5 Birmingham hiking trails you need to check out today for spectacular views, wildlife + more

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If your hike includes a place to cool off, that is a definite bonus. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

It’s easy to stay active when you’re surrounded by gorgeous views and one-of-a-kind wildlife. If you’re looking for motivation to get moving this summer, set out on one of these Birmingham hiking trails.

1. Peavine Falls

One way to beat the summer heat is ensuring your hike takes you to a 65-foot tall waterfall. Oak Mountain State Park’s Green Trail, best known as the Peavine Falls Trail, accomplishes this goal.

Also, Oak Mountain hosts The Alabama Wildlife Center (AWC)—Alabama’s oldest and largest wildlife rehabilitation and education center. The AWC rescues, rehabilitates and releases nearly 2,000 native birds every year, so be sure to bring your binoculars.

  • Best for: If you’re toting a couple of young hikers along with you or are looking for a shorter hike that still ends with a view. As Alabama’s largest state park, there’s plenty more to explore following the hike.
  • Directions: 200 Terrace Dr, Pelham, AL 35124
  • More information: Website | Map

2. Loop Hike to Laurel & Lost Falls

Desoto State Park in Northeast Alabama greets you with waterfalls, wildflowers and wilderness. While there are Birmingham hiking trails closer to the city, the state park is ideal for a day trip.

P.S. The park boasts one of the tallest waterfalls in the state of Alabama!

  • Best for: Those who are up for a moderate 2.5-mile hike and don’t mind sharing the terrain with mountain bikers. If you’re a wildflower fan, find the plant in season from late March through October.
  • Directions: 7104 Desoto Pkwy NE, Fort Payne, AL 35967
  • More information: Website | Map

3. Overlook Trail

Since Ruffner Mountain is the third-largest urban nature preserve in the country, the chance of you seeing something eye-catching during your visit is 100% guaranteed.

In addition to supporting over 150 species of birds, other protected wildlife includes red fox, tree frogs, flying squirrels and coyotes. You’ll also enjoy some of the best views of Birmingham while on your hike.

  • Best for: Those looking for a getaway from city life for a few hours without taking off on a long expedition at other Alabama hiking trails. Neither bicycles nor motorized vehicles are allowed on the 2.8-mile trail.
  • Directions: 1214 81st Street South, Birmingham, Alabama 35206
  • More information: Website | Map

4. NEW: Jones Valley Trail Extension

Not all Birmingham hiking trails require you to travel far—experience nature in the heart of the city. Once completed in 2022, the new Jones Valley Trail Extension will pick up where the Rotary Trail ends at 32nd Street South and connect downtown Birmingham to Avondale.

For now, you can take advantage of the tree-lined trail scenic stretch that connects Railroad Park and Sloss Furnaces.

  • Best for: Bikers, walkers, joggers and anyone looking for a new way to experience the city of Birmingham and its famous landmarks.
  • Directions: Start at one of the trail’s endpoints: 1st Avenue South & 25th Street and 1st Avenue South & 32nd Street
  • More information: Website | Map

5. Lake Purdy

Protected woodlands surround the 990-acre reservoir on the Little Cahaba River, making it a rare birding destination. Depending on what time you go, you may see a wild turkey or American Goldfinch. Spot Canada Geese, Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets year-round.

  • Best for: Bird watchers and anyone who needs a tranquil nature escape.
  • Directions: 3780 Boat Launch Road Birmingham, AL 35242
  • More information: Website | Map

Looking for even more trails off the beaten path? We covered 19 hidden trails in Birmingham and how exploring them can boost your mental health.

Stay on top of your health and safety this summer with help from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama by visiting AlabamaBlue.com. Or, follow them on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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