feel.

Here’s the inside scoop: the Red Rock Trail system hopes to open a 3 mile trail that connects Railroad Park to Cahaba Brewing before the World Games. That’s right, our very own brewery trail!

Red Mountain Park

Red Mountain
Grace’s Gap in the morning at Red Mountain Park. Photo via Red Mountain Park Facebook page

Red Mountain Park offers stunning views of Birmingham and a hidden history. On National Trails Day, the park’s Executive Director, TC McLemore, will share Red Mountain’s secrets. He’ll be taking a tour group to Mine No. 11 and back. Along the way, he’ll reveal more about the industrial history of Red Mountain. The hike starts at 9 a.m. at the Venice Road Entrance map kiosk. The tour is free for Red Mountain Park members and $5 for all non-members. It’s sure to be a fun and educational way to celebrate National Trails Day!

Sipsey Wilderness

Sipsey Wilderness
Sipsey River running through 40 acres within the Sipsey Wilderness. Photo via Conservation Fund.

This National Trails Day, take a walk on the wild side at Sipsey Wilderness. Sipsey is Alabama’s largest wilderness area, and it’s full of stunning waterfalls. Wild Alabama’s Stewardship Coordinator will be leading an introductory hike through Sipsey’s extensive trails on National Trails Day. From 9-2, a tour group will go along Borden Creek and the Sipsey Fork. The 3 mile round trip will pass by late blooming wildflowers, songbirds, moss covered boulders and gently flowing creeks. Space is limited to 10 people, so sign up today! Email Kim Waites at kim@wildal.org for more information or to reserve your spot. 

Oak Mountain State Park

Will Abner
Adventure awaits. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Oak Mountain is Alabama’s largest (and perhaps my favorite) state park. The park has approximately 25 miles of stunning trails, so there are endless ways to celebrate National Trail Day at Oak Mountain! I take the Kings Chair Loop for my favorite view in the park. Oak Mountain is open from 7 AM to 6 PM, and there’s a $5 entrance fee.

Ruffner Mountain

Ruffner Mountain
Birmingham Mountain High Hikers at Ruffner Mountain. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now.

Ruffner Mountain is an iconic Birmingham hiking spot. It’s especially renowned for its biodiversity–make sure to look out for everything from turtles to flying squirrels. The Overlook Trail at Ruffner Mountain provides stunning views, so check it out! The preserve will be open on National Trails Day from 7 AM to 7 PM. 

For more on iconic outdoors destinations around Birmingham, check out https://bhamnow.com/2021/05/10/railroad-park-is-celebrating-10-years/.

How are you celebrating National Trails Day? Tag @bhamnow and share the trail!